The Remarkables Group founder and author Lorraine Murphy (above) has a new book launching, Baby, You’re Remarkable (Hachette Australia, 2019). It follows her journey becoming a family and draws on her own experience, as well as the experiences of others, to provide a guide to running a business with a new family.
To look after your wellbeing, your family’s and your career or business, thinks Lorraine, you need “life systems”.
In business, she notes, systems enable growth. A complaints’ system, for example, allows a business owner to hand over the reins to the system, knowing the customer will be looked after appropriately, and leaving the owner free to concentrate on other areas of the business.
Families, like a business, need systems to grow. Goal setting, resource planning, the tedious but essential budget, communication between players, these are all important aspects of the system.
Sharing your calendars is one way to begin building your system together.
Calendar sharing lets you check in with what’s happened, what’ happening and what could happen.
We use systems because they provide consistency and security. They also reduce stress, save time and energy. The big tip from Lorraine is a calm productive morning produces a similar day and to achieve this, prepare as much as you can the night before… and get up before the rest of the family.
For example, she recommends allocating yourself ‘me’ time and personal headspace. Why? Because it means you will meet the day in the right frame of mind. If you look after yourself first it helps the demands of the day feel less like onerous obligations.
One of the appealing tasks Lorraine sets is to plan your perfect week – Monday to Sunday, inclusive of work but with only yourself in mind for the remainder of the plan. Then, she says, come together and see what can be achieved when each member of the family’s perfect week is in play. Where can you each compromise so that everyone reaches a happy median.
Enlisting help in the home and caring duties, including that of your partner, family members or outsourcing, is important. Having an equal share in home and caring duties is a positive for everyone. If you have the funds to outsource certain duties and it makes sense, then do it.
Another strategy is to reduce how much stuff you have. Recycle, reuse, repurpose - it’s good for the environment and your headspace. It reduces personal worry, cleaning, and the amount of maintenance you’ll need to do.
Keep your world small. She recommends reducing the commute to work if you can, either every day or by working flexibly a percentage of the time. Pick childcare that is close and develop a network around you with which you can share certain duties. Shop local.
If all this sounds overwhelming, Lorraine counsels, don’t try it all in one go. Pick some quick wins, incorporate them into your routine and work your way through the strategies until you have your perfect system that works for you, your family and your work commitments.