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Thread: The Card System

  1. #1
    Yeah, I'm getting to it.. Zippity's Avatar
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    Default The Card System

    Here's the system I'm using right now--as it currently exists. I'm still expanding and tweaking, but the basics are working pretty well. One thing I'm looking at is cleaning up my CAN by using this, also--recurring tasks will never have to be written and transferred--I just need a card, filed in the right spot.

    All credit where credit's due--the origin of this system goes way back to the SHE (Sidetracked Home Executives) method. Mom had their original book, way back when, but it didn't take. Too many cards. I had their new, streamlined book, but it still didn't catch on with me. It wasn't that the cards were a bad idea, it's that I failed to really make the system mine.

    That's the key, right there--you have to make the system yours. It has to fit the way you think, your house, your helpers or lack thereof, the time you have to clean, and what actually *needs* cleaning.

    So there's my disclaimer, and here's how my card system is set up:

    Materials: 4 x 6 cards in pretty colors, a file box, file card dividers (I use a set of month cards and then I prefer to use the plain dividers so that I can make my own categories.)

    The basics:
    1. I use 4 x 6 photo laminating sheets to laminate these cards. The kids would have destroyed them the first day if I hadn't.

    2. Tasks are grouped on cards according to how I do them. I don't ever just wash the kitchen floors--I do all the downstairs floors at one time. I do the same 5 basic tasks to get my kitchen clean every morning, so they are together on one card. I do the same 6 or 7 tasks to get my bathroom presentable, so they're on the same card.

    3. Ideally, any member of the family should be able to pick up the card and do the job (once trained.) It's not a how-to book--the card should just serve as a reminder.

    4. I intend that once I'm caught up, my daily cards should take 5-10 minutes each to complete. Right now, I give the worst areas 10-15 minutes of attention, max, at one time, and then I call the card done for the day. Same for the weekly cards.
    5. If it's not dirty, don't clean it. Seriously.

    My divider categories:
    1. Daily Minimums. Blue cards. These are for chores that need to happen every day. Some of these cards are: AM Pet Chores, Morning Kitchen Recovery, Tidy Living Room, Entry, and Stairs, Tidy and Swipe Downstairs Bathroom. I pull these cards out in the morning, assign some to the kids, do others myself, assign a couple to DH. When a card is done we put it back behind "Daily Minimums."

    2. This Week/Next Week. Yellow Cards. These are tasks that need to be done roughly once a week. For items that need to be done more than once a week, but will never get done on a daily basis, I just use two cards. I usually choose a day when I have time to clean and power through a bunch of these at once, but it would work just as well to knock a couple of them off each day. When I've finished a card for this week, I put it behind the "Next Week" tab. If I don't finish them all, there is no flogging--I move all the cards back to "This Week" and I start fresh.

    3. A Tab for each member of our household. Pink Cards. These include personal care/morning routine cards that we all have to complete, along with other more personal tasks like "Practice TKD for 15 minutes." I put them out on the counter each morning.

    4. School tabs--one for each kid. Green Cards. I've just started on these. These include some of the most routine parts of our homeschool day, and areas where the kids should be self-directed. One of DS12's cards says "Read for 30 minutes. Record your reading in your log." DS10 has the same card, because it's part of his homework during the year and part of the summer reading program too.

    5. Month tabs. Purple cards. Stuff that needs to be done maybe once a month or every couple months or even just once or twice a year. When I've completed a card, I put it (roughly) behind the month tab when it will next need to be done. I cut hair every 4-6 weeks, so the card gets filed behind the appropriate month tab for that length of time. I clean the furnace filters about twice a year, so once it's done I file it 6 months down the road.
    Last edited by Zippity; 07-14-2009 at 11:12 PM.
    "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

    - Leonardo Da Vinci

    "I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart."

    - Vincent Van Gogh


  2. #2
    Yeah, I'm getting to it.. Zippity's Avatar
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    I'm working on how to address one of my toughest areas with the cards. Meal Planning.

    Behind a "Meals " tab, I am slowly racking up cards that contain descriptions of full meals that my family will eat. The idea is that to do the meal planning for the week, I will just pull a few meal cards and write them on the grocery list. I don't know why, but just the phrase "meal planning" sends me into paralysis.

    At that point, I can file the week's meal cards into my "This Week" section, and move them back to the Meal Planning section once they've been prepared and eaten.

    Also, if I want to try something new, it's easy to make a draft of a card and pop it in "on approval."
    "I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

    - Leonardo Da Vinci

    "I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart."

    - Vincent Van Gogh


  3. #3
    In, Out, Relax yogamom's Avatar
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    I really like your card system. Looks like you put a lot of thought into it.

    I know exactly what you mean about meal planning. I think it's so hard for me because I have too many choices. Plus, it's extra complicated because of food allergies and preferences. Oh, and, of course, the guilt of choosing unhealthy food adds more anxiety. We end up eating the same stuff because I get overwhelmed with all that decision making. The meal planning on cards is a wonderful idea. I'm working on some back-to-school routines (yes, I have to start now) and meal planning is #2 on my list (#1 is homework).

    Thanks for sharing!

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