When we become parents, time management strategies become more important than ever! Juggling activities and social calendars for ourselves, with our spouse, and for our children can feel like a full time job.
Here to talk about her approach to systemizing the lives of busy parents in order to help us feel more in control of our days with less stress, overwhelm, and burnout is Chelsi Jo.
From the clutter in our homes to our need to always be busy, and the seemingly never-ending tasks on our to-do lists, this episode will tackle all the emotional and tangible strategies you need to create a routine that works best for you and your unique family.
Chelsi Jo (00:00):
If I’m being honest, this is not easy, but it is the system that has allowed us to be so much more connected to the purpose of being parents and being married outside of cooking, cleaning, making money, and getting kids to places where they needs to go.
Dr. Sarah (00:23):
Creating systems and structure in your life can allow you to lighten your mental load, to clear the clutter from your mind, and to be able to more fully enjoy your time here today. To talk about ways that we can get clear on our unique family values so we can prioritize what matters most to us. And also to explain why being intentional with our planning can be the key to balancing it all is Chelsi Jo. Chelsi Jo is the host of the top ranking Systemized Your Life podcast, she’s also the owner of ChelsiJo.co, and the creator of the Systemized Your Life Academy. This conversation I had with her was so transformative because it made me take a look at my own priorities and where I’m devoting my time and attention. And if you are feeling overwhelmed or overworked, I know I am. I really am confident this conversation will be just as eye-opening for you as it was for me.
Hi, I’m Dr. Sarah Bren, a clinical psychologist and mom of two. In this podcast, I’ve taken all of my clinical experience, current research on brain science and child psychology, and the insights I’ve gained on my own parenting journey and distilled everything down into easy to understand and actionable parenting insights. So you can tune out the noise and tune into your own authentic parenting voice with confidence and calm. This is Securely Attached.
Hi, I’m so excited that Chelsi Jo is here with us today to talk everything about systemizing and organizing and prioritizing because as a mom, this is what I need in my life.
Chelsi Jo (02:06):
Yeah, I’m super excited to be here. Thanks for having me.
Dr. Sarah (02:10):
So for people who might not be familiar with your work, can you tell us a little bit about what you do and how you got into all this work?
Chelsi Jo (02:18):
So basically in a nut shell, what I do is I really sit and get into the nitty gritty and the details and the overwhelming amount of things that have to be done for a mom to be able to provide for her family while she still is prioritizing her home and her family, her kids and her marriage, and all the things that she really wants to be able to do, but also wants to be able to make an income and explore her passions and really have time to be good at the things that she’s really gifted at. And the way that I got into the whole thing is because my mom growing up really give her entire life relentlessly to her family and her home, and I love her for that, but I just always saw that she didn’t have that opportunity to really pour into her own gifts.
And it was hard for me. And at one point I thought, well, I never want to have kids because I don’t want that I it to be the or. I wanted it to be the, and I didn’t want it to be this or that. And so I was like, well, I’m just never going to have kids. And then I ended up being a single mom and I had a 15 year career as a sign language interpreter at that point. And I had really made it to the peak of that career. And I started an event-based business doing wedding design and floral design with my mom. She had kind of just gotten out of divorce with my dad, and I was a single mom, so I was having my own stuff to work through. And we did that for an outlet. And then I realized, wow, there’s so much that I can give, but I also have this amazing human that I’m fully responsible for right now.
And I had to figure out how to do both. I couldn’t give up on one or the other because I had spent so much time pouring into my career, and it also was the only option for me to be able to survive and for my daughter to survive. And so I had to figure it out. And then quickly after that, I got married and we had another baby, he’s a firefighter. And I was like, oh my gosh, I have to systemize this. And my brain just automatically thinks of things and systems. And long story short, that’s where my entire method was developed was through that journey.
Dr. Sarah (04:41):
That’s amazing. And I feel like it’s so relatable. I am a working mom. I have two kids. I have two businesses and this podcast. So there is not enough time in my day ever. And I always find that I’m the first thing that gets booted off the up to-do list. Yeah. And I think, I feel like moms are nodding right now as they listen to this being, I know that feeling. So I can imagine that it’s been very well received by women who are like, this is solving a serious problem that I have in my life.
Chelsi Jo (05:19):
Yeah. And it was in my business that I ran with, my mom was so much a side hustle and a hobby that of course we made income, but it was not at the place where it was going to provide for us. And so I knew with my husband’s crazy schedule, a brand new baby, shared parenting time with our oldest girl going to her biological dad’s house. And all of this people are asking me, how are you still going to the gym? How are you still getting your hair done? You look like you have makeup on today. Your house is clean and it doesn’t smell disgusting when I come over. What are you doing? How are you holding it together? And I was like, well, don’t you just do this? Isn’t this what everyone does? And they were like, no, this is not what everyone does.
And I’m like, oh. So then it was all my friends, we were in the same space. Everyone had little kids and I couldn’t help but to help them. I wanted to systemize everything that they were doing because my brain craves efficiency with time and with tasks. And so that’s what I did. And then I was like, I want to start a blog. So I started a blog, and then right after that it was like, no, you want to start a podcast? And so then I started the podcast. And honestly what happened is I was still juggling all those things. I did end up stopping my event-based business because I really wanted to have a quality of life with my family where I could see my kids more often. And it took me outside of the house. It was labor intensive, it was for real, a hard job. And then I juggled it for a while trying to grow that business. And then the pandemic came and people were no longer getting together, so they didn’t need an interpreter. And my hours just tanked. And I was like, well, okay I’m going to do what everybody else is doing right now and I’m going to just totally put all of my time and energy into running this business. And now it’s my full-time gig have over a million downloads and over 600 students in my program. And it’s just been amazing. It’s been so fun.
Dr. Sarah (07:23):
That’s so amazing. And I feel like with those kinds of numbers, you can probably really start to see patterns, patterns in what seems to be time after time, the same issues that women are facing. And I’m just so curious, what have you learned from seeing that much data come in from women?
Chelsi Jo (07:42):
It’s been a lot of data, honestly. And so what my first major focus was, okay, they’re eating up every single episode that I put out on the show that has to do with just keeping up with the house. People have too much stuff. So here’s the data is you have too much stuff in your house and it is literally keeping you from showing up everywhere. You have too much stuff. And so you can’t even navigate a morning routine. You don’t even know, think about a morning routine because you have too many dishes. Why can’t you get your dishes done every day because you have 17 water bottles. Nobody needs 17 water bottles. Why can’t you keep up with your laundry? Because everybody in the house has 42 different bath towels. It’s unnecessary the amount of stuff people have. So that is a huge, that’s a huge part of it.
And I definitely get into that and I teach that. But then the other part of it is just really, really, really poor time management. And one of the biggest parts of that is social addiction and screen time addiction for ourselves and for our children. And I talk about this a lot because it’s what blocks from being able to create the systems that I use. I don’t necessarily have a system for using it or not using it. It’s just everyone. Please be aware that every single screen that you have and every platform that you’re interacting with is designed by the developers to get you utilizing that program and that app as often as possible because that’s how they make money. And so they’ve designed it to be addictive. And I’m sure you could talk a lot about this, right? I mean, it’s actually physiological. There’s chemical releases happening in your brain.
There’s stuff that you don’t even realize is happening until you listen to this podcast and probably plenty of others where you have to put safeguards in place so that you aren’t wasting literally hours every day of your life with screens. Yeah, we can, I could talk about that forever, but that’s the biggest thing that I’ve seen is people don’t know they’re trying to do all of this stuff all day long instead of using my number one system that changed my life, which is time blocking. And that’s made a huge difference for thousands of women that haven’t even gone through my program, but just that have learned my method of time blocking from the resources that I talk about. So those are the biggest things that stand out for sure.
Dr. Sarah (10:16):
Yeah. Oh god. And I’m literally here nodding to all of them. I’m like, I have too much stuff. If you could turn this camera around and see what’s not in the screen, you would see boxes of stuff that, because this used to be our family’s storage room before I turned it into an office during Covid, like Yeah. And we lived in this house for almost five years and we haven’t unpacked it, so we obviously don’t need it.
Chelsi Jo (10:38):
Yeah, no, you don’t.
Dr. Sarah (10:41):
So much stuff. So I really relate to that and having two kids with unlimited amounts of stuff, and even just I think having a sense of appreciation and gratitude for things and how do we teach our kids gratitude? And some of the ways that we live our life, we may not be thinking about how it can interfere with gratitude the immediacy with which packages show up the second we need it, and just the accessibility to stuff all the time in our lives makes it kind of hard to be grateful for the things we have of the noise. And because of the stuff stops feeling special when there’s an unlimited supply of it. And I imagine there’s some overlap in being intentional with minimizing the amount of stuff you have in your home. And also probably a indirect byproduct benefit bonus thing is that there’s a gratitude that can come into play a little bit for what we do have.
Chelsi Jo (11:47):
Yeah, absolutely. We really take for granted, and along with that is the pace. That’s where I see this so much is that we are so addicted to that fast pace because our emotion regulators and our ability to deal with boredom has actually impacted our ability to process information. It truly does impact our children and our ability to actually process information happens when you’re not taking in and we’re always taking in, we want things to be so fast. I don’t even want to go to Walmart anymore. I’d rather just order it from my phone and have it show up. People don’t want to go into the grocery store anymore. They want to order it. They don’t want to have to do the work, and we can have stuff just replaced at any given moment. My mom was like, she’s like the queen of making something of reusing it and keeping it until it literally will not work anymore because we just didn’t have the money.
We had to function like that. But even on top of that, it’s not like it was all that easy to just go out and get a new washer or a new dryer and Home Depot didn’t deliver it. You had to have a husband with a truck, with a dolly, with other male friends to do the thing. There was just so many things that made life so much slower then than the way that it is now. And that has built to built up this constant needs to be doing something, constantly thinking and adding to the to-do list. The number one complaint that I get is I, my to-do list never ends. It’s ongoing and it never ends. And that’s the whole other piece of the person that I help. It’s like you’re not just trying to manage your home and be a stay-at-home mom, which if you are awesome, but 95% of them are not.
They’re either homeschooling their, they’re doing something outside of just taking care of the kids in the house. They’re either homeschooling them or they’re volunteering at the school or they’re running a side hustle or they have a full blown career that they work nine to five outside in corporate. They’re always doing something else. It’s always there. And so that’s the whole other realm of it is how do you really get into what I call your work block, do your work, turn off the brain, close the laptop, and go back to your life and not have all of that swimming around with each other all day long. That’s really where the magic starts to happen.
Dr. Sarah (14:20):
Oh God. And I imagine I, I think where my work and my work overlap because I am not a time I have a ADHD, time management has never been something I’m good at, but I am deep in the world of people who feel burnt out, flooded over stimula, depressed, anxious, just completely paralyzed by the amount of stuff in their minds. That’s what I do. And I do believe some of the work is really in parallel. It’s, I often will often say what is in our minds and our bodies manifests outside of ourselves in our lives physically.
My head sometimes is a very disorganized jumble of thoughts because that’s the way my brain works and my desk is a disorganized jumble of papers because that’s the manifestation of the way that what’s in my head kind of shows up in life. And I’ve had to get really good at systems and workarounds to make my neurodiverse brain fit the world and the work that I do. But the other thing can be said too, when the outside world is chaotic, busy, full, loud, noisy, that ends up kind of getting it’s chicken or the egg. So that ends up creating what’s inside of our internal experience as well. And when the outside environment is calm, clean, organized, and I don’t mean you need to be Marie Kondo perfect. Who by the way, just came out saying as a mom of three, she now doesn’t care how dirty her home is or how messy it is. I was like, oh, right. But the idea, you doesn’t have to be perfect, but how the energy of our home impacts our internal experience too. There’s a back and forth between our inside and our outside.
Chelsi Jo (16:19):
Yeah, absolutely. So my big kind of like this visual that I always describe as that whack-a-mole game that you know play whenever you go to wherever kids go to play arcades. Now we go to fat cats. I don’t know if they have those everywhere, but that the whack-a-mole at fat cats. I’ve played it all my life. And it’s so, so true that that’s what you’re doing all day long is you’re putting out fires that really, honestly, your own actions created. Because so many people either don’t know how or are resistant to creating systems. For me systems, sure there are routines built in and it may sound rigid, but it is the key to your freedom. It is the key to you being able to unlock this life of truly being in control of your thoughts, your habits. My husband’s grandfather always said, where your thoughts go, your feet will soon follow.
And it’s so true, and there’s really hard to think clearly about what you’re going to get done today when all you see is weeks and months and probably even years of life undone in your home and in your work. And so it leaves women feeling incredibly discouraged about their capabilities, about what they really could amount to, it’s what they think life actually looks like. It may be what your life looks like right now, but that was my mission, is to let every woman know that you don’t have to choose. This isn’t what life has to look like. We weren’t taught these things. No one, one prepares a mom for what life is going to be like. And I will never forget. I will always remember when I finally felt like I got my feet underneath me about three months after having my first kiddo and maybe the six or nine, nine month mark. And I was like, okay, we might be doing this. And then she changed again and I was like, what? This is what this is?
Dr. Sarah (18:34):
Yeah. Talk about whack-a-mole.
Chelsi Jo (18:35):
What the hack, there’s no consistency. As soon as you figure them out, they change. And that happens so much faster in the beginning when they get older, it doesn’t happen as quickly. But I just got blindsided by my daughter. She started talking about some crush at school and I was like, where? What’s happening? I don’t know. We were here. What are we doing? And so as they get older, I’ve just forgotten how change is still coming. It just looks different. And so I’m always looking at how to shift routines, how to shift my systems and making sure that I’m adapting and really running my ship. I get to run my ship now. I get to run my business well, and I get to run my ship and feel like I actually know what the heck I’m doing. I know where all of my pieces are at all times.
I know what puzzle pieces don’t fit in my day, which ones if I try and put that in, we’re going to have a thousand fires. That’s not going to work out well. So it’s a matter of being able to pull out and zoom way, way up to the 10,000 feet mark, look down globally at your life and figure out where is, what is that domino that tips all of the other dominoes? What is the biggest problem that you’re having right now? And just forget about everything else. Everyone’s always like, I don’t know where to start. Well, what is the one thing that would impact the most change with just that one system? Just the one thing. And you would be surprised at how much bandwidth and relief you can create with just implementing even one system.
Dr. Sarah (20:15):
Yeah. I’m curious when you work with parents and families to kind of identify that one big thing, is it always the same thing or is it different for everybody?
Chelsi Jo (20:24):
Different for every family, but I will say most of the time it starts with sleep, is everyone getting to bed on time? And so then they think, oh, well I need to fix the bedtime routine. And I’m like, no, you don’t. Why aren’t you getting to your bedtime routine on time? So then we peel it back and we’re always peeling this onion to find out what’s at the core of this problem over here. It’s just like a body, right? You get all these symptoms. We can’t cover up the symptom we actually have to go. It’s to where the problem really is. And the problem is is that you’re trying to cook dinner at seven o’clock when you really needs to have your kids in bed. That’s when you want them to be in bed and then they’re tired and you don’t have a handle on your afternoon.
And then we work through a lot of the pushback with a lot of moms, but I don’t get home until this time or my kids have 14,000 extracurricular activities, or maybe they just have two. And that’s really hard. We work through all of the things and I try and help people understand that you really do get to craft the life that you want. And if this is not what you want this season right now to look like with your kids, guess what? They still can get all of the opportunity that you have ever wanted them to have. Even if they don’t do four extracurriculars this week, this next 12 weeks, can we just look at what 12 weeks of your life changing that? Or the next four Saturdays, can we look at how you can just go ham for four hours every Saturday for four weeks and figure out how to declutter your house? It’s just little things. It doesn’t have to be forever. It can just be for a short time.
Dr. Sarah (22:00):
And I think in general, do you speak about the overscheduling? And I have a lot of thoughts on this and I might be in a minority, but I think our obsession in our society with achievement and experience and enrichment is it’s so comes from such a good place, but I think it misses some of the most critical steps along the way. People jump straight to, I want my kid to have as much opportunity as they can so that they have lots of opportunities in life later for achievement and whatever. And I actually think that slowing down in childhood, giving kids space to play, to do less, to be bored, to learn, to tolerate the frustration of boredom because that’s where so much creativity comes from the other side of boredom and having a tolerance for that feeling is just so important for mental wellness in life. And they don’t need to play an instrument and do a language and have three sports and do a craft session and have play dates in a week to have right enrichment and achievement focus. I think I’m a big fan of actually auditing and us too. It’s not healthy for a family to be constantly on the move.
Chelsi Jo (23:34):
And it’s really interesting now how I’ve started to see this trend. Two things. First of all, people really do believe that the reality is what they see virtually. And it’s really kind of shifted in not a great way to where we don’t, we’re trying to block off the reality of what we actually are tangibly experiencing every day because it’s so much hard work. And so we’re constantly looking for inspiration and aspiration through this virtual world and community that we’ve created for ourselves via these little tubes and our interwebs and our phones and whatnot. And that’s really unfortunate. And I think along those lines, when we overschedule and we’re constantly trying to produce that not only for ourselves but so much for our kids, they lack that connection that they need to actually mature, that they are children learn from us everything that they do, whether or not we’re teaching them or they’re seeing that.
And so those emotional regulators that I talk about so much often people say, well, how are your kids so well behaved? And I’m like, well, I give them the opportunity to process. They have enough time to process their life. They have enough time to understand what these emotions are instead of just always being on the go. And I think that emotional intelligence for me, no one could convince me otherwise that what’s going to make them the most successful. Especially I keep telling people, if you want your kids to have a leg up in the world that they are growing up in, give them the ability to slow down, think for themselves, regulate their own emotions. That is how literally come up with creative solutions to problems. That is how you’re going to give your kids a leg up in the world because no one’s teaching their kids that anymore.
And none of them have the opportunity to learn it. And so it’s like that now is what I’m seeing as the trend is luxury, is to be able to have time for things and being able to say, I’m unplugged is this fancy thing that only the wealthy can create because now they’re able to step away from the hustle and the bustle, which I don’t think is true, but it’s what we are seeing. And I think it’s what people are allowing that to be created when it’s like, you know what, just put your phone down. Don’t we have one TV in our house and we all have to agree on what the heck we’re going to watch together because there’s one tv if we can’t agree, we don’t watch. Let’s find something else to do. And I think it’s just those boundaries are hard. It’s also really, really hard for families to be able to manage all of that when there aren’t systems in place, it just becomes too much to do.
Dr. Sarah (26:39):
I agree. And just as a clinical psychologist who specializes child development and parenting and that intersection of mental health for both parents and children, every single thing you just said, I a hundred percent endorse what is the most predictive of psychological wellness and resilience in our kids is emotion regulation, emotional intelligence, tolerance for all the feelings and a appearance or some type of external system that can help a child regulate until they can internalize those skills for themselves, that is so much more important than karate lessons and can tutoring a million times more important.
Chelsi Jo (27:24):
I know. What’s interesting, I just read a study that said that this is why, and then the article was titled so perfectly about why we always get our best ideas in the shower. And it’s because we’re not stimulated. Our brain is able, it’s doing nothing. It’s actually able to process. And that’s where our creative juices come from. That’s when we retain information, that’s when we’re actually able to process. And then it started talking about the effects on children with this because they do not have the ability because of those screens and because of the constant stimulation. And so that’s when I was ski and we had already, my kids don’t have tablets, we have them, but my kids don’t have tablets. I literally took everything off that was changing their behavior. I could see this is changing, their behavior we’re done, YouTube’s gone. It’s gone. It’s gone. And then they were like, this is boring, this sucks. I don’t lo why? What am I going to do with this? I’m like, don’t use it. Go find something else to do. But that’s when I was like, oh my goodness gracious.
And so then we had to put systems in place to be able to fill that and transition them off of the current system that we had because, and here’s the other thing, for every single person that’s like, oh my gosh, she keeps talking about systems. I am not rigid. I am not a type A personality. She probably is, which I am. But besides the point that’s like my gift. So this is what I do, this is what I do with my life. But every single person has a system. It’s either working for them or it’s not you. I mean, there is a system there. You have a system, you either created it on purpose or you created it, it created itself. And now you are right winging it, but
Dr. Sarah (29:13):
To it, right? Cause I think if people replace the word systems with habits, they’d realize, oh, I have habits.
Chelsi Jo (29:19):
Yeah, good or bad.
Dr. Sarah (29:20):
I have patterns of behavior. I do the same thing all the time and can’t seem to get out of that rhythm. That’s a system. It’s just a different word for it. And I think what you are sort of presenting is a system is something that’s intentional. It has a layer of conscious decision making that geared towards improving a problem.
Chelsi Jo (29:45):
Yeah. It’s mathematical. It’s mathematical in my brain.
Dr. Sarah (29:48):
Yeah. It’s interesting because I do think brains are so different. Obviously your brain is probably super different than my brain because I should really struggle with that. And yet what I have found in my life, being a person who I spent a million years in school, I’ve had to figure out how to be way more cognitively efficient than my brain wants to be and cognitively organized than my brain wants to be. And I did that with systems. I just didn’t know that’s what I was doing until I actually took a look and said, oh, I do have a system for this. Some of my systems work and some of them don’t. Like the one where I would write all my papers, all nighters before the paper was due in grad school, like that was a system. It just doesn’t really benefit my physical and mental health.
Chelsi Jo (30:39):
For sure. And that’s what I have come to love is saying, this is a proven system that works for you if you are trying to juggle kids, a family marriage or not, and a job and making money or volunteering like a boss. If you’re trying to make those two things work in your life, there are literally proven systems that I’ve already tested. I tested on my family and I realized, oh my gosh, this is really working. This is really helpful. And the way that they came to be was me literally just painfully begging my husband, asking him, come here, I need you to tell me. And I would get whiteboards out and we would sit in our bedroom. This last week was a hot mess. It was terrible. We argued we were late, we spent way too much money. And the little week before that was amazing. What was different? What’s your ideal week? And we did that for so long and I just would say, okay, let’s try it this, let’s do this week this. And we would get through it and it would be a slight improvement or something wouldn’t work at all. And I just refined it over and over and over again until we got something that is such a well-oiled machine. I don’t even think about it anymore.
Dr. Sarah (32:03):
So teach me a little bit about your system. I’m curious because I probably need it in my life but also I hear a lot of people listening do too. And so what are some of the, what’s something that we could try this week or do?
Chelsi Jo (32:19):
Yeah, okay. Well, so here’s the one that, and I can have you guys link a workbook to this. It’s free and it helps you identify what your core needs are. And we approach these systematically, I call them my fundamental needs. My husband and I coined them the great eight and it’s eight that we do every single week. We have them static in our calendar and they repeat every single week. And so we prioritize those eight things over everything else in our life, all of them, all of the time. Now, do we always get to all eight of these? No. And you’re probably wondering what are they? So let me tell you what these eight tasks are. There is a to-do task, which means I set aside an hour or two hours for my home. So everything that I have to get done in my home, number one big disclaimer, all this is a hundred percent separate from business.
I do not mix my business life with my home life. They’re very separate for the most part. I’m not perfect at this. My life looks exactly like yours. Sometimes it’s messy. But the intention behind it is to always keep them separate. So I have a to-do and that’s like I got to go get light bulbs or I have to go to the mailbox or whatever, something random. I got to call the dentist. These random to-dos that we have. Then we have date night. So we put a date night on the calendar and then we have a cleaning to do, which I do a zone cleaning that helps me. I’m still cleaning my own house. It’s a real thing. Hopefully that won’t be for much longer, but I just can’t give it up. I love it so much. It’s such quality time with my kids. But lately I’m like, this is a really easy thing to outsource.
I’m all about that too, to do date night cleaning. And then we have family fun. So we put a block of time on our calendar. We actually schedule it every single week. We used to do it on Mondays and now we’re going to try and do it on Fridays because our kids are getting older and they really like going out. They’re 10 and well, 11 and six. But we took ’em out on Friday night and they were like, this is so much fun. And then actually one of my fundamental needs is to get a work walk in. And so right now I know for me to be able to run my business, I need 20 hours a week. And so I need to before everything else, these eight things. And one of them is making sure that I have 20 hours a week for work.
The other one is the gym. And that work could also just be personal. When I first started out, I was interpreting and that wasn’t my work block, it was my personal time, which was what I use to be able to grow this podcast and this company and all those dreams. The other one is gym, and then there’s feel food prep, meal planning, food prep, all of that. And then the last one that I always forget is my Sunday sit down, my weekly planning. I always forget that one, which because it’s just so ingrained in what we do. So weekly planning is where we sit down once a week and we literally hash this out. Everything that’s static in the calendar. Say we had date night on Friday night, say we had date night on Wednesday night, but because of his rotation, he’s actually at the fire station on Wednesday.
So we wouldn’t be able to do that. We’d move it to a different day. So we sit and we look to make sure that our calendar is tidy, that like this. Today we, my kids have a school carnival and so that’s our family fun for the week. And so we just added that little note in there that that’s what we would be doing. And we recycle these things and on our Sunday sit down, we also go over our financial goals. He lets me know if there’s anything on his end that he needs for the week. It’s just kind of like this little minute to get together. It takes us about 15 minutes. We zip through that and those are the eight things we do systematically do every week.
Dr. Sarah (36:07):
I love that so much. And one of the things that I actually love the most about that is that you and your partner come together. And I imagine that takes such a huge mental load of parenthood off of one person and allows it to be placed more equitably between two people. Just even if you don’t divvy up all the tasks evenly, that’s not what equity is. Equity is everyone doing what they need to do and that’s determined by the needs of the family and the needs of the individuals. But the idea that both people are coming together and taking sort of responsibility for knowing and planning and holding in our minds what the week’s going to look like, that really is a very progressive, I love that.
Chelsi Jo (36:57):
And one of the major pieces of pushback that I get from a lot of people is, my husband would never do that. Like, this is me. How do you get your husband to do this? And I will say that my husband is insanely supportive, but he’s a normal dude. He’s a normal, he’s completely normal. This is not his favorite thing in the world to do. It’s really not. I do most of the encouraging and the enthusiasm and that calendar that I’m talking about, it’s a shared calendar. He sees it on his phone, I see it on mine. Did he do that before we got married? Absolutely not. My husband now, after seven years of doing this, has full autonomy. He doesn’t have to ask permission. He doesn’t have to ask where are we going? When are we doing this? Can I go golfing? He doesn’t have to do any of that because he’s in full control of his own schedule with his family and we team up to do it together.
It’s a lot of work. And I don’t have some unicorn marriage by any means or husband. He is very supportive and loves his family to death. But again, I have been so committed to this system and have believed in it. I’ve just been relentless. A lot of patience, a lot of waiting, a lot of, will you please a lot of, Hey, I asked for this. Hey, remember we put this in the calendar. A lot of redirection and redirection and redirection. And a lot of arguments too, if I’m honest. This is not easy, but it is the system that has allowed us to be so much more connected to the purpose of being parents and being married outside of cooking, cleaning, making money and getting kids to places where they need to go. We really feel like we’re able to have the family that we want because of it.
Dr. Sarah (39:01):
That’s amazing. And I think that that’s a good enough reason to give it a try. Yeah. And I think also it kind of creates an intrinsically rewarding system. I think once you realize doing this work and it is work and no, and I think we have to call it what it is. It’s work to plan this stuff out. But when you’re frontloading the work in that way, what you do is you create less work on the backend, which gives you more freedom. And that’s a pretty rewarding outcome, which makes the work. It reinforces the desire to put the work in on the front end. So even just getting partners on board who are a bit resistant, I think if they start doing it, they’ll quickly see the benefit of doing it. My husband and I have we meetings on the calendar, regularly scheduled meetings just to talk about the family plan and we share a calendar.
And it sounds like there’s some strategies that I could do to make that even more effective for our family. And I’d love the idea of actually putting on the calendar. We always say we work so that we can have time and resources to be with our family, but then we don’t put the family time on the calendar and it’s happen. And so I think sometimes you have to put what you value on the calendar. Absolutely. And work everything else around that, not the other way around. And I think that that’s a really smart way. I love that you have that. That’s really embedded. That’s the core foundation of a lot of what you’re talking about. I love that.
Chelsi Jo (40:38):
And that was, these came from, why was this week terrible? I have this probably it’s a problem, this severe need for my husband to be happy, which does, he can be happy and that he can be unhappy and I can still be happy. I understand that. I’m working on that. And when we first got married, I very much was like, what do you need to be happy? I mean, I still don’t like that, but it’s very different. And I was like, how many times a week do you need to go to the gym? What do you need? Tell me so we can prioritize this because your kids will suck your life away. And in a blink, the day’s done between your job and your kids, it’s over. It’s like you really have to make sure that this stuff happens. And I want to say that you totally hit the nail on the head. It’s like front loading the work. But because so many people are like, oh, that sounds like so much work. How much work are you doing right now? You are working so much harder and it’s producing crap. It’s not producing anything good. You don’t like what it’s producing at all. You’re going to love what this produces. And it is work. It takes discipline. And discipline is a great thing to teach yourself because that’s where your kids are going to learn it. And I’m all about it.
Dr. Sarah (41:55):
I think it’s important to emphasize that yes, it’s work and it creates an intrinsically rewarding system. Absolutely. That makes things feel less like work. And there’s a ton of value in that. It sounds like once you get it rolling, it doesn’t feel like as much work to maintain it. And the freedom that you get from not spinning your wheels all the time with inefficient systems can actually make you feel like you’re working less.
Chelsi Jo (42:20):
Yeah. We have what feels like quite a bit of time and I feel like we, our life seems basic and it seems simple, but
Dr. Sarah (42:37):
We have quality. There’s so nothing wrong with that. I feel like people are like, I would what I wouldn’t give for a simple basic life and turned down the noise and turned down the commotion.
Chelsi Jo (42:50):
I really, I became super comfortable with how uncomfortable I was transitioning to these eight things are all that matter. That’s it. It’s okay that I’m going to clean my house and I’m going to tell my friends no that want to go have a play date. Sorry, the answer’s no. I have to work 20 hours because I want to grow my business and that’s where I’m at. And so you’re my friends and you’ll text me and be fine with it and we’ll schedule a date to see each other or not. I’m the black sheep of my family really. My siblings are not, my brothers not like me. Other people, my family aren’t really like me, my other friends. Culturally I’m a little bit different. And I just decided that what I wanted in my household and what my husband and I wanted was worth being a little different. And that was going to make me uncomfortable for a while. But now I’m like, this is awesome. This is great.
Dr. Sarah (43:49):
Yeah. Cause you’re moving in alignment with yourself and your values and you’re building a family that lives out. What feels good to your family? And obviously it’s going to look different for everyone. It’s not really about us. Everybody adapting to Chelsi Jo’s values of course, and Chelsi Jo’s pace. It’s about Chelsi Jo figuring out what works for you and your family and then everybody else doing the same so that everyone’s moving in alignment with themselves, the rhythm of their family. And that’s why I think this is important because I think I keep bringing up brains, but my brain’s different than your brain. And everyone listening probably has really different goals and paces that they’re comfortable with and the ways that they do and don’t think about structures and systems.
And this is kind of how I think about parenting. This is why I’m like, I don’t really love to give people prescriptive scripts and rules to follow and parenting because the reality is what works for me in this one moment with my one child in what I said. Exactly. It just doesn’t necessarily translate to your kid and what’s going on with in that moment. So instead, I like to teach frameworks. How do you understand the building blocks of the attachment relationship? How do you understand the building blocks of brain development and emotion regulation? And like we were saying, building out gratitude or building out, which is what I actually think leads to achievement. What’s the framework for that so that everybody can take that framework and apply it to their unique family, their unique situation, their unique needs of their moment. So I like that you teach frameworks rather than a rigid set of rules.
Chelsi Jo (45:49):
And that’s the point is to be able to take a system and adapt it into your life. And that is the point of a system is for it to be able to fit what your needs are within your family. I love that.
Dr. Sarah (46:04):
Yeah, I love that. Oh, this is amazing. So if people want to learn more about the work that you do or you know how to work with you, how can they find you? Can they, and we’ll put a link to the workbook that you mentioned too in the show notes. Yeah. So people can take a look to look at that.
Chelsi Jo (46:20):
The workbook actually helps you understand what your grade eight or fine nine or significant seven or Fab five might be for your family. You can use mine. They’re great. A lot of people love ’em. Kind of like the basics of a quality of quality life, but you can use whatever you want. And so the workbook will definitely give you that framework. Chelsijo.co is where you, that’s my website. But you can come over and listen to me on my show. Systemize Your Life is the name of my podcast and there are a lot of episodes that go in depth on all things systemizing your time and task management in home and business.
Dr. Sarah (47:04):
Oh, amazing. Well, we’ll have to give that a listen, and thank you so much for coming on. This has been lovely talking to you and very enlightening. I’m going to have to rethink some things.
Chelsi Jo (47:14):
Thanks for having me.
Dr. Sarah (47:20):
One of my favorite things about this conversation with Chelsi Jo is that even though we were on the surface talking about systems and organizational strategies, what we were really talking about and what kept coming up over and over as you peel back the layers, is the importance of emotional intelligence. Helping our children to learn to process the full range of emotions is such an important key to healthy mental wellbeing.
(47:46):And that is why I created a free guide, Fostering Resilience from Birth, to help you make some simple and easy changes in your interactions with your child to build their distress tolerance, increase their growth mindset, and strengthen their self-esteem. In this free guide, you’ll learn four pillars of building resilience that are already a hundred percent within your control and the impact that implementing these simple behaviors can have on your child. To download fostering resilience from birth, go to drsarahbren.com/resilience. That’s drsarahbren.com/resilience. Thanks for listening and don’t be a stranger.
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