Everyday system mods for homemakers / stay-at-home parents?

An everyday system, TM, is a simple, commonsense solution to an everyday problem, grounded by a pun or metaphor. Propose/discuss new systems here.
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Sara R
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:05 pm

Everyday system mods for homemakers / stay-at-home parents?

Post by Sara R » Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:13 pm

Hi! I read a reference to the No S diet last week, and looked up this website. The diet sounded like common sense to me, but still a big change from my current eating habits, so I started it. I listened to the podcasts, and I think Reinhard's ideas about habit formation are enlightening and useful to me. I'm the type of person who has a lot of grand ideas for self-improvement projects, and I stick to them for a week or two before fizzling out. I have been the hare and not the tortoise. Everyday systems are helping me to change that, and I thank you heartily.

My question is about the Big Picture and Personal Punch Cards, related to my role as a homemaker. I'm primarily a homemaker, though my youngest child is starting first grade this year and I plan to start a tutoring business. I'm trying to figure out how to change the work column so it fits with my role. My "work-life balance" is skewed towards the life and less towards work (i.e. employment), by design.

I'm assuming I would expand the family and errands section, but is there more to it than that?

Also, a parent of young children necessarily has to deal with more interruptions/emergencies than someone else. That's the main reason why a parent is at home: to meet the needs of the children, which often present themselves as interruptions. Of course as kids get older, they can be taught that they aren't the center of the universe, and my kids are pretty much at that point now. But sometimes still there are urgent needs that I have to attend to. Other time management systems aimed at people in the workplace talk about eliminating interruptions, but that's not appropriate for stay-at-home parents.

Any thoughts on things to consider for mods?

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kwonset
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Post by kwonset » Mon Aug 17, 2009 4:53 pm

Sara,

I am recently new to the NoS System, but I had been using index cards as a 'to-do' and 'don't forget' reminder. I like Reinhard's 'hierarchy'. I think of the main card, the yearly card, as a way to choose what I most want to work on. The monthly card sets up some priorities so that if I follow through, I will be pecking away at my yearly goals (or new habits).

The daily card I do divide into three columns, (work, routines, and other)--- but I don't worry about exactly where I place my hoped-for actions. Some new habits I would like to develop are work related, some deal with my home---I think of those items on the card as the next thing to do on an on-going project, or the everyday thing to do to develop a new habit.

I also realize I need to not "overschedule". If most days there are many things I cannot cross off I try to make the next card more realistic. With your small children it might help to include fewer things on your card so interruptions and emergencies won't always keep you from getting your chosen tasks done. Good luck!

kccc
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Post by kccc » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:13 am

Perhaps "work" can be the home-maintenance type things (laundry, errands, etc.) and "life" can be more oriented toward the caretaking and connection that are part of being a parent (read to Jenny, do a craft, bake cookies, go for a family hike, etc.)...to sort of make sure that you're doing the whole spectrum...

Just brainstorming.

On weekends, I still use the card, and that's sort of how I do it... mostly. Some days, when my schedule needs to take a lot of family activities into account, I'll use one column for "support activities" (arrange playdate for D, allow time for hubby to get work done or exercise, etc.)

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reinhard
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Post by reinhard » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:40 pm

Hi Sara,

I've found that the columns are vastly less important than keeping the daily card to at all. On weekends and S-days, I just keep a single undifferentiated list. And if there weren't a compelling reason to subdivide during the week, I wouldn't bother. It's hugely motivating and calming to have that single daily card, however it's arranged. And if stressing about the arrangement is going to detract from, skip it.

The same thing is true of the big picture. Just start with a single list or a single page of a few lists and see where it goes. After a few weeks some order may suggest itself -- or not. The most important thing is just to keep it at all.

The one form of punch card arrangement I do think would be helpful no matter what your situation is to keep "mandatory" stuff on the ruled front of the card, and optional reminders on the back. It's so great to be able to cross off all your "mandatory" tasks almost every day and having a clear place to put stuff you're not so sure about (but don't want to forget) is very helpful towards that end.

Best of luck and hope you find these systems helpful,

Reinhard

Sara R
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:05 pm

Post by Sara R » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:09 pm

Here's the system I eventually worked out:

Left column: to-do at home
Middle column: appointments and errands (outside of the house)
Right column: habits

It works well.

kccc
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Post by kccc » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:42 pm

I like that system. May adapt it for my weekend days. :)

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