Episode 50: Jenn Uren on 3 Essential Systems for Your HomeJan 18, 2022
If you're tired of pouring all your energy into keeping your head above water, ready to put your energy into the things that matter most, but don't know where to start, this episode is for you. Jenn Uren shares 3 essential systems when it comes to a home that runs smoothly and any of them are a good place to start.
Today's episode of This Mom Knows will help you decide your best starting point.
Plan to Eat Meal Planning Tool
This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 50
We've been talking a lot about systems recently.
In Episode 48, we talked about what a system is and why you need to use them. In Episode 49, we talked about the difference between time and energy, and how systems can help us manage our energy so we can maximize how we use our time.
I've heard from several of you, as you have said, "Yes, you get it. This is what I've been trying to articulate." This is quickly followed by them the question of, "but where do I start?"
As a mompreneur, you need systems to support both home and business. But your unique reality is that home is the environment in which you do business. When things at home are running smoothly, then we have the foundation to experience work life balance, for the mompreneur. That is the balance between focusing on business and focusing on family. Therefore, I usually suggest that you start at home.
There are three foundational systems off of which all other home systems are built. And when these three are in place, you have the structure to support a well oiled home machine. The three systems are dinner, laundry, and mail. "But wait!" you say, "those sound like specific systems and not bread broad categories." You are correct. Think of them as gateway systems.
So let's start let's start with dinner. Of all the meals we make dinner is usually the hardest. Breakfast can be fairly routine, most mornings, toast and jam, cereal, milk, eggs and fruit, you get the idea. We just sort of know what to do. So most mornings breakfast is grab and go - we just do it. Lunch becomes somewhat similar. It kind of has a template. Leftovers, sandwich and chips swing through the drive thruc- it's not really something we think very hard about, but dinner. That's a whole other thing. We can tolerate monotony at a certain level when it comes to breakfast and lunch, but not dinner. Dinner requires some advanced planning. So that's why we start there. Planning dinner gives us a menu of recipes that we plan to make. So we create a system for gathering and choosing the recipes we will have and when we will have them; the ones we want to eat try and when we're going to eat them. But that's just the starting point. In order to make dinner, you need to plan the time to prepare it. In order to prepare it, you need to have the ingredients on hand. This requires grocery shopping, which is another place for a good system. In order to grocery shop, you need to know what you need to buy - another opportunity for a system that pulls together the recipe ingredients for dinner and the things that you need for breakfast and lunch. So eventually, you have multiple systems working together to make all things food feel simple. You have a meal planning system comprised of specific systems around specific aspects.
But you started with dinner. And when our food is under control, our budget becomes more stable. And when we know we're eating, what we're eating, our health may improve. And when we know what we're eating, it's more natural to pull off dinner with all the family around the table. Dinner is the perfect starting system when it comes to not only feeding our families, but caring for their health and well being. And to get you started to get you jumpstarted I'm going to put a link in the show notes to Plan to Eat. It is an amazing cloud based tool that pulls all these things together. And I will talk more about these in this in a future episode, but if you're going, "how do I even start with dinner?" that's a good place to start.
Next up is laundry. Now laundry is the gateway to all things cleaning and home maintenance. So how do I get from laundry to cleaning the gutters you ask? Well, laundry is how we care for our clothes. And since we all wear clothes, laundry is a universal issue. When we provide clean clothes for ourselves and our family, we provide one of the most basic tools needed in order to start the day. Now deciding what to wear is a different problem and maybe one day we'll tackle that system but today we're just talking about making sure that clothes are clean, regular and available to be worn.
Having a system built around laundry means that you have what you need to go and do the things that you need to do. And when you have clean clothes, you have something to wear. And when you have something to wear, you can actually get dressed and ready to leave the house. And leaving home lets you engage in the stuff of your life, school meetings, running yard work, whatever it is that you do outside your house. This makes way for cleaning because for example, once you're dressed you need to eat breakfast right? Are the dishes clean and ready to be used. Well there's an opportunity for a system, a cleaning system is the table cleared off and ready for you to sit where the food crumbs left on the carpet or were they cleaned up? Are the car keys easy to find so you can leave on time? When you leave the house is the driveway icy because the gutters were too full for the melting snow to drain off the roof and not freeze on the driveway. I told you it will connect back to the gutters.
Laundry is the system for taking care of something we use regularly, which is what cleaning and home maintenance are taking care of the things we own. I'm also going to do an episode soon on how to design your own laundry system, but in the meantime, I will put a link in the show notes to a blog post I wrote about on this exact thing.
And last but not least is the mail. Now for most of us the mail is the primary way that paper finds its way into our homes. If you have kids in school, though, that is another significant inflow of paper, but since we can all relate to the mail, let's talk about that system. Now in Episode 48, I do go into detail about what a mail system could look like.
When the mail is under control, then piles don't form and instead paper goes where it needs to go to be ready for its next step. Junk goes into the recycling bin, bills go into the folder on your desk, event information onto your calendar and so on. But mail represents all paper: insurance paperwork, social security cards, birth certificates, passports, letters from grandma, school papers, invitations, all of it. And having a process for each of these types of paper will keep piles from forming and ensure that you have what you need when you need it. This in turn will keep you from missing events, due dates and other deadlines. And that is going to reduce your stress.
So these three systems are really foundational for your home. You can start with any of them. Mail is by far the easiest. Dinner happens every day, whether you have a system or not. When I dug out of overwhelm, I started with laundry and one reason was because it was the most visible when it was out of control. There was just piles of clothes everywhere. But the other reason was that it was a regular win and unlike dinner, which is daily laundry was usually weekly, which meant that I could ride the wave of that win for several days, I didn't have to start over the next day right away immediately.
So maybe you now know where you want to start but you aren't sure how to start. Well I've created a tool for you. It's a system template or recipe that will help you plan your system so that you can practice it and make it routine. You can find a link for that in the show notes or you can go to ThisMomKnows.com/system