Sometimes when I coach a company they have a challenge with the right hand not talking to the left hand—i.e., there is no set method for how something should be done. Often times, things are done differently by different people, and the lack of consistency can cause havoc with production both in the business or even at home.
Imagine how it would be if everyone put the towels away in a completely different location in the house. Or what if office supplies were placed in random locations around the office so no one could find what they needed when necessary? How expensive would this practice become if supplies ended up being ordered repeatedly since items were unable to be located when needed? These situations are real and it stems from lack of having some sort of protocol or system for how things work, where things are kept, and how something is done. In order for a consistent flow of activity and ease in execution of tasks, some operating procedures need to be in place. This can range from how your home runs to how your office is structured.
Solution: Create a Procedure Manual
This doesn’t have to be as complicated or as time consuming as you may be thinking. It’s simply a clear set of procedures for how things are to be done, what is acceptable and not acceptable to do, and where things belong so there is less confusion. To get started, go room by room and write down the “rules” of the “room.” Create a manual and make it available for everyone to read. I will give an easy example of say, the kitchen—particularly useful if you live with others that are not your family.
Fridge and Food:
The space needs of each person change on a daily basis, so put your food in the smallest container possible to maximize space in the fridge. Plan to shop for no more than a week’s worth of food, as the refrigerator won’t hold much beyond that. There will be a constant ebb and flow of space needed by each person, so move things around to fit as needed. If something is becoming a science experiment, toss it promptly. If I detect something has spoiled I will dispose of it so the entire place doesn’t suffer.
If you want to be sure your stuff is sacred, or if you forget what you bought, then label it. It is often not an issue due to food preferences and brand differences, but when in doubt, mark it. If you have something that is too much for yourself and you want to share put a Post-It note on it and all will know.
The suction cup handled scrubber in the sink is for dishes only. The other scrub brush is for cleaning the sink only. The sponge is for counters and tables only. The dishtowels are for drying dishes only. (Rags can be used for cleaning surfaces as well as paper towels). Use paper towels to dry hands so no one spreads germs with foods, etc. When the dishtowels are ready for washing, place them in the utility sink and they will be washed. There are more in the third drawer down on the far left of the island.
The stove top can be cleaned with the sponge or paper towels. Cleaners are in cabinets above the washer and dryer, as are rags.
Please don’t leave dishes/food, etc. in your room if you eat in there. Dishes are not to accumulate outside the kitchen, unless they are your personal belongings. Dishes and food containers are to be kept in the kitchen for everyone’s use. Also, ants are a real pain to get rid of and have been a huge problem in the past with food left out or in a room. J
Feel free to use the above for your own manual wherever it may be handy. Continue from here and see how you can create more ease in your life and environment.
Ask a question for the column and I will address it at the appropriate time. Email questions to Coach Juli, PCC Productivity Coach, at email@example.com and put “question for column” in the subject line and they will be answered right here—your name is not used.