A mess or a system?

If you walked in the front door of my house, on certain days, you’d probably step right on top of my car keys placed carefully on the floor deliberately in the way.

What a mess you might instantly think – but no, you’re walking straight into a system of mine.

You see, awhile back I had this terrible habit of putting my clothes in the washing machine, turning it on and forgetting about it. Hours, sometimes even days, would pass before I’d realise my mistake. An embarrassing confession – but true nonetheless.

After having my clothes colours run together one too many times I knew I needed a system. At first I started leaving my downstairs light on but my eco-friendly side didn’t like this. Then I started leaving my keys in front of the door.

I’d see them as I walked around the house and remember to remove my clothes. This worked beautifully except for the few times my extremely helpful husband decided to put my keys “where they belong” without telling me.

Now, clearly I’m not suggesting you all start leaving keys on the floor (I’m sure most of you probably don’t even have this same particular problem as me) but it’s a simple illustration of the implementation of a system.

Step 1. Have a problem (in this case, not remembering my clothes were in the washing machine).
Step 2. Come up with a solution (leaving the light on).
Step 3. Work the solution and amend if necessary (changed system to keys).
Step 4. Remember to let people know the system (letting my husband know so that he wouldn’t mess with my system!).
Step 5. Go back to step 3 as often as is necessary.

This five step process is exactly the same simple one that I use for implementing systems in the workplace. Now… I’m off to implement a system that stops me turning the bath on and getting distracted (yes, I’ve had a few floods!).

Kirsty Dunphey is the youngest ever Australian Telstra Young Business Woman of the Year, author of two books (her latest release is Retired at 27, If I Can do it Anyone Can) and a passionate entrepreneur who started her first business at age 15 and opened her own real estate agency at 21. Now Kirsty does lots of fun things which you can read about here. Her favourite current projects are Elephant Property, a boutique property management agency, Baby Teresa, a baby clothing line that donates an outfit to a baby in need for each one they sell andReallySold, which helps real estate agents stop writing boring, uninteresting ads.

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