Administrating life can be tough work, especially if you’re a parent. The never-ending list of things that need to be done in order to function well as a family can become overwhelming without a clear plan to tackle the day-to-day issues of family life.
The years I spent as an administrative professional, planning events and assisting executive level employees, prepared me in so many ways for the challenges I’ve encountered managing a home as a stay-at-home, work-from-home, homeschooling mom of three. But even with a professional skill set, it is actually one of the simplest pieces of advice that has helped me most in my attempt to administrate home well.
You must establish routine.
Sometimes the tallest mountain that needs to be climbed in our efforts to manage home well is to establish the routine of doing so. I have not once met anyone who actually enjoys the minutia of paying the bills or scrubbing down the bathroom floor. They enjoy the payoff – lights that turn on and off, and a clean bathroom – but rarely the doing of the task. Without the discipline of routine, we are prone to procrastination and that awful domino-effect-feeling of never being in control of our responsibilities at home.
To work on establishing routines, you must consider these three very important things:
Systems are the steps it takes you to move yourself, your home, and your life from disorder into order. This is how you administrate your life – everything from meal planning, to childcare, to paying the bills.
The good news is that systems often improve over time, becoming streamlined and more efficient. The bad news is this is often an individualized method, and only happens by doing. There is no magic formula to finding a system that really works well for you. You just have to try things out that have worked well for others and learn on the job, as they say.
Time is the specific rhythm to completing your work. How much time do you need to accomplish a task? How often does this task need to be done? What time is needed to maintain the system you’ve set in place? A great system with no time to implement it goes nowhere.
How does establishing routines work in real life?
At dinner your husband surprises you with the news that he is taking you to see the famed musical Hamilton on Saturday night. You:
(1) quickly check the calendar to see if there are any scheduling conflicts that need to be taken care of.
(2) create a new calendar event which includes a good guess at the show’s duration plus traffic times.
(3) begin calling down the babysitter list to arrange for childcare (system). You do this immediately, so as not to forget, and to secure the kids favorite babysitter (time).
It’s painless and quick because your calendar is accurate and your babysitter list in Evernote is up to date (space & time). The kids have their favorite babysitter, and you’re ready for a night on the town with only a 10-15 minute withdrawal from your evening.
Establishing Routines: Paying the Bills
Generally speaking, any bill, receipt, or other household-related piece of paper that needs to be addressed is weeded out from the junk mail, which is tossed, and other miscellaneous papers. They are always placed in the top cubbie of our bookshelf (after I’ve checked any pending due dates).
Mail is saved for Mondays when I go through them more thoroughly, pay any bills, take care of any mail, and delete any emailed receipts (system & time). Occasionally, I may have to bump the bills to Tuesday if we have another commitment on Monday, or carry-over to Tuesday if I can’t finish them Monday evening, but I routinely try to get this particular task done at the beginning of each week (time).
Paying the bills is not my favorite household task to manage, but it’s necessary and it’s tolerable when I tackle it at the beginning of my week, preferably while also watching Dancing with the Stars (system).
What is your routine?
- What systems are you currently using to get household tasks done? Are they working? Can they be improved?
- How much time are you spending on any given household task? When do you complete it? Can you be more efficient? Can you establish a better routine?
- Where do you get the job done? Can you consolidate household resources by reorganizing wherever you keep home office supplies?
You will find order in the chaos. It’s a promise.
The post Finding Order at Home by Establishing Routine appeared first on Real Life at Home.