I have several friends who always complain that their weekends are for catching up on chores. I get it. Weeks are busy spent working, running errands, organizing the kids and just trying to make sure dinner is on the table.
But what if you could systemize your life? And STILL have time on the weekends.
What if you didn’t have to;
- Doing laundry?
- Clean the house?
- Going shopping for groceries?
And what if you could win back your weekends to do the things you love?!
What does systemize your life mean?
Mostly, because we’re a funny bunch us human beings, we tend to do things in a general fashion. More ‘as and when’ needed.
But what if you could more of what you want instead of what’s needed.
PS I wrote this for an article for G2 on Systemization in a business context.
Basically, instead of trying to cut down time spent doing things, it’s about maximizing efficiency and making sure you’re spending time on the right tasks.
It’s a bit of a mindshift but in terms of organizing your life, it’s more about creating processes that allow you to have weekends to spend your time doing things that make you happy. Versus trying to cut down the amount of time something like the laundry takes.
Questions to ask before you start
Write a list of the tasks that you need to do each week that aren’t work-based. E.g. Clean the house, do laundry, cook, see your parents etc.
Now take each task at a time and consider;
- Does it need to be done?
- Does it need to be done by me?
- How long does it take?
- Can I do it while I’m doing something else?
- Is there another way to get this task done?
- What could I / would I pay for someone else to do this task?
Reduce overwhelm, spark joy
Ideally, you don’t want to hit the weekend exhausted. You want to have the time and space to do the things you love. To quote Marie Kondo, you want to do the things that spark joy.
She applies this to objects but you can apply it to activities too.
For example, think about how you currently spend your weekends or free time. Or even your life in total.
What % of your life, or your weekend do you spend on rest or things and activities that spark joy?
Is this something you want to change? You can.
Of course, if you have children there is added complexity but it’s not impossible.
- Swap turns with your partner in terms of who takes the kids to _________ (swimming or football or whatever extra activities there are). Make sure each of you has your own time each week to do things that spark joy.
- Get your in-laws, parents or even a baby sitting in once a week so you have time together.
An example of systemizing from my own life
I never used to wash clothes during the week. I used to simply let them pile up until the basket load got to big and then it had to be done. This typically used to happen on the weekend after a week of working out and going to work.
But something else interesting happened. When the basket was full I would suddenly feel overwhelmed. And it would 2-3 loads all to be done on a weekend until the laundry basket was full and we’d start the process again.
That was until I interviewed Carrie Leaf on my podcast and read her book “Therapize Yourself”.
Then things changed.
I scheduled laundry on the mornings that I didn’t go to gym. Instead, now I wake up, throw a load in the washing machine, go for my morning walk and by the time I get back it’s done and I hang it up before going off to work.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are washing days.
Sounds boring but it works!
No more overbursting laundry basket and no more washing overwhelm.
I started to think about what other tasks I could wave the magic wand of systemization on and came up with a bunch of ideas.
- Cooking on Sundays for the week so I don’t have to cook during the week. This depends on you of course. Some people love cooking during the week.
- Shopping for food once a week on a Thursday night after yoga given that my local shops are open until 10pm. After all, what difference does it make if I get home at 21h00 or 22h00? And then it’s done for the week.
- Eliminating ironing. I hate ironing. I hate it. And honestly, if you hang your clothes properly you don’t need to iron.
- Working out in the morning so I can have my evenings free.
- Cleaning my bathroom on a Friday evening before going out so it’s done.
How to systemize your life and win back your weekends?
So right now take out a sheet of blank paper.
Write down all the tasks that have to be done each week. Answer the questions from above in questions to ask before you start.
Most importantly ask what can be eliminated, shared or outsourced.
Get out your calendar. If you don’t have one, get one!
Now allocate the tasks to a specific time and day. For example my washing on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Put them in the diary.
Why would you put them in the diary? You wouldn’t put brushing your teeth in your diary after all. No, you wouldn’t but you also spent at least 6 to 10 years practicing brushing your teeth morning and night.
So you put it in the diary until it becomes a habit.
The point of all of this is to find a process for organizing your life so you can have more free time.
It can seem a hassle in the beginning but as you adapt to the process, you’ll find yourself with weekends to spend as you please.
Riding your bicycle, taking trips, reading, writing that book you always wanted etc.
Start and let me know how it goes.