When Life Isn't Working Right, Change Your Systems

Everything in our lives is a system.  From how we wash our clothes, to how we do our dishes, to how to pay our bills.  And when our lives feel chaotic, that means our systems aren't working.

Or perhaps you feel like you don't have a system going, but I assure you do.  Even if you only wash your clothes when all of them are dirty, that's a system.  It may be a chaotic system, but it's a system nonetheless.  And this is fine, as long as your chaotic systems are few and far between.  The issue arises when all of our systems are chaotic.

Once upon a time, that used to be me.  But little by little, I've taken each thing in my life and revamped them to work more efficiently.  From my coffee drinking (yes, even that's a system), to washing and storying my laundry, to how I store my makeup, to how I wash my dishes: each one has gone through a thorough makeover so they work with me, rather than against me.

So, how do we do this?  First, you have to:

1. Evaluate Your Systems

Look around your life.  Do you see any chaos?  If so, then one or more systems are not working.  Do you see laundry all over the floor?  I used to work with a woman whose entire hallway was covered in laundry, probably at least six inches thick.  Every dirty piece of clothing got thrown in the hallway.  If you had to use the bathroom, which was down that hall, you'd have to stomp on all her dirty laundry.  While it was not gross for the person walking on it, it was gross for her to have to wash clothes that had everything those shoes tracked in all over them.

So, she knew her laundry system wasn't working.  We then looked at other aspects of her life and home.  She noticed that her garbage was always constantly overflowing.  And her dishes were doing the same.  As was her kids' playroom.  In fact, the playroom was so bad that you couldn't even enter it as toys and items were stacked from floor to almost ceiling.

These were some big jobs to get done and some big chaotic systems to tame.  So we decided to tackle one at a time.

2. Research New Systems

When you've identified what ones aren't working your life, you need to seek out new ones.  I suggest heading to the library or bookstore (or Amazon) to look up some great organizational books.  These are great because they encompass all sorts of systems.  If you're looking for one in particular, I use Pinterest for ideas (or Google).  I searched "laundry organization ideas" and got oodles of great info.

The same works for any type of system, even ones that aren't organizational.  You can google "school carpooling ideas" or whatever it is you're wanting to change.  If your mornings are crazy?  Google "morning makeovers" or "bedtime routines (for kids or adults)" or something similar. 

3. Test Out New Systems

Have you found some systems you like?  Try them out!  Don't commit yet, that will only frustrate you if you end up not liking it.  I've tried many things I didn't end up liking (like using a traveler's notebook for organizing things I needed to remember).  And I am fine with letting those things go in favor of other things that actually work for me.

So take out your supplies (if you need any) and get to testing!  You may find something that works amazingly well!

4. Implement New Systems

Now you have some ways that you've tested out and found some that work really well.  Now you need to keep up with it and not revert back to your old ways.  How do you accomplish this?

  • First of all, the biggest way to help yourself stick with something new is to implement only one system at a time.  If you try to change too much all at once, sometimes your brain will freak out and revert right back to your old ways.  So pick the most important one that you need to change right away.  Then go from there.
  • Secondly, write your system down.  That way a) you'll remember exactly how you want things to do and b) other people in your house will also know how things are going to go.  
  • Third, post the system on your fridge or another high traffic place.  You want it visible so you can see it regularly. 
  • Fourth, be proud of your new good habits!  A system that works is a true testament to your ability to change.  You should reward yourself, you deserve it 😀

5. Show Off Your Systems

So, you've picked a new way of doing things, tried it out, and decided it works for you.  Now, share it with the world!  Have a blog?  Post about it! (then share it on Pinterest)  Or take a few pics to put on Instagram.  Whatever you do, be sure to share it with those who might benefit from knowing a system that works that also may work for them. 

Remember Margaret Fuller's words: "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it."

6. Rinse, Lather, Repeat

Now, apply the above to every single system you need to change in your life.  They say it takes 30 days to build new habits, so for certain things, you may want to wait that long in between implementing new ones.  Some, like maintaining a new movie collection system, may only take a few hours.

Now, here is a list of the types of systems in your life that you may want to look at to see if they are working or not:

  • how you do laundry (and store dirty laundry)
  • consider a coffee station (setting up all your coffee needs in one place, if you're a coffee drinker--I use a shelf in my kitchen: disposable coffee cups and lids, teabags, teaball,  sugar canister, k-cups, instant coffee, etc. while my Keurig (<-------this link is an affiliate link, so if you purchased this, I'd get a small payment from Amazon, so I can buy more coffee!) coffee maker sits right under my cabinets)
  • how your dishes get washed (although you're probably lucky and have a dishwasher if , unlike me, check out this post about how to teach your kids to wash dishes by hand)
  • your movie collection
  • your book collection
  • your meal planning system
  • your filing system
  • your morning routine (yours or your kid's)
  • your bedtime routine (yours or your kid's)
  • your cleaning routine
  • your spiritual system
  • your self-nourishing routine
  • your bill paying system
  • your financial system
  •  and anything else you have going on in your life 😏

So, to evaluate what's working and not working in your life, go on and download this worksheet, print it out, and get to work!

Do you have any awesome strategies to share for revamping your life's systems??  If so, share them below! 

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