Joanne is the proud mum of two year old Maggie and founder of Systematic Homes. She found becoming a mummy at 40 for the first time to be exhausting but amazing, and it was this and wanting to work as much as she could around Maggie, that was the driven force behind Systematic Homes.
Although she’s always had a passion for being organised and had wanted to start a business in organising and decluttering, the time had never felt quite right. Joanne had spent much of her career working with children and their families - supporting them and helping them organise their lives, running parenting courses as well as offering support and guidance on a one to one basis. Joanne has also worked in estate agents and has a keen eye for detail. Whatever she puts her mind to organisation is the key, and she loves nothing better than a list or plan of action!
Joanne launched Systematic homes in April 2017 and has loved sharing the calmness that getting organised and decluttering a home can bring to someones life.
So let’s meet Joanne and find out a bit more about how she finds time out for herself while also running a successful business.
Joanne, what’s your favourite thing to do in Hitchin with your family?
We love walking, so a nature walk in Wymondley woods is a must. It’s great having so many fabulous walks on our doorstep. We also enjoy The Secret Garden on Sun Street, I enjoy a coffee while Maggie plays.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m usually up just after 6am so that I’m showered and ready when Maggie wakes up. Its then the normal getting breakfast and ready for nursery rush with a coffee, sometimes two. I am, as you would expect, always super organised so have both our bags ready for the next day and my diary out. I always look at my diary first thing and have a to do list with it. This makes it easier for me to see what the day holds and keep things calmer, as my mind is free of all the stuff I have to do. After nursery drop off its all about Systematic Homes.
I might be visiting potential clients where we discuss what they are looking for and see if I can support them on their journey to a clutter free life. This is totally free & there is no obligation to take up my services. Or I may be working with a client to get organised. I love the feeling people get when they start to clear stuff out. I can sometimes see a weight being lifted off their shoulders. One client recently said to me ‘I couldn’t do this on my own, having you is helping to take the emotion out of it’. Another part of my day might be brainstorming ideas for the business. I’m constantly thinking of how I can help people get more organised and so I’ve recently decided to set up some offers called Systematic Christmas. We all know what a busy, stressful time Christmas can be and so these offers will start in September and will help people have a more organised and relaxed Christmas.
There is then, of course, all the usual house and family chores to keep on top off. I pick Maggie up at lunch time and she usually has a sleep after a cuddle and a few stories. I then catch up with work emails and phone calls. Once Maggie is up we head out to a friends, the park, or Little Rascals, which is great to let off a bit of steam. Then its getting ready for dinner and the bedtime routine.
How do you unwind after a busy day?
My evenings are often spent catching up with emails, texts, ironing, all the things you don’t get done in the day. But my weekends are different, I love a beer or a glass of wine, some trashy TV and catching up with my boyfriend Jim, and friends. I love reading a good book, and in the week I try to settle down at about 9.30pm to unwind. I am currently reading “The One by John Marrs, which I would highly recommend. It’s a fabulous read.
What is your biggest source of mum guilt?
Being on my phone! I use my phone and social media for work, and it’s too easy to keep saying ‘just a minute’ to Maggie instead of giving her my full attention. As I’m just getting my business up and running I feel a pressure, my own pressure, to respond straight away to emails and messages. Recently we were away and I didn’t have my phone on me. It was so lovely and refreshing to really take a break from it.
What are the important things that you make time for, for YOU each week?
Catching up with my mummy friends is a must. It’s great to hang out with people who are at the same stage as you in life, they really get the highs and lows of parenting.
Time with Jim is important to me. We love listening to music and catching up on each others weeks.
I have also recently started doing some personal training sessions with Alice Poole from Boost Studio. I’m absolutely loving it. I love the extra energy I have and how much fitter I feel. It can be so hard to get some time for you when you have so many things to juggle, but I think as a parent finding something that gives you some head space and time to switch off is a must or you will burn out.
It really is hard to find time for yourself though as a mum and that’s one of the reasons my business gives me a real buzz. Hopefully by helping people get their homes in order I’m freeing up time for them to spend on other things, like themselves. I’ve started doing Systematic Homes vouchers too so people can also actually give the gift of time to someone else!
Where are your favourite places in Hitchin for some me time?
I love the Victoria Pub. The food and drink there is amazing and you always get a friendly welcome. If it’s sunny the beer garden is perfect. It’s great for a date night, girly catch up or a family Sunday lunch.
Another of my favourites is Haelan Therapy. I got to try some of their taster sessions and could not get over the feeling of relaxation that lasted for days. I would recommend the transformational massage or Indian head massage.
Do you have any mum hacks to create a bit more time for yourself?
Top of my list is get organised! Get a good diary or family planner with a to do list. Being organised is the best way to save time. You save time looking for things in the morning, trying to remember things, feeling overwhelmed & rushed and you get to relax properly once you know you are on top of things. There is a very famous quote by Benjamin Franklin that I’d love to share. It’s so true! “For every minute spent organising an hour is earned”
If you had a week with with no work, child care sorted and money was no object, what would you do with that week and who with?
It would either be a romantic weekend with Jim in a little hotel or cottage, with good food & drink, or a weekend with all my family. I am blessed to be part of a big Irish family who love spending time together. I’m lucky as my sister and her family live in Hitchin so it’s easy to get together. We would need a big hotel for all of us, but we would definitely have lots of fun!
Thanks for talking to Hitchin MumMe Time Joanne!