The Secret To Creating Any System

I have a secret that I want to share.  Are you ready to hear it?

I follow the same process no matter what system I’m creating.  

Honestly!  And in this blog post, I’m going to show you how to create a system no matter what pillar you are focusing on.

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to review the details behind each pillar of Home, Inc.:

First, we have Clutter.  Clutter is all of the physical stuff in your home.  All of your clothing, your kitchenware, your photos, your kids’ toys, your cleaning supplies.  Every tangible thing you own that takes up space in your home.  I know, it’s a lot!

Then, we have Cash.  Cash has two arms – Budgeting and Filing Systems.  Budgeting is a mountain of a topic!  And filing systems are no joke, either.  For each arm, there are many ways of doing things, different systems and softwares, different options.  

Next up, we have Calendars.  Calendars looks at how you manage your to-dos, and how you manage your time.  We are constantly doing something, planning for something, or wondering what we should be doing, so this pillar can get pretty detailed as well.  

Finally, we have Cleaning.  Ah, cleaning.  The day to day tasks of wiping counters, mopping floors, and vacuuming PLUS keeping up with those bigger systems in your house (hello, dishwasher and AC unit!)  

My goal is to teach as many people as possible how to set up systems in their homes.  You will always have a project in front of you.  You will always have something that needs to be organized or systematized.  Right now, it might be organizing your digital files.  Next week, it’ll be deep cleaning the bathrooms.  In a few months, maybe you’re redesigning your home office.  There is always something.  So, while some of my blog posts might tackle how to set up a digital filing system, or how to deep clean your dishwasher, I want you to know that Home, Inc. is bigger than that.  It’s about following a process, knowing how to corral your overwhelm, getting focused, and getting something done.  It’s about applying the same process to any system that you want to create in your home.

Let’s take a few examples:

  • Setting up a filing system
  • Creating a cleaning routine
  • Organizing your to-dos

These all appear to be very distinct, unique organizing projects.  They have different themes, they belong to different pillars, and they have varying degrees of difficulty.  But, I am here to deliver shocking words:  they all look the same to me.  They all represent systems that need to be created.

I present you with the following four steps that can be used to create systems for both THINGS and INFORMATION.  I follow these steps any time a system needs to be created.  I encourage you to try these steps on two totally different projects, and you will see what I mean.

Step 1: GATHER

The act of bringing everything together so you can see what you’re working with.  If it’s files, gather all of them.  If it’s a cleaning routine, gather WHAT you want to clean (this is an example of gathering information).  If it’s to-dos, gather all of them via brain dumping, notebook corralling, and e-mail printing (again, gathering information).  Get everything into ONE place in plain sight so you can see all of the data you are working with.

Step 2: SORT

If you have files, sort them by category.  If you have cleaning tasks, sort them by type.  If you have to-dos, sort them by theme or by difficulty.  It doesn’t matter how you sort something, just sort it.  Present the information to your brain in an organized fashion.  This will allow you to think more clearly and analyze the situation better, not to mention reduce stress around the subject.

Step 3: PROCESS

Now that you know what you’re working with, and you have a sense of the size and number of categories, it is time to purge, edit, add, comment, move.  Processing is a large, nebulous task.  It means working through something.  If it’s files, you’re deciding what to keep or toss (or ask questions about!).  If it’s cleaning, you might be adding tasks, or revising how you want it to be done.  If it’s to-dos, you’re maybe deleting olds ones, delegating some to your spouse, or adding additional categories.  This is the working phase, often the most difficult and time-consuming, but highly necessary.  Process through the information or the things, and then you can move forward.

Step 4: IMPLEMENT 

The end stage.  You have clean, organized, and perfected categories.  You know what needs to be done, you just need to implement.  For your files, put them into a filing cabinet with labels, or onto your computer in labeled folders.  For your cleaning tasks, print them on a schedule or add them to your digital calendar.  For your to-dos, schedule them into your day, pick your priorities, and move through them until they’re off your list.  Implementing is taking your organized and understood information, and plugging it into a system.  

So, while I think detail is important and I will continue to post about specific areas of the 4 pillars, I just want you to know that the process of creating a system is always the same.  That is why I wanted to take my business virtual and teach people how to create systems.  Because there will always be that next something that needs to be systematized, and I want you to feel like you have the tools and confidence to systematize ANYTHING.  

You are capable of organizing anything in your life.  It will create order, it will make you feel more confident, and you will probably get more accomplished in less time.  That is the beauty of systems and following a process, and why they are my passion.  

Thank you for reading!

Author: jillmcmeekin

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