Getting Out the Door ~ Together

At the beginning of last month I published a post titled The hardest part is getting out the door.

In that post I wrote:

In the coming weeks, I'd like to un-package what this looks like. "Get up off your butt and get out the door" is a great message and all but how do we actually do that? You and me. In our homes, in our marriages, in our parenting, in our homeschooling, in our health and personal wellbeing?

How do we push against, and through, the resistance? How do we push back against our "push back" in healthy ways? After all, our bodies have feedback loops that we must listen to.

I don't have special access to the answers to these questions. I don't have it figured out. I am entering this New Year stripped bare and mentally trembling with the task at hand. I am living one day, one morning, one afternoon, one evening at a time. I will find answers to these questions only through living this.

If you've read any of the posts that immediately followed that one you know that I went through an intense time of feeling stripped bare and trembling.

I didn't "un-package" anything but my soul. And that seems like a good place to write this from. Because I think "heart & soul" is lacking in some of the usual productivity advice you'll find on the internet and in the most popular productivity books.

Making Ideas Happen, Do the Work, Getting Things Done. Three years ago I read them all. No doubt there are now newer releases that "revolutionize" productivity.

I've read countless blog posts on productivity also, and enjoyed blogger e-books like One Bite at a Time and GTD For Homemakers.

Entrepreneurial gurus, creative thinkers, corporate management, mommy bloggers, and homeschool mentors - I've read about productivity from a lot of different perspectives.

I've even written my own posts on productivity, mostly around the themes of organization specifically, because that's my usual approach to making ideas happen, doing the work, and getting things done.

I organize it and execute. And no it doesn't go quite as smoothly as that, because there are interruptions, emergencies and people in my life (smile).

In reality the plan is always subject to a lot of flux. Flux and I are getting quite cozy actually. Can't say we're friends yet but we're not enemies, and that's saying something.

All of the strategies I've written about in the past, I use in my life right now.

Values-based living, defining priorities, blocks and anchoring, usually (not always), and an actual very loose schedule, are all tools for making things happen.

The schedule is very loose right now because except for our anchoring activities, each week is quite different from the preceding one. I can't be married to my schedule or there would be a messy and heartbreaking divorce. Week after week. Talk about emotional turmoil!

What more could I possibly add to this conversation?

I started January with a couple questions related to "getting out the door", asking specifically how do we "make ideas happen, get things done, and do the work" in difficult life seasons?

I have a one word answer for that now.


I'll be completely honest about my biases.

I am biased towards family life. It is all I know. I wasn't out of my parent's home very long before getting married myself. And I never technically "left", more like lived other places temporarily while my home, my place of belonging, remained at my parent's home.

Since leaving my parent's home I have invested myself in building the Damien and Renee Tougas family, wholeheartedly and without reservation. That has been my career.

Family is the enterprise I work for, in all senses of the word enterprise. It started with managing and making our home, caring for our children, and overseeing their education.

Now though, we are self-employed and I work with and for my husband. Since last summer's revelation, I prefer to leave the business and entrepreneurial vision to him and I focus on the work I enjoy most - organizing, managing, photography, writing, communication and relationship building.

We each have tasks in our day we don't particularly enjoy, but our goal is always to identify what each of us are best suited for - in our strengths, personalities, and interests - and divvy up the tasks along those lines. (And sometimes, because we love each other, we simply serve each other doing things no one is particularly talented at or likes to do.)

I think because I live, breathe, eat, work, study, learn, and play with my family day in, day out (and LOVE it, truly) I am steeped in a certain style of living that takes any family bias I already had and nails it down even more.

I am sold, completely, on the strength, resiliency, and yes, even productivity, of family life.

I believe the power of strong families to accomplish great things, together, is a resource that few people in our individual-orientated culture truly realize and tap into.

Building a strong family life is hard work and I do believe you swim against the stream of our society when you attempt to do so.

You will have to make hard choices about work, education (this does not mean you must homeschool, but you need to find schooling that fits your family goals), and pace of life if your values start to run at all contrary to normal expectations.

I believe a strong, healthy family life provides the best structural framework for reaching our potential, for getting out the door, making ideas happen, getting things done, and doing the work.

Family life, when operating at its best, provides the unconditional love and accountability that humans need for personal growth and self actualization.

The difficult parts of course are the sacrifices (especially when caring for children and the elderly), and the compromises (anyone else with a spouse who is nearly their opposite?), and of course the commitment. Oh, the commitment.

Even with these challenges, family still has the potential to yield the best return on your investment. If you're willing to make the investment. And it will be hefty investment of time, finances, heart and soul.

But it's so worth it, because when you have a strong family you have a team. And teams work together to get things done.

And that's how I'm getting out the door this year, and this winter - with my family.

So when I'm unmotivated to exercise and I see my husband going anyway, I'm inspired to join. Or when the kids are dragging on their chores they team up together and play some loud music and "get it done".

The examples are endless. All day we're working together to achieve our goals. You cook lunch, I'll write that blog post. I'll write up the grocery list, you can do the shopping. I'll handle accounting for the expenses, you handle recording the income. I'll make sure the kids are ready to leave, you take them to their lessons. You take the kids for a ski, I'll work on the taxes.

You. Me. Us. Together.

This is my get out the door program.

How do you personally get out the door in your own life, in your marriage, in your parenting, homeschooling, and family dreams? I couldn't say.

I think you have to figure that out, working together with your spouse and kids. You don't have to literally be working together, in the self-employed sense of the word (though we wouldn't trade the freedom of that lifestyle), but you need to work with your partner to bring the best of who you are to the family table, and encourage everyone else in your family to do likewise.

I don't know exactly how you should do it but I do believe, based on years of experience, that doing life together has the potential to be your greatest strength, your secret weapon, for getting out the door. For making really great things happen in your life.

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  • Kelsi

    Kelsi on Feb. 10, 2014, 4:23 p.m.


    Renee, once again you have put some big, bold ideas, thoughts, urges and put them into Words. Well done. Yes, family life is the best way for all of us to "get out the door." We all must help each other. Thank you for thinking big, hard thoughts and sharing them.


  • Shelly Sangrey

    Shelly Sangrey on Feb. 10, 2014, 9:40 p.m.

    This goes so well with our family- actually, it's the only way it will work! Ten kids + two parents = lots and lots of coordinated efforts- kids included. Oh, and by the way, my husband is also my complete opposite, but almost 22 years later, it still works!


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