I discovered the Fly Lady probably at least 5 years ago, maybe more. Despite her ability to motivate thousands of followers to clean and organize their homes, she must have one of the most cluttered, disorganized, and difficult to follow websites in cyberspace. It's a classic case of wonderful women who have an incredible passion for what they do and a commitment to sharing it with the world for free, but lack serious web building skills (I see the same issue with SplitCoastStampers). I find this kind of digital-disorganization to be a huge deterrent for young, busy people who simply want an effective system broken down for them in an easy to follow way.
What's surprising to me is that with all of her faithful followers, apparently no one with amazing digital organizational and/or programming skills has stepped up to help her create a website that's more user friendly and visually appealing. Or, maybe she's just not interested. What do I know.
So, until miracle of miracles happens and FlyLady.net becomes easier to understand than the periodic table of elements, let me see if I can't help break it down for you, using my 5+ years of poking around as a guide! Up first: Baby Steps!
When I first signed up as a Fly Lady member, I mistakenly believed that the answer to what I was supposed to be doing would be found in the daily digest emails. Not so. In fact, unless you could use a little extra motivation and think reading a testimonial or two might help, I would suggest not giving the emails much attention in the very beginning. They can overwhelm you and confuse you into thinking that you should be focusing on a zone, or completing Kelly's missions, or checking off a list of 15+ daily tasks. But as a beginning "Fly Baby" this is NOT the case! The ONLY thing you need to do in the beginning is complete your Baby Steps.
Baby Steps are daily tasks designed to ease you into this crazy cleaning bonanza by creating habits, one by one. For instance, the first Baby Step is to Shine Your Sink. And for every other day of the 31 step series (and for all of eternity), you're instructed to shine your sink. But, in addition to shining your sink, a new task gets added each day. She starts slow. Maybe it's making notes (the beginning of your Control Journal), maybe it's getting yourself ready to be seen by other human beings every morning. The goal is that by the end of the 31 days, she'll have you completing pretty much every task contained in the "Routine" portion of the Daily Flight Plan, all without being completely overwhelmed, like you would be if you tried to do it all from day one.
Let's pause for a moment here and talk about the Daily Flight Plan. This is one of those discombobulated things about the website that drives me nuts. The Daily Flight Plan is kind of a big deal. It's your reminder of what you need to do everyday. But I can't seem to find reference to the primary list anywhere on the website. Instead, it's part of the daily email. I understand that there are probably 2 reasons for this: 1. Because the zones/missions change regularly (more on those later), and 2. Because you should be creating your own routines as part of your Control Journal later on in the Baby Steps. However, I still find it irritating that the basic guideline list isn't a page on the website. But I digress.
For your reference (in case you're new to Fly Lady and haven't signed up for the emails yet), here's what the Routine portion of the Daily Flight Plan looks like:
So, long story short: The end-goal of Baby Steps (as far as I can tell) is to get us to a point where most every task on this on list (or a personalized version we create for ourselves) is part of our daily routine. And because we eased into it over the course of a month, we're not even terribly overwhelmed by the awesome amount of work we've added to our days.
Want to see what's ahead for you throughout the course of the 31 days of Baby Steps without having to click on every.single.day. individually?? Yeah, me too. Thank goodness someone put together a pdf of the full list. You can find it here.