5 Reasons Why FlyLady Doesn’t Cut It For Me
When I first started writing about productivity — back when dinosaurs roamed the earth — someone sent me the link for FlyLady, tell me it was like the woman’s version of ‘Getting Things Done.’ I wouldn’t describe it as such, although it does seem to be the main approach to productivity geared towards women. And, before I really launch into my problems with the system, I should say that I’ve met several women over the years who have found FlyLady to be the solution to all their problems. I have no doubts that FlyLady is a good fit for many women — she’s just not right for me.
- More to Do: If you sign up for the FlyLady emails and read through her advice, you’ll quickly find that everything is geared towards getting you to do things the FlyLady way. I see the benefit — the system builds habits and generally helps you create a system to do things if you follow along. But it also requires you to do the work required by the system (such as ‘shining your sink’ each night) on top of what you already know you need to get done. If you’ve got other irons in the fire, you can get overwhelmed very quickly.
- Information Overload: On an average day, you get about ten emails from the FlyLady system. The site actually recommends that you don’t worry about reading all of them! Personally, I don’t want anything in my inbox that I don’t actually need to deal with. Even deleting these emails got to be far too much effort for me in just a few days. The emails are meant to be encouraging and help you stay on track, but often wind up feeling like the site is just trying to sell you stuff.
- The Right Gear: On the surface, the FlyLady system costs nothing. But every other email seems to be something along the lines of a testimonial for the FlyLady calendar, the Rubba Scrubba or other FlyLady products. There are even promotions for people and products that FlyLady endorses, such as a workout routine and a singer who has somehow become part of the FLyLady community. Plenty of other productivity gurus go the same route — have you taken a look at David Allen’s website? — but the constant emails take it up a notch.
- The Word Choices: I will admit to being a snob, especially when it comes to how things are written. My honest response to much of the writing on the FlyLady website is to want to re-write it. The style of how she addresses readers and frames concepts just doesn’t appeal to me. That may seem like a little thing, but I’ve found that I can get more out of books and websites that I can re-read.
- The Job Description: When you read through the materials on the FLyLady website, it rapidly becomes obvious that it’s geared towards a certain sort of woman: stay-at-home moms. Yes, there’s many mentions of how to handle housework in the context of having to go to work, but the most important step in the whole system boils down to one piece of advice — just get dressed in the morning, down to putting on your shoes. I don’t know about your employer, but most of the companies I know expect employees to have already managed that much. Too much of the site’s advice simply boils down to how to take care of the house while simultaneously keeping kids in line. That’s definitely an area that many people need help with, but I’m not just worried about housework — I run my own business out of the front room.
It’s been a while since I tried out the FlyLady system — and I actually tried to adopt it three times. What can I say? No other productivity guru actually offers a way to get through the laundry. I have found parts of it that work for me. My utter reliance on a timer grew out of my first attempt at FlyLady. But overall, it’s still not the right system for me.
Image by Flickr user Melissa Ann Barrett
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