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Menial Task // Life management systems Research

I have tried to gather information from several different age groups and familial situations so that Eric and I can narrow down our community of interest. I found it was very easy to figure out what moms do to manage a household and take care of menial tasks, but when it came to men, it was all based in productivity and business related progression. In other words, women are largely concerned with managing the family and work is sort of a lesser concern, whereas men are focused on increasing productivity at work to generate more income. 
As far as the 20-30 year old focus group, they tend to look for life-hacks that streamline their presence on social media into a more effortless sharing process. They should be learning more about how to manage their finances. There are helpful apps for that. But anyway, social media is such a huge part of their lives that they actually need help managing it. And this need will only grow with more platforms arising all the time. This age-group that is going to college often looks for technology to make things like buying books, finding new places to eat, and connecting with friends. 
College students use apps like Cinch Polls to figure out decisions when they can't make one. Which seems petty to me but indecisiveness is a deep seated problem in our society and there are lots of reasons it has gotten worse. There are apps that block your computer from social media when you are working on a project like Self Control. F.lux controls the light on your phone to reinstate your natural circadian rhythm. Buffer is an app that syncs social media accounts so you can pick which time you want to post what where. Venmo is an app that lets you pay your friend back for dinner when the waiter won't split the bill. Square cash does the same things. Shoptagr tracks clothing items you like across any site and notifies you when that item goes on sale. Could be really helpful if you are on a budget. 
Some of the younger moms in this focus group use a lot of apps, probably more apps than anyone I've seen, just for productivity. There are breastfeeding apps like BabyFeed and BabyTracker that track your baby's sleep, poo, and eating schedule so that you don't look like an idiot when you take your baby to the doctor. Which you have to do a lot in the first year. The first year is hard to keep track of. There are also things they use like Anylist and FridgePal to make grocery shopping more efficient. BrightNest asks questions and discovers your interests so if you are sitting down to breastfeed, or whatever, you can easily scroll through things tailored to your interests. Yuggler is an app that finds events to do for you and your kids based on your location, and finally, Ringly (my personal favorite). I don't have one but I want one. It's a ring that connects to your phone and notifies you with a gentle buzz and light based on what sort of incoming message you are getting to your phone. This way, you can be present and mindful in the moment with your child and not have to be distracted by the various social media feeds on your phone. I love anything that promotes mindfulness. 
It's very hard to find any women focused on increasing work productivity without them blabbering on about how they got three drool babies off to daycare and came to work with kool-aid stains on their blouse, but WAIT it's okay bc she remembered to pack her tide pen in her purse. It always seems to downplay the extra work she's doing into some comedic narrative. That this is just the life of a woman and it's normal and it's okay if you make light of it but it's not funny, it's hard. I even found a site that said that the secret to a successful woman was to do home stuff at work (planning for kid's activities, planning meals, etc) and do work stuff at home, and when the kids go to bed, work again. If you have any downtime at all, you should be working or planning or doing SOMETHING productive. Seemed a little harsh. People need downtime. Especially moms.
Stay at home mothers and working mothers do things differently, but really only when it comes to time management. The same type of work gets done, it's just how they break up the work week.  
Finally, I asked some people who are 40, 50+ and discovered that managing menial tasks at this age is already done in habitual forms. But when an individual approaches retirement, often the sharp contrast of work/no work is a bit of a shock to the system. They aren't sure what to do first. It would be helpful for people to start planning for this sort of thing when they are in their 40s, or even 50s so they know what to look forward to and are able to manage time in a productive but blissful kind of way. My stepdad loves to work on odds and ends and do things for people in the neighborhood when they need help, but sometimes he isn't sure what to go discover or what the possibilities of his free time truly are. So, that was a bit off of the topic but relevant nonetheless. 
I think what I'm sort of gathering from what I've looked into so far is that no matter the age or the family situation, people want to streamline these menial tasks so they have more time to discover themselves and their interests and play with their families. 

Here is how Kate Van Fleet manages her schedule:

Crack open a dictionary, look up organized, and you might see a picture of 32-year-old Kate Van Fleet. The southeast Michigan mom of Violet, 8, Mariah, 5, and Annika, 4, has a system in place for all the trouble spots. Getting out the door? Check. Mealtimes? Check. A place for everything and everything in its place? You bet.
All of this legwork pays off. "I want plenty of time for friends, adventures, date nights, and relaxing! I don't want to waste it on ill-run household stuff. Plus, I take pride in my job. I quit my career to be a full-time homemaker, and I want to be as successful at it as I can," Kate says.


7:00 a.m.Everyone up. The girls get dressed and meet me in the bathroom for teeth and hair.
7:15 a.m.Kids eat breakfast. I pack lunches and backpacks. I'm not a big breakfast person, so I'll wait and eat something after my two older girls head to the bus stop, or just stick a granola bar or an apple in my purse for after the gym.
7:30 a.m.Winter gear on.
I use color-coding, so each girl has supplies, folders, and gear in her color. It's easier to keep track of things this way and to travel, which we do often. I always know that pink is Mariah, for example.
7:45 a.m.Older girls head to the bus stop. Sometimes my husband, Chad, walks with them; sometimes they walk with a neighbor.
8:00 a.m.Get my youngest dressed and ready.
8:15 a.m.I get dressed for the gym.
8:30 a.m.Winter gear on, leave for preschool.
8:45 a.m.Preschool drop-off.
9:00 a.m.Gym for me.
10:30 a.m.I shower and get dressed.
11:15 a.m.Preschool pickup.
11:45 a.m.Lunch for me and my youngest.
12:00 to 2:00 p.m.Chores for me. Playtime for my daughter.
I have a chore schedule for myself, so I do whatever needs to be done. My daughter will play in the sink with soapy water and utensils while I clean the kitchen, or she'll help with chores (she likes to sweep the floors or dust). She'll give her bath toys a wash while I clean the bathroom. We love music, so we often blare kids' tunes and sing.
2:00 to 3:30 p.m.Errands around town or a trip to the park, depending on the weather.
3:45 p.m.Pick up my older daughters at the bus stop.
4:00 p.m.Snack.
I have a snack basket in the pantry filled with healthy stuff like raisins, granola bars, freeze-dried fruit, rice cakes, fruit snacks, and fruit leather. When they ask (for the hundredth time!) for a snack, they can get whatever they want out of the basket. Then I'm not making snacks all day. We keep the kid-friendly refrigerated snacks in a certain shelf in the fridge, too.
4:15 p.m.Kids do chores and homework according to age: picking up toys, straightening their rooms, emptying the trash, setting the table, and packing for the weekend (if we're going to visit friends and family or to our cottage).
I want to give my girls a sense of pride, accomplishment, and achievement – of working hard and reaping your rewards. I want them to know that Chad and I are so proud of them for contributing to our household, and that they're an important part of our fantastic family.
5:00 p.m.Make dinner.
5:30 p.m.Eat dinner. I cook every night and we always eat as a family. It's very important to us. I want to instill in my children the importance of a strong home life: dinners together where everyone gets to talk about their day and is heard.
6:00 p.m.Activities (ballet, Girl Scouts, or gymnastics, depending on the night).
It's a logistical tangle! Sometimes the girls have different activities in different places at the same time. My husband and I divide and conquer. Each girl has a little tote bag in the car filled with crayons, stickers, paper, and a snack to keep her busy if she has to wait for her sister to finish a class or activity. I have some moms I can trust, and we help with carpooling or watching each other's kids from time to time.
7:30 p.m.Bath or showers for the girls. I lay out clothes for the morning.
8:00 p.m.In bed with books. We read aloud to the younger two, but Violet reads chapter books to herself every night as part of her homework.
8:30 p.m.Lights out for the kids. My husband I get to relax. We save this time for us – we'll watch a movie or play video games, or I'll read and he'll watch TV.
11:00 p.m.Bedtime for adults.



There is a lot of technology at work here but it isn't specifically lined out. If there isn't, there surely could be some to help. Calendars are very important. I have not used this system yet. I recently purchased a white board with a calendar on it and have started writing our schedule on that, along with meal plans and that has helped a lot. 

During my research I found Ben Franklin's schedule and found it to be really helpful and interesting


considering altering it a bit and trying it out myself. will be back with more later.