One of the biggest areas that moms struggle with is managing our homes. Overwhelmed with responsibilities it can seem like you never get caught up, no one ever will help out and you can get to the end of the day feeling like you managed to accomplish nothing! It is hard to try anything different to get yourself out of the rut, but if you don’t NOTHING will ever change.
When busy moms come to me, they generally are at their wits end! They have tried many different approaches to managing their homes and families and are desperate. We work from the ground up; putting routines and systems in place that lessen the load and start freeing up time during their frantic and overloaded schedules. It is amazing that as soon as minor changes are made in the home a mom begins to feel relief. Instead of the stress and chaos they were feeling everyday, they begin to experience order, freedom and control.
I would like to share with you 10 key principles I discuss with moms who come to me for coaching. If you are struggling with managing your home I am sure these points will be helpful in coming up with some new ideas to tweak what is going on to make things run smoother for you too!
Know Your Job Description
Your role in the home is extremely important and it is even more important that you know what your job entails. One of the tools I use is a system developed by Kathy Peel, called the Family Manager. She has put together a description for what moms do each and every day, there’s a lot there!
The Family Manager Creed
I oversee the most important organization in the world
Where hundreds of decisions are made daily
Where property and resources are managed
Where health and nutritional needs are determined
Where finances and futures are discussed and debated
Where projects are planned and events are arranged
Where transportation and scheduling are critical
Where team building is a priority
Where careers begin and end
I am a Family Manager
Manage by Department
By breaking your home into departments, just like a manager at a business would, you can then use similar systems to increase your productivity and success.
- Time & Scheduling– Managing your family calendar – making sure everyone is suppose to be where they need to be
- Home & Property – organizing your home and taking care of your belongings
- Food– meal planning, grocery shopping – meeting the nutritional needs of your family.
- Family & Friends – fulfilling relational responsibilities as a parent, spouse, extended family, friends and neighbors
- Finances –managing the budget, bill paying systems, saving, giving
- Special Events – planning and coordinating events that fall outside of your routine; such as holidays, birthday parties, vacations, garage sales, etc.
- Self management– taking care of yourself, fulfilling your dreams , nourishing your spirit and soul
Know Your Mission and Values in each Department
What is most important to you and your family? What are your priorities? If you aren’t clear on your most important objectives in each of the above departments, it is likely that you are frustrated, overwhelmed and feeling like your daily schedule/life is controlling you rather than vice versa. Unless you set and resolve to live by your own priorities and not someone else’s expectations, you’ll end up wearing yourself out!
Manage Your Time and Resources
Time is valuable! There is only so much in a day, are you using is wisely? Evaluate how you are spending your time and on what. Can you break larger jobs into smaller ones in order to make more effective use of your time? Do you have routines in place that help your children know what is coming next so you do not have to follow them around like a drill sergeant? Are you wasting time on things that are not productive? Jot down what you do in a day and then evaluate it; is there room for improvement, can you make changes? You might surprise yourself.
Build a Family Team
Getting your family onboard is key. It is proven that families that share household responsibilities are usually healthier and happier than in families where one person (MOM) does most of the work. You actually are doing your kids a big favor by involving them in household chores; they are learning valuable life skills. If you would like more help on this particular subject, check out my eBook, “Getting Your Kids to Cooperate and Become Team Players,” you can download it for free.
Create a Base of Operations
As a Family Manager you need a control central, somewhere you can manage papers, calendars, grocery lists, school papers, and messages, all of the stuff that someone is always looking for when you don’t have a control central! By being efficient and having all these items in one place you ultimately will save time!
Use a Daily & Weekly Hit List
I use a daily and weekly HIT list, a place where I can organize my day and week. By listing the tasks that you need to do on a daily basis you can then look at the list and make some decisions about what is on that list. List everything that you will DO (meal prep, grocery shopping, laundry, dry cleaners, etc) and then look at the list and decide what you can DELEGATE. Who can help with some of these tasks? And then see if there is anything that can be taken off all together, DELETE it! Sometimes I have things on my list that I can really get by without doing; I love when I discover that I can DELETE it!
Be True to Your Management Style
Know what you are good at and what you find joy in doing. If there are things that are particularly enjoy, find ways to keep those up. But if there are things that you truly dislike, find a way to delegate those to someone else, either in your family of hire outside your home. Now when I say hire, that could be for money or barter/trade. You can get creative! If you enjoy scrapbooking and hate gardening, maybe you have a friend that enjoys gardening and you can swap services with each other. Look at your strengths and play into those as much as you can. You will find you get more done and are in a much better mood!
It is the Girl Scout Motto, and I was a Girl Scout for 14 years, so you would think I have got this one down! I actually do fairly well, but ore often it has been because I was not prepared in a certain situation and had to learn the hard way. As a Family Manager, part of your job is to be able to go with the flow sometimes and look ahead at what “might” happen and be prepared for it. After several times of being out in the car longer than we expected, we now carry snacks and water bottles in the car at all times. It is now a job of a family member to make sure there are supplies in a bin in our car so that I don’t end up with crabby kids because they are hungry. By thinking ahead you will have a more enjoyable time and so will everyone else.
Create SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures)
By establishing Standard Operating Procedures, AKA systems and routines in your home you will end up wasting a lot less time reminding and trying to invent the wheel everyday! You also stop wasting time wondering when things are going to get done because you already know – it is part of your routine. My kids know that at 5:00 PM their chores need to be done. There is no explaining this everyday and having some battle because they didn’t “know”. Certain days of the week are laundry days, everyone knows this. I don’t need to be running around gathering clothes, or reminding everyone – they know it and get their clothes to me if they want me to do them. There are so many areas you can set up systems and routines in order to make things run smoother, take a look at your weekly schedule and see where there is room to make some changes.
I hope you have been able to take away a few ideas on how you can make some improvements to your job as a Family Manager – ultimately making things a lot easier for you, but hopefully more enjoyable for everyone in your family. I have found by taking on some new ideas I have created more time in my day to have fun and be available to my kids rather than trying to multi-task. I would love to hear how you make things work in your home too!
If you want more information and a chance to dive in deeper learning new ideas to manage your home, I am offering a coaching series on just this subject. We will look at all the areas of home management; you will get forms, checklists and support to make positive changes. I would love to have you join us. If you just can’t wait for that series, I also offer a Do It Yourself personalized plan that will jumpstart your role as a Family Manager; check out my Family Manager Makeover.