Setting up systems that work

I’ve been working a lot recently. I love the excitement of the new year. January is often the time when people decide to get their home or office in order. I enjoy setting people up for a great year by helping reclaim their space and supporting them to view their belongings and time differently.

But I also recognise how important it is to take time to rest and recharge. I end each of my sessions with a reminder about how tired my client will find themselves and that they shouldn’t be surprised by this. Decluttering is physically, emotionally and mentally tiring. Most clients report back that they experience a joyful, peaceful level of weariness. As if their body is telling them – job well done!

So, on Tuesday I took a day to do nothing, to read, to potter in my garden and kitchen, to walk my dog and spend a few hours on the couch with my cat enjoying that blissful place between sleep and wakefulness.

The obvious question seems to be – how could I while away a whole day if I’d been working flat out for the previous 20? The answer is simple. Systems. 

Let’s face it much of our daily lives is about drudgery. I’m the first to admit that doing the daily jobs that make a household run smoothly don’t thrill me. But having systems in place eases this impost and allows me to do the stuff that needs to be done so I can move onto other activities that make me happy.

So, what is it that makes a system work? 

Simplicity. The simpler the system the more likely you are to stick to it. We have a bowl on our kitchen bench that holds our keys. We all drop them there as we enter the house. No more lost keys or tears when your daughter can’t find her keys and misses the school bus again.

Our key bowl holds house keys, car keys and more. But only keys!

Realism. If you cook simple food you’re never going to need all those exotic ingredients crowding your pantry. Get rid of them and enjoy being able to see and access the ingredients you do use.

Change your habits. Sometimes making a system work only requires a small shift in your habits. When you get back from walking the dog put his lead away instead of putting it down on the bench or the floor. Soon it will become second nature to unclip him and put his lead in the drawer.

Sparky’s lead goes in this drawer. Even he knows where it lives!

Find what works for you. Do you want your home to be a shoe-free zone? Then create a space where people enter your house to store shoes. Make sure everyone in the household knows about this rule and get them to stick to it.

Implementing new systems takes time and buy in from everyone in your household. It’s no good setting up a new system and failing to tell everyone else about it. The other thing to remember is that some systems will fail. That brilliant idea you had might lack something essential in reality. Don’t be afraid to trial an idea and then shelve it if it’s just not working for you or your family. But don’t lose heart once your systems are place they’ll become second nature to everyone, including the frequent visitors to your home (think hordes of teenagers all putting their bags in the cupboard instead of on the floor). 

Soon you’ll be so busy enjoying life that the effort of implementing your systems will be a distant memory.

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declutter your life

Declutter your home and life by following my 5 life-changing tips to reduce stress and get organised. Breathe a sigh of relief and feel at ease in your personal, business or online space.