I used to get really behind on laundry and then I would put off folding it forever. Most of the time I was digging through the “to be folded” basket to find clothes that I wanted to wear. I also used to hate grocery shopping and as soon I got home from the store I would remember something I forgot. But then I learned how to use systems to get all the boring stuff done!
When I learned how to build systems it really simplified my life. I felt a lot less stressed about when I was going to fold clothes, get the laundry, and exercise. Instead, it was like all these things became automated and I didn’t have to think about them anymore. I just got them done. That’s why I want to help you use systems in your life too!
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What Are Systems and Why Do I Need Them?
I don’t know if you have ever heard of this idea of building systems. I didn’t even know that was what I had been doing till I read The Joy of Missing Out by Tanya Dalton.
In it she explains how when we make something a habit and we do it the same way every time it becomes something we don’t even think about. When we create little plans of action for these habits they become systems.
Tanya goes on to explain that when we know how to build systems in our life things get a lot easier. Then we can start using all that mental energy on better stuff!
Really, we all know how to build systems because we are naturally creatures of routine. The thing is, we often don’t take the time to really think through easy tasks like chores to build a system. As a result these boring tasks end up taking over our lives! So let’s learn how to build systems for those things instead!
How Do You Create a System?
So where do you start when you want to create a system? First, you think about what needs to be done, then you think about the easiest way to get it done. Then you choose a time and way in which you will do that thing and you put it into practice!
- Think about what needs to be done.
- Choose a good time to do it regularly.
- Make a step-by-step action plan to create a system.
Use Systems for Laundry
It seems to be a common consensus that laundry is one of the most hated household chores! It’s just so boring and unending. That’s why we need to build a system that will make it more automatic and less annoying.
Let me share my system first. I wash all my clothes in one day, the day of the week I am home the most. Then I fold it all while listening to an audiobook, a podcast, or some music. I always fold my laundry in the file folding style taught by Marie Kondo. Also, I do not consider the job done until everything is put away.
If I have household laundry like towels and sheets I also try to do that on the same day. Occasionally I will do that stuff on a separate day. Still, I do not consider the job done till it’s folded and put away. I always do that on the same day.
Now, I understand that I am only doing laundry for 2 people so if you have kids you could build your system differently. Maybe choose one day for all the grown-up laundry and another day for all the kid laundry. Or maybe select a day for each child if they are ready to do it themselves.
Make Laundry Better
The important part to remember when you create a system to simplify laundry is that it all happens in one day. That gets rid of the part of laundry that makes it the most difficult, all the dread and procrastination! Another key to this laundry system is doing your laundry on the day you are home the most. That way you can easily switch loads.
Don’t forget to make it fun! I actually look forward to folding clothes cause it means I get to listen to my book. When I was a kid I looked forward to folding laundry because my mom and I did a “fold-off” competition to see who could get the most folded!
Use Systems for Groceries & Meals
I remember crying because I really didn’t know when I would have time to go grocery shopping. I thought my only option was to make tons of small shopping trips where I constantly forgot at least one thing I went for.
All that changed when I started meal planning and writing my list before I went grocery shopping. To create a system for grocery shopping you must write a meal plan first. Get in the habit of writing down the meals you will make for the week. Don’t forget to include the types of breakfast and lunch foods you want on hand. Then create your grocery list based on that.
I like to plan my meals with my days in mind. When I have a day I know I will be super busy I try to plan a crockpot meal or an easy pasta dish. If I know I’ll have a little more time on a certain day I plan meals that are more complicated. I also like to plan at least one meal that is made with pantry staples instead of fresh ingredients as a backup.
Your grocery system is not complete until you decide when to get the groceries. I absolutely love to use Grocery Pickup because it saves so much time and energy. If you use grocery pickup services plan on filling your cart, selecting your time, and checking out the evening before the day you want to pick it up! You can usually add to your order up until a certain time of the day of your pickup.
Use Systems for Cleaning Your House
When we are talking about boring household chores the hardest thing to keep up with is cleaning house. That’s why I have a job. I clean houses for busy people. I bet you would love me to come to your home! While I can’t clean your house I can help you know how to build systems that keep you on top of cleaning your house.
There are two ways you can go about your regular cleaning system. You could decide to do one cleaning task a day. The benefit of building a daily cleaning schedule is that if you are a busy person doing just one task a day will help you keep your house clean so that it never becomes a huge project. No more weekends doing nothing but cleaning!
But you can also build a cleaning system in which you always clean on the same day each week. I think that in the long run cleaning all at once will actually save you time overall. That’s because you can get on a roll and really move through all the cleaning tasks and clean house like the maid would.
Last but not least you have to know how to build systems for deep cleaning your home. You can do this all in one week when spring rolls around. Or even better, you can grab my free printable cleaning schedules. One of them gives you one deep cleaning task a month. That way you never have to do it all at once!
The main thing is when you are creating a system for cleaning your house you need to put it in your planner, get all your cleaning tools ready, and plan on making it fun by listening to a book or some music! This is absolutely essential because cleaning is so ridiculously boring! Trust me! Then all you need to do is be consistent.
Create A System for Regular Decluttering
Do you want to declutter your home or is it already in good shape? Either way, it is important to create a system that helps you declutter your home regularly. This is true because as long as you buy stuff you will also need to let stuff go!
If you have already decluttered your home you might want to pick one weekend a month where you and possibly your whole family looks for 10 things that can be decluttered. Once you have found these items they can either be sold on Facebook, donated or trashed.
If you have not decluttered yet you can still learn how to build a system for decluttering that will get you to where you want to be slowly and surely. You could plan on decluttering 10 items every single week or you could plan on decluttering one drawer, closet, or cabinet a day.
When you build a system for decluttering it is important to separate things into four sections. Stuff you need to put away, stuff you want to donate, stuff you want to sell, and finally stuff that just needs to be thrown away. Then it’s important to take those actions right away. Plan on always donating, listing on Facebook, trashing, or organizing your decluttered items within the week if not within the day!
Bills, Appointments, and Maintenance
When you are creating systems to simplify your life you are trying to make things into a routine or habit so that they become easier. You can apply a system to lots of things including bills, appointments, and home maintenance. When you create a system to put these things on a regular schedule they will get done before they become big emergencies.
For all of these things, I would highly recommend you build your system with a planner. I used to try to keep track of things on my phone because it’s just too easy to get surprised by an alarm, clear it, and forget what you were supposed to do anyway.
Instead, I recommend you write down your days to pay the bills, take the dog to the vet for his shots, get your teeth cleaned, and change your oil in your planner! These things are actually pretty predictable so why not plan them out ahead of time.
Another way you can build a system to help you stay on top of paperwork and get the bills paid is to automate them. Go ahead and set up automatic payments and paper billing for as many of your bills as you can. If you are worried about losing track of things write them down in your planner too.
Personal Growth and Health
I never did any of the things I really wanted to do until I built them into daily habits. When I learned to stack one habit against another I was suddenly learning Spanish with my morning coffee and writing every afternoon with a big glass of water and an apple.
How do you build systems that help you do these kinds of things? First, you decide what you want to do, then you identify a specific time in which you can fit that activity on a daily or weekly basis. Lastly, you make sure you have everything you need easily available to you when the time comes.
This could involve laying out your workout clothes, having a cozy chair where you can read a book, or having your musical instrument and music ready to go.
Whatever your personal growth goals are, building a system that makes it clear when and where you will do it and making it easy is the key to making your goals a reality!
Use Systems to Make Life Easier!
The thing about all the things we talked about today is you can do them without a system. But if you do they tend to happen in a more chaotic manner that ends up eating up all your spare time.
Now that you know how to build systems for all these boring chores you will look and feel a lot less like a chicken with it’s head cut off. The things that have to get done will get done but they won’t feel as burdensome or stressful because you have a plan.
You can use systems for other things too! Like family celebrations, trips, work, and more! Take the time to make the plan once and save yourself a lot of energy from now on!
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