The last four weeks we have been working on how we manage our households. Four key areas of household management that we tackled were having a home for everything, setting up routines and systems, cleaning our homes, and information management.
This week we will look at habits and motivation as no changes or plans will work long term unless we build them in as habits. When looking to “simplify” home life you should examine your habits to see if they are working for or against you.
Focus on and develop habits that work to support your goals and priorities. This applies to all your goals, but here we are looking specifically at our homes.
Daily and weekly habits may be small, but add up to have huge impacts on households. Some areas you can develop habits for include where you put your keys or handbag, how you process your mail and bill paying, getting organised for work and school the night before, taking care of your car or clothes, feeding your family (think groceries and meal planning), and weekly planning sessions.
Looking at household tasks, and the way things run now, ask yourself if there is a better way. Think about what areas we have covered that you need to develop new habits to simplify your household. What wil make your life easier and seems like something you could find the motivation to do. There is no point in adding in systems and habits that you feel you “should” have if you cannot find your own personal “why” or way to make it your own.
To motivate yourself in the area of household management try to connect with the reason why you want to do something or develop a habit – what will you (and your family) gain or how would your life be improved. We may not like the tasks at hand, but often you can push past that and get things done for the greater good and pay off. Another tactic to gain motivation is to tie household tasks to things you do enjoy either together or as a reward afterwards.
Fold laundry while you watch your favourite TV shows and never deal with living out of laundry baskets. Promise yourself a certain reward after you mop the kitchen. Whatever dreaded task you need a kick in the pants to do paired with whatever will light the fire under you.
To build new habits attempt them up one at a time. This way you can focus on them exclusively with effort and lock them in. Better to build in one new habit a month (or slower) and have them impact your home positively for the long term, than to tackle a bunch of ideas at once and find no changes stick. This is definitely a case of slow and steady wins the race.
You can enlist online help or use a simple spreadsheet or other tracking device for additional motivation to build the new habits. As shared previously in one of the goals blog posts two examples are habit forge and don’t break the chain. You can enlist an accountability partner or join any number of forum support groups from Fly lady to many parenting and family life websites or start your own closed group for friends on facebook. Whatever will push you to build your new habit into your daily life. Eventually it will be established and you can move on to another habit you want to encourage.
If you struggle to establish a habit you feel would be of benefit consider whether it is a motivation issue, one of accountability or one that simply does not suit your way of life. See if there is an alternative to try and carry on again. A great example of this is cleaning methods – some people thrive on schedules, others on loose lists, and still others on ad-hoc cleaning as you go. If you continually try to stick to a plan, but “fail”, consider whether you need a different approach or a different way to establish it.
Challenge this week: Reflect on your existing household management routines (or lack thereof) and decide on 1 new habit to establish. Decide on how you will make it work (set yourself up for success) and track your progress. Give it at least a month and we will check in after the next block of challenges.
In my own case I am focusing on sticking to a 15 minute daily tidy up each evening. I am using a spreadsheet along the lines of “don’t break the chain” (which I will post on our fridge) and enlisting my children to select their own 30 day habits. There is no greater accountability partner than a child looking to catch you out for not doing what you promise to do. Between the threee of us we should be able to tackle all our personal habits /tasks for 15 minutes (or less) each evening.
Find your simple,
Link up for week 29 (or any week of SYL challenges):