Empty toilet rolls, dishes piled in the sink, an overflowing bin, a stack of unpaid bills waiting to be tended to. In a family household, it’s the little things that can build up – to a general overwhelm or worst yet, big resentments.
Founder of Organise.Curate.Design., a business and life admin company designed to streamline your life, Caroline Brunne, explains the best way to divide up your at home to do list, ensuring all parties feel valued and maybe even enjoy the process. Here, Caroline shares her 6 time management and organisation strategies for a happier – and little less chaotic – home life.
- Know your who, what, whens
Communication is the key to success when it comes to managing the household to do list. It’s as important to be clear on who is doing what and when, as it is the ‘what’ and ‘when’. For example, it may be important for the person doing the cooking to work in a clean kitchen, meaning the person who unstacks the dishwasher or washes the dishes needs to be mindful of when that task needs to be completed.
- Share the load
I have children and a husband and everyone in our household has tasks they’re responsible for. I’m a big believer in breaking outdated gender norms. It’s about being mindful of everyone’s schedules, skills and capabilities and understanding there may be times when you need to jump in and do some tasks others might normally manage and vice versa. I don’t expect my nine year old to make a three course dinner, but I know he has the capability to set the table, clean up after dinner and help with other chores around the house. Meanwhile, I’m empowering my eldest son to be more independent, so he’s encouraged to cook at least one night a week and has the freedom to try different recipes.
- Don’t micromanage
Often in a household both people are working or have competing commitments so everyone needs to be thinking about life admin as a whole, not just the obvious chores that need to be done. This includes decision making around money and important items like utilities and insurances. If you’re doing most of the life admin and want to set the tone for a more equitable household, be clear on all of the things that need to be managed and how you’d like tasks split moving forward. But remember not to micromanage – it doesn’t really matter how the task gets done. In reality, eight plus two equals 10, but so does three plus seven. We’re all wired differently, and members of your household will take a different route, but if a task gets done, that’s the most important thing. Then you and your loved ones can spend time instead making memories doing the things you love.
- Follow the CAYG rule
I’m a big believer in cleaning as you go (CAYG), like washing up or stacking your dishwasher as you’re cooking. It’s also important to also know what your household appliances can do and the features they have. Take the time to read the manual, or watch online videos to use special features to your advantage. No one likes to clean their oven so features like Westinghouse’s PyroClean (aka self-cleaning) for example, are a lifesaver when keeping your oven clean and hygienic.
- Match meals to minutes
Try to avoid decision fatigue where possible. 5pm is not the best time to be deciding what’s for dinner, so meal planning for the week ahead, matching your meals to the time you have available is always a good idea. It helps stick to a budget, reduce food waste and avoid those hangry moments. If it’s a busy night with not much time to cook, making the most of features like Westinghouse’s AirFry to get things as tasty as possible with minimal cooking time is a winner.
- Create a family calendar for time management
I can’t live without my calendar and that methodology has extended into our family. We have an online family calendar to track our family movements, as well as a calendar for meals and bills. Each calendar serves a purpose and when we are having our Sunday night family gatherings we can refer to the calendar to know who has anything unusual coming up in the following week. Part of this is also setting expectations on Sundays, to be across each other's schedules. It helps provide support to each other while also making sure the household runs as smoothly as possible.