In this final episode of our Spring CLEANing series we talk about the importance of Naming what matters, what to name, and how it will reduce your workload and increase your free time!

5 Ways to Increase Productivity by Naming; Spring CLEANing Transcript

Welcome to our final episode in the Spring CLEANing series, where we are taking and implementing simple systems. Not to actually clean, dust, and wipe down your house. But to clean up the things around you in a way that you’ve implemented a simple system, so you don’t have to clean as much later. 

If you have less things, and have things put in a way that makes sense, and you’re able to not only organize them, but put them back simply…you just don’t have to clean as often. And things don’t get as messy, so you waste less time putting back all of the things that you don’t really completely need.

So we talked a lot about trying to lessen all of the items around your spaces. Whether it’s at home, in your classroom, even on your phone. Going through and decluttering apps, different files that you have saved there. 

But now we’re getting to the last part. I feel like this should be really dramatic. We’re at the end…dun dun dun…here’s some super big surprise. I don’t think you’re gonna be that surprised. But I’m going to assume that you probably didn’t think of it as being as important as it is.  

So today for the Spring CLEANing series, we’re ending on the letter “N”. And N is for naming. 

That’s right, we’re going to spend today talking about names. Which again, doesn’t sound that important. But it’s completely vital to making sure that you have things that stick in the system that are assigned to the right people. 

Once you give something a name, it’s so powerful. Not only for people and for the world around us, but just for keeping things going back where they should. 

So let’s talk about five different ways that you can use naming to simplify your systems this spring.

Name the Location

The first thing, the most obvious, is to name the location that things are going in. 

We’ve spent all of this time decluttering, donating, organizing, putting things in spaces, arranging them, so that they make sense for us and other people. But fun fact, people are going to put things where they want to put things. Unless you make it so blaringly obvious that they can put it back on their own. 

So we are going to name. That’s right. Get out your trusty label maker, and put a label on it. Make sure that everybody knows exactly where things go. 

And beyond just putting a name on it, especially if you have little kids, include a picture. Include some clipart. Make it so simple. 

What’s great with this is that you can change and move these labels around. But it’s still going to do the same thing. 

So if you had a spot for, let’s say, pens in your junk drawer (because we all have an overflow of pens in the junk drawer), well, when you have a container that’s labeled, and that container starts overflowing, you know that they’re supposed to fit in that container. So you need to get rid of some. It’s already starting to limit what you can do and what overflow you allow yourself. 

But let’s say you had a spot for plates and cups, and now all of a sudden your toddler needs some bigger plates and cups. You need more space to add an extra set of all those things into your cabinets. 

Well, you’re gonna have to shift some things around. A label can be taken off and a label can be put somewhere new. It’s just going to be an identifier for people to help you out. 

And if there’s one thing I want to make sure that you get out of all of this, it’s that you don’t have to do anything alone. But making it super easy for other people makes it easier for you in the long run. 

This is really easy to do with labels around your house. You know where things should go. It doesn’t even have to be like a black and white label. 

I use wet erase markers to go ahead and draw on my pantry containers, or for my kids toy containers around the house. Anything I can use a wet erase marker for that wipes off with water, so it’s not permanent. But it does help everybody identify where things should go. That is super easy. 

But then also at school. I’ve been slowly implementing this throughout the year. But as we set up labs, and as I organize cabinets, I take a picture. You print that picture off, and you show visually what a space should look like. 

This is also probably something that I need to start doing in my home for my kids. Once they feel like they’ve organized something, we’ll take a picture of it. That way they know what it should look like when I ask them to put their laundry away, or when to ask them to clean their room. If they have a set standard proof, a named “this is what it should look like”, then they’re able to clean it up and put it back to the place that it was before. 

Name Your Systems

Number two is you are going to name your systems. You are going to look at all of the systems that you already implement into your day. System that you want to implement into your day and into your regular schedule. You are going to give them a name. 

It doesn’t have to be anything clever. You can say this is my “quick 15 clean”, and I’m gonna get started now. And then you can say, this is my time for meal planning. Those are both systems. 

And once they have a name, and you can tell other people…this is what I’m working on. It makes it more real for them to understand what you are doing that you’re trying to accomplish a goal. 

Then what you’re going to do is create a standard operating procedure, SOP. You need to create a file somewhere that’s accessible for everyone. Title your file with the name of your system, and then write down the basic steps underneath. 

We’re doing this for a couple of reasons. One is so that you can see where you might have some inefficiencies in your own system, or where things might need to be added back in. But also, so that you can hand these things off to somebody else in the future. 

So once you’ve given it a name, and you identify it out loud and other people see that that’s what you’re doing, it makes it so much easier to say, Hey, can you do the quick 15 clean? And if they know what to do, but don’t know all the steps, you hand them the paper and they can take it over for you. 

Name Who Is Responsible

Number three is name who is responsible. You have who is doing it, what they’re doing and when they need to do it. Give them a name and a time and a place. 

If you need somebody else to help you do grocery shopping, you say, here’s our regular list that I buy from, I need you to do that and then pick these things up from the store. You can name somebody else in charge, you’re handing that task off to them. 

And this is something that feels harder to do at school for some reason. Especially in the secondary area. I know that you have classroom jobs all over Elementary, and it works so well. But it feels overwhelming when you have seven or eight classes coming in every single day. Trying to manage who’s actually taking charge and who will actually do the work. But we need to do that. We need to put people in charge of helping us keep things cleaned up. Or hand out papers. Being a go-to person that somebody can ask if they have a question and you’re already busy. 

We can name who is helping with all these different things. And we can rotate those responsibilities. It doesn’t have to stay with one person forever. 

This is a little tricky at home sometimes because somebody might have an activity, somebody might have something that’s going on. 

Or even in school, you have people who are absent all the time, right? 

Well, you need to have backups trained on all of it, too. But that’s where your SOP comes in handy. You already have a list. You already have steps. Taking the time to do that is still going to reduce the things off of your plate later on. 

I will say that sometimes it takes a little extra practice and a little bit of preparation to fully hand things off. 

For instance, my four and six-year-old are currently in charge of putting their own laundry away. And while they’re doing it successfully, it is taking about 45 minutes, a couple of different breaks in between, and also a little bit of fighting as I turn clothes right side out. 

So is there a balance between training and letting them take over? Yes. But it’s so worth it. 

As long as you’re willing to train somebody, and let them feel like they have the confidence to execute in the future, you can hand those systems off to other people. 

Name Your Goals

Number four, you’re going to name your goals. And again, like with systems, we’re not trying to put a fancy cutesy little name on it, unless that’s something that you think is really gonna be motivating to you. 

But you need to name them out loud, or write them down on a daily basis. Because until you do that, it’s just a thought. It’s just a passing, fleeting thing. And you are the only person that ever thought of it. 

Nobody else knows that that is what’s going on in your head. But if you say out loud, hey, I need to go do my workout because my goal is to hit this many miles by August 24, then you have clearly stated what the goal is. 

You’re able to give yourself a reason as to why you’re moving in a new direction. You need it to be something that’s measurable so that you can accomplish it. But just by naming it out loud or on paper every single day, it’s gonna keep it in the forefront of your mind and help you achieve that goal faster. 

And you might say to yourself, what does that have to do with spring cleaning? But remember, we’re here organizing our systems and a lot of our systems resonate around achieving goals that we want to have accomplished.

Name an Accountability Partner

Number five, you need to name an accountability partner. You need somebody who is going to stand up and say, Hey, this is the goal that you told me about and I’m going to keep you on track

Whether it’s something small, like having papers graded every single day before you leave school (that’s not really that small, but it is a goal) and making sure that people you know, they usually talk to you on your plan period, know that you should not be doing that. They can redirect you back to your classroom so you can finish that out strong. 

But also making sure that those people know why you’re accomplishing your goal. Then you need to justify why you’re not working towards it. 

So for example, if you are working on a budget, or you’re working on keeping a decluttered house and you go shopping (which is something I do a lot), then you need to justify why you are going out and purchasing something. 

If you don’t feel like you can text your accountability partner or your just actual partner/spouse the reason why you actually need to bring it home, if you don’t think they’d buy it, it means it’s probably not worth it. 

So having that accountability partner is going to keep you in line for what you need to do. 

Also, maybe you’re trying to get in shape, and you need to text your accountability partner why you’re skipping a workout. Do you think it’s gonna fly? Because if you’re not sure, it’s probably not worth trying to skip it. 

That’s going to help keep you in line for all the different goals that you have. Whether they are personal, school, or home related. And it’s a huge lift off your shoulders that you know, you’re not doing it alone. 

Like everything else we’ve talked about when it comes to systems, it’s not all yours. You don’t have to do it all by yourself. We need to learn to have other people help us accomplish the things that we’re working towards. Because it’s not usually just for us. 

As teachers and parents, we’re usually trying to accomplish these goals for the entirety of our classrooms and our family. And they can help you take responsibility for it. 

Summing Up the Spring CLEANing Series

Through this entire series, we have Cleared, Categorized and Classified all of the things that we see in our everyday life and made sure that we don’t have too much of everything, to make it a bigger mess to put away later. 

We have Let go of things that we don’t need and don’t serve us. And we’re able to do that in our classroom, and at home, but also things in our calendar that are just taking up our valuable time that we’re trying to work so hard at having an availability of. 

Then for E we did an Evaluation of things that we are keeping in our lives and the importance that they have. Whether it’s an object, a person or things on our calendar, and really taking a deep look at what are our important values and what are we trying to strive for. 

In A we Arrange things so that they’re easy to find and easy to access and easy for people to put away. 

And now we are Naming things because you give things a name, other people are able to help you. Whether it’s putting things back where they came from, or accomplishing big goals. 

We are now done with our Spring CLEANing series where we have covered a little bit of everything, hopefully making your life a little bit simpler. Until next time. 

Related Episodes:

49: Spring Cleaning Series, Part 1 – Clear, Classify, and Categorize

50: Extra Credit Strategies for Spring Cleaning Your Counters

51: Simple Steps to Letting Go and Decluttering for Spring CLEANing

52: Extra Credit On How to Start Decluttering

53: Reevaluate your stuff, schedule, and more for Spring CLEANing

54: 5 Simple Meal Planning Tips for Busy Teachers

Ep. 55: Make it Easy to Find; Spring CLEANing your Classroom, Home, and Digital Files

56: Simple Systems for Classroom Paper Clutter


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