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I don’t have to explain the chaos that comes with having kids. But what many Moms don’t understand is that there actually is a way to calm the chaos. Not totally calm. But cutting the stress of the chaos and taming it. That alone is one of your first steps in TRUE Self Care. And it’s in creating systems. But first I need to explain what I mean by systems. Because they can actually be pretty fluid when it comes to running your household to automate your life.
A system is a plan, so to speak, where there is a set flow of things that happen. A system eliminates chaos + increase efficiency. (If in your life, the word ‘chaos’ is synonymous with dirt tracked through the house every time any human besides you walks in the door, and ‘efficiency’ means getting out the door in the morning without tiny humans having mammoth meltdowns because they can’t find a single left shoe that belongs to them, then so be it.)
Basically you’re pinpointing the problem, and making a routine so your nerves stay in tact and there is some damn form of timeliness to your daily routine. And maybe you can save a smidgen of money on wine for the week.
Let’s start with the process.
The first part of creating your system will be to find your ‘glitch’.
Think really hard about your day from start to finish, and really hone in on the times that you feel the most stressed.
What’s happening during those times? Who’s involved in it? What physical area are you standing in when it happens? Pinpoint the problem and list out all the details to get a really clear picture of those stressful and inefficiencies in your day.
Next, you want to figure out the problem and HOW to get rid of the stress and chaos.
Is the problem area that you’re in a rut? Is someone constantly losing something? Are kids fighting about something? WHAT is the problem, and WHY is it there? This step is important, because if you can’t find the WHY, you probably won’t find a practical solution.
And lastly, you need to figure out the actual solution.
This step is tricky, because you have to use the WHY aspect to determine habits and patterns used by yourself and family members to find a solution. Here’s an example: My husband constantly loses his keys. Seriously, I can’t figure this one out, because he never leaves them in the same place twice. It could be the pocket of whatever pants he’s wearing, the dresser, his desk upstairs, or even the grocery bag that he was bringing in at the time. So I thought that by buying a key-hook and mounting it by the garage door that he would just hang his keys when he walked in the door (because that’s what makes sense, since it’s eye level and literally in his face when he walks in the door–I dunno, maybe women are crazy to have this much common sense…)
Anyway, this didn’t happen. Because he’s always ALWAYS on the phone when he walks in the door and could give a rat’s butt what’s in his face on the wall when he walks in. We had this argument over and over again. Nothing could make him remember to put his keys on the ring when he walked in.
Why it was causing chaos wasn’t just because he couldn’t find his keys, but because when he couldn’t find them, inevitably he was walking out the door to get to a meeting for work–and since his job pays the bills around here, I was constantly trying frantically to find the keys with him–which also disrupted any kind of efficiency flow I had going every single time. He was then rattled as he finally walked out the door. And I had lost literally like half an hour of productivity. All over finding the stupid car keys. And this was going on multiple times a week.
My problem here is that I was working against his habit. He never remembers to hang his keys because he’s always so engulfed in the phone conversation. Since that’s probably not gonna change, I needed to work with or around this habit.
My solution (for the time being) was to buy those tile gadgets and attack one to his key-rings. Then we programmed them with his phone, downloaded the app, yada yada–so that when he loses his keys, he can pull up the app really quick and listen for the beeping until he finds them. No frantic key searches, no asking Mama to help and bursting my productivity bubble.
I’m not gonna lie–sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to work with the habits to find a solution, but if you get stuck, you can always ask someone else, or heck–even Google it!
Systems aren’t just for chaos in the morning, either.
Think about things like the fact that you spend 20 minutes a week on sorting recycling, 10 minutes emptying the trash in the bathrooms, or 15 minutes emptying the dishwasher every day. Ask yourself what tasks can be delegated with an automated system? This type of system can come in the many forms. Like chores: possibly a chore chart for the kids, or one of the new chore apps.
I’ve used the Choremonster app for my kids. It was pretty effective. Until they were constantly having their ipads taken away because of behavior or bad grades. (Both which I blame on their dad, by the way.) Then I found cute little clipboards that hang on our chalkboard. (Because they’re all about feeling like they need cute office supplies.) And this helped them keep track of their chores. They checked off the list, showed it to me, and I wrote down their points.
Bottom line here is that your solution needs to work for everyone involved. So, to recap.
1. FIND the chaos and stress-points.
2. Define WHO is involved and WHY the problem is happening.
3. Then CREATE a solution–or system–to generate efficiency and eliminate the choas and stress.
We call these new ‘rules’ when they pop up now. (ie: RULE: no acting like hooligans with screaming, running around, and wrestling with the dog in Mama and Daddy’s bedroom–because this happens every friggin day while I’m doing hair for 4 females anytime we leave the house, and the noise makes me want to just rip my own hair out–I seriously am working on my stress levels, I promise. Have you read my post about yoga? It’s saving me these days…lol, but dead serious.)
If you find it helpful, I really encourage you to try the entire ROPE method (again- FREE-for-now) to gain some clarity and direction in your life.
And don’t forget to grab your free workbook to help you automate your life! Click the image below to get it!
So what areas have you discovered need some tweaking or major automation overhauls? How did the changes affect your productivity and sanity? Let me know in the comments!