Feb 07 2009
Last week my kids went back to school. All three of my boys are now at school 5 days a week.
This is amazing, as it means I now have 5 days a week of uninterrupted time between 9:30 am and 2:30 pm to attend to my home and work responsibilities. As we entered the final days of the school holidays, I sat down and created a list of all the systems I am going to put into place around the home this year, to ensure that I can manage the home efficiently while still devoting the time I need to continue growing my businesses.
Here are some of the “systems” I wrote down for managing the home:
Financial Management System
- Reporting (for tax and to help us review our spending)
- Filing & Archiving
Kitchen Management System
- Keeping General Kitchen Area Tidy
- Fridge Shelf Management
- Pantry Shelf Management
- Weekly Shopping (groceries and supplies)
- Weekly Meal Planning
- Rubbish and Recycling
Clothes Management System
General Home Management System
- Lawn & Backyard Maintenance
- Clean Toilets & Bathrooms
- Keep Living Room, Offices, Landing & Corridors Tidy
- Keep Car Clean And Tidy
- Monthly, Weekly & Daily To Dos
Leisure & Recreation System
- Hiring & Returning DVDs, library books, etc …
- Weekend tasks and activities
- Planning and co-ordinating family activities and events
- Planning and co-ordinating events, activities and engagements for the kids
After creating the above list, I then spent some time over several days breaking down all of the systems into smaller processes and working out the best and most efficient ways to get all of the things listed above done. I also worked out which areas I could delegate to others (for example, my oldest son helps me with the rubbish and recycling, my youngest boys help out with keeping the home tidy and I just pay a lawn mowing guy to keep the lawn around the house trimmed.)
After a few days of intense planning and “mental organization”, I started on the monumental task of becoming a worthy househusband and creating a “manageable” environment for everyone here at home by choosing to address the toughest area first … our finances.
Ever since Corporate Babe brought home a huge flatscreen TV she won in a sales contest, the management of our finances began to suffer greatly. Not because we were now spending more time watching movies and neglecting to pay bills (although I can’t deny there is a certain truth in this!), but because I was forced to move all of the intrays I was using to manage our finances off the second desk I had set up in my home office to make way for the huge screen.
Having no place else to put these intrays, I stacked them up inside one of the closets in the room, next to my socks and underwear baskets (since I spend so much time here in my home office, I decided to set up all of my clothes in here as well. Last year, when we got a home exercise machine, I wanted it to go in my office too, but my wife refused, saying that I would then have almost no reason to ever leave my “cave”!).
Having the intrays in the closet worked well for a while. At least I didn’t have to look at the ugly stack of bills and late notices that our postman was delivering to our mailbox every day. The problem is that soon after we acquired the giant screen, my family realized that we could no longer sit in the really uncomfortable green plastic chairs we were using before to watch movies on my laptop screen. This issue was soon fixed when my in-laws arrived from overseas for a month’s visit and my father-in-law discovered a great lounge going for a bargain at a local church yard sale.
My home office had now also become a “home theatre” and the lounge was pushed back against the closet door. This made it difficult for me not only to access my socks and underwear each day, but also to get to the finance intrays, since there was hardly any room for me to open the closet door and the kids were now living in my office, either to watch movies, or to take turns playing games on the big screen.
What began to happen, is that after collecting the mail, I would come into the office, squeeze my way past the kids on the lounge, open the closet door just a fraction and throw the unopened envelopes into it. This soon became a habit and I thought nothing more of paying bills, fines, late notices, etc …
But, of course, one can only ignore bills, demands and outstanding payment notices for a while. And so, the week before the school holidays came to an end, I set up a third desk in my now very crowded little home office and dragged out all of the intrays and unopened bills from the closet. After spending a whole day organizing my finance management system, I then spent the next two days walking around the house feeling extremely depressed, for I had now seen the writing on the wall (I put up a notice above the intrays with an arrow pointing down to the bills) and knew that things were definitely not looking “rosy”, but more like a kind of dark, stinky brown.
Anyway, the first step when planning how to get to any destination is to know exactly where you are starting your journey from. As a househusband fully committed to meeting my responsibilities to my home and family this year, I now know exactly where I am financialy. It’s not good and it’s a problem, but at least it’s out of the closet now and I can start dealing with it, one day at a time.
The Lazy Househusband