Each year, when I look back on what I have accomplished, I tend to become my own worst enemy.

By reducing the value of what I did.

By minimising the work and effort my projects took.

By playing small.

Since I know this tendency well (it hits me once every so often), I know how to fight it.

I usually write down a DONE LIST of all the things I have accomplished – even the little ones like writing 52 blog posts each year (see how I added the word ‘little’ to that accomplishment?! Seriously!)

So I often get asked this question:

‘How do you do it all?’

My simple answer is: I just do it. Oh, and I delegate. Oh, and I have systems.

Systems are the modern woman’s most important weapon.

Systems are the key to organization and decision making Without systems, we would just implode (or explode). And I see so many career women running around like Sarah Jessica Parker in the movie, I Don’t Know How She Does It, trying to do it all.

But in order to do it all and have it all, you first need to know what it is that you want. What does doing it all and having it all really mean to YOU?

Define Outcome (DO).

Like Parker’s character does at the end of the movie. Think meaning versus image of perfection. You don’t have to measure up to anyone else’s idea of an ideal life (wife, mum, boss, employee, daughter etc.).

Prioritize.

That’s the framework of your system. Priorities are based on your values. Do you know what they are? Define them!

While you may want many things, if you had to narrow them down: your main one or two goals this year, your top 3 priorities this week (not more!). These change over time so don’t worry, you’re not making a lifelong commitment here!

Systemize.

You have defined what you want, you’ve prioritized what’s most important, now look at all the things you do and try to find out what you can turn into a system. Organizing and creating systems in this way frees up time and energy to focus on what is most meaningful in your life. This is the foundation of a house. Without it, the walls just crumble.

Let’s take a birthday party for your kids as an example. Yes, you want to do it perfectly, giving you’re kids a different and amazing experience each time.

Again, define and prioritize: What do you want?! What is really important?

And then: What is standard every time? What can you turn into a system?

  • The invitation: only change the image each year depending on what the kid is into
  • The games: they love to play the same games every year and you can adapt them so they are in line with their age
  • Store information on your computer in a folder. Organization. That’s a system.

Or, do you spend too much time doing the admin of your home or business? What can you turn into a system?

  • Can you set up folders in a cupboard to put away all the papers that can serve for your tax declaration so you don’t spend hours searching for them at the end of the year?
  • Can you have template emails for similar responses you need to send out on a regular basis? That’s a system.

Want to exercise more?

  • How does your day look? When do you usually feel like exercising? When can you most easily ‘squeeze’ it in?
  • Then set up a system to protect it. Block your hour in your online calendar at work so no one can book you for meetings during that time
  • Have your gym stuff purchased, clean and ready (double or triple and one at work in case you forget). Prepare your bag the night before. Those are systems.

When you have such solid systems in place, things like holidays, emergencies, or a sudden change in plans can happen in your life and upset things for a while, but you just get back to your system and pick up where you left off.

Without systems, there is no going back to anything. It just feels like constant chaos.

Why reinvent the wheel every time? Why feel overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” you have to do each day (let alone having time left for what you want to do)?

Systems are grounding.

By taking some time to define outcomes, prioritize, and systemize, you can create a foundation that relieves stress and – when you add action – helps you to accomplish what you want.

Want to know more? The Create Your Life Steps are designed to help you through this process.

Psssst… I want to let you in on another secret.

The other BIGGIE about how I do it all.

I just ship it. I don’t think too long to launch something. I experiment. A lot. I just start. And see what happens. Some work, some don’t. But I have tried. And often I fail early and that allows me to go back and improve and then launch. Or I fail and then at least I know instead of having that thing sit on my mind for ages eating up my energy.

Here’s how Seth Godin talks about Starting and Shipping.

So what project, plan or activity are you starting or shipping today?