Ashley Buffa from Freedom Moms has the street cred to call herself the official “Home Systems Expert” as she has the personal expertise with 10 kids (Who range in age from 18 years to 6 months) of her own. Never fear, she did not start this way and didn’t even like cleaning, so much so that as a teenager her dream was to marry a rich man with a live-in maid! That plan didn’t come to fruition and once she started her family, she quickly came to realise that all the work of keeping a home clean, tidy and organised was more than one woman could handle. Years and years of trial and error later, Ashley has now developed systems within her home that provide an environment where everyone, kids included work together to have a home that runs like clockwork. She believes that if she can do it with 10 kids and a business then you can too!
Running your house is like running your business
Most businesses have systems that help them to run it in such a way that;
- Everything is organised
- Tasks are done on time
- No deadlines are missed
- Communication with staff and clients is constant
So if you are doing this without even thinking in your business, why are you not doing it at home where you have exactly the same hierarchy?
⇨ You are the CEO of your business | You are the CEO of your home
⇨ You have a team in your business | You have a team in your home
⇨ Your business needs leadership | Your home needs leadership
⇨ You use SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) in your business… You should be using SOP’s in your home!
Not many people have made this connection between their work and home life, have you? If you haven’t, that’s ok, we totally get it, your home is your safe place where the last thing you want to be doing is perceived “work” there too.
However, if your home is in shambles and your feet stick to the kitchen floor as you are walking through, that does not set you up for success at the start of each day. Alternatively if you experienced these types of indiscretions in your business, you would be appalled and implement changes because it’s just not good enough.
If you were to take all of the principles that are making you and your business successful and you translate those into your home, that is the way to realise success. It’s a no brainer in your business, so why is it NOT a no brainer in your home?
Now, that doesn’t mean you should run home and declare your sacred space a Martha Stewart experiment…. just like implementing systems in your business, implementing systems in your home takes time and a lot of trial and error so make sure you go easy on yourself and your family if you decide to make this change. Be prepared to fail and be ok with that! Start small, continuously test and measure until you find that secret sauce that works for you, your family and your home.
Running your home is figureoutable, it’s not rocket science.
How does the “Systems Hierarchy” transfer into your house?
In business, the “Systems Hierarchy” consists of Policies (Rules of Business) at the top, SOP’s (Instructions for tasks) in the middle and Checklists / Forms (Action for completion of tasks) on the bottom. These are no different to how a “Systems Hierarchy” should look in your house. Mum & Dad (CEO’s) are responsible for setting the rules and standards of your house and these will differ from house to house as everyone has different standards and ways of parenting and living.
A great example of this is in Ashley’s home, her baseboards / skirting boards are sparkling but her windows and mirrors at any given time have smudges on them because this is not a priority in their home standards. Whereas you might need those windows and mirrors to be cleaned every week so they sparkle. Another thing to keep in mind when setting your rules and standards is that a family with 10 kids are going to have less chores per child then a family of 2 kids because keeping a home clean, tidy and organised has the same amount of overall chores no matter how many people live there.
The Home CEO’s are also responsible for the attitude of your house. One of Ashley’s house standards is that “Family”means being a team which means they all work together until the jobs are done so that they can then all do what they want to do. The traditional house experiences one person doing all the work (Typically Mum) feeling completely disenfranchised with life, wanting to run away from home, not being able to wait until the kids have flown the nest so that she can get her life back. Does this sound like you?
Do any of these thoughts or feelings sound familiar to you?
⇨ Why am I the only person that cares how clean the house is?
⇨ Why am I the only person that ever takes out the garbage?
⇨ Do you not see that you missed 1 plate when packing the dishwasher?
This is a classic example of martyrdom and if you have thoughts like this then you are not leading by example or setting a good tone. Just by changing your attitude, can change this whole experience and no different to the culture in a business, the attitude in your house starts at the top with Mum & Dad. Be purposeful about sowing the attitude you want into your house and the environment and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the outcomes.
Successful SOP’s for your house and kids
Standards are carried out via your SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) and yes, you should have SOP’s for all the chores in your house. In order for a child to be able to rise to a challenge, they have to fully understand what the challenge is. This means you can’t just say “Go clean the bathroom”. What does that mean? When is it clean? Can I fake it enough to where Mum thinks it’s clean? Whereas, if you have a written standard with check boxes and they go down in chronological order, at the end of the steps being followed, the kids know they have a clean bathroom. If you step in to inspect the work and can tell something was missed or not done, all you have to do is ask “Which one of these steps didn’t you do because we both know that this bathroom is not clean?” The child then needs to figure out which step was missed and fix it which eliminates the whole feeling that “My kids do the jobs but only ever halfway done”.
Just like staff in your business, your kids need to;
⇨ Know what the standard is
⇨ Have it in front of them
⇨ Follow the steps
⇨ Meet the standards expected
SOP’s are important and you can never have too many, any chore that needs to be done in your house essentially should have an SOP and if they are laminated, brownie points to you because they will last longer and not get lost or damaged. You could even have pictures to help if you think that would provide more value to your kids. If you’re kids are on the spectrum, SOP’s are even more important because they quantify your expectations by providing clear steps and structure which is where they thrive.
Multiple kids can be responsible for the same SOP, you just need to make sure it is clearly labeled on who is responsible for each step of the process. This will also start implementing the skills they need to deal with other people, how to communicate with them and get along with them even if you aren’t necessarily on the same wavelength as you. There will always be people in life that are different to you, that have different beliefs than you, that get on your nerves that you have to work alongside so why not start learning that at home.
How to implement systems in your house now
A good place to start implementing systems in your house now is by using a powerful tool known as the “5 Minute Family Cleanup”. Whilst you may think that 5 minutes isn’t enough to get everything clean (And you would be correct), it is enough to get you started and get some momentum because just like implementing change in your business, implementing change at home will come with some push back, will create friction and you want to be proactive with setting everyone up for success not failure.
There are some great parameters around the “5 Minute Family Cleanup”;
⇨ Set a timer for 5 minutes
⇨ When the time is up, you stop the cleanup and release the kids
⇨ As long as they are focused and doing it with a good attitude
⇨ If someone is giving attitude or just walking around staring at the ceiling, they have to do another 5 minutes
⇨ Everyone needs to be cleaning in the same room so you can keep an eye on them
⇨ Have on some fun, upbeat music that is enjoyable as it makes them do it faster and changes the mood in the room
The benefit of these parameters is that they can see how little time 5 minutes is but how much they can accomplish if they are all working together. Family being a team is the key to making your house systems work. No different to working together as a team in your business, if you work together as a family at home, you can accomplish so much more than if everyone is just out for themselves. This will allow you to move on to the next fun thing and enjoy and appreciate each other so much more!
At the end of the day, your role as a parent is to teach your kids the life skills they will need to be successful in the world otherwise you might find yourself with some hitchhikers you weren’t expecting.
If you love the idea of implementing systems for your house and kids, a great place to start is by taking Ashley’s “Wahm Barometer” quiz which will help you understand what problems are causing you to be frustrated and what you can start doing about changing that.