If you know me a little, you know that I work and thrive with systems. I have a LOT of systems 🙂
When I coach my clients, at some point there is always going to be a session on systems.

But what is a system?

Wikipedia describes it as follows:

A system is a set of interacting or interdependent components forming an integrated whole. Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning.

What systems, habits or practices (different words, same outcome) do you need to put into place to create the results you want?

Here’s why this is such a crucial question:

A system or habit is something you set up in advance from a place of intention.  You schedule it in advance. You set the alarm, define the work, set the timer, show up and get it done.

– See more at: http://christinekane.com/use-this-magic-mantra-to-multiply-your-productivity-results-and-happiness/#sthash.9XvHfCVX.dpuf

I have a system for nearly everything:

  • Boxes that store things for different events and occasions.
  • A system of how to say no.
  • A system to deal with my kids’ artwork.
  • Reminders for appointments in my calendar.
  • A place to put the laundry, the keys, the coats, the cissors,…

Because you can (and should!) create a system for nearly everything!

A system (or habit, or practice…) is something you set up in advance from a place of intention.
You organize and/or schedule it in advance. When you have systems, you become immune to reactive thinking, to those days when you don’t feel like it.

A system kills procrastination. Because it is creative and proactive. It is set up in such a way that it takes into account all your distractions, default settings, bad habits.

Below are a few systems I can highly recommend:

Sunday summit:
This is a weekly check-in with yourself that gives you a heads up on the week ahead. I usually do this on Sunday.
It takes about 15-30 minutes and here’s what you do:

  1. list your top 3 priorities for the week (not your 10 to do lists that contain 43 items each!)
  2. Check and get clear on your appointments of that week. Change/reschedule if necessary.
  3. Schedule your time slots: exercise time, writing time, project X time, Me-time,…

This simple system leaves no place for reaction during the week. You won’t find yourself with a free time slot asking yourself ‘well, what do I feel like doing now’ (which usually is a slot when nothing happens :-).

Task break down:
Does your To Do list contain things like ‘declutter house’, ‘create website’ or ‘get healthy and fit’?
Those are not To Do’s, they are not tasks you can tick off. They are projects. Big projects.
And they need to be broken down into do-able tasks (15 or 30 or 45 minutes, not more) that you can schedule into your week during your Sunday Summit.

Tasks for the ‘declutter house’ project can be:
– sort papers
– file papers
– sort underwear drawer
– take clothes to container
– …
This system of breaking big things down into do-able tasks will prevent overwhelm and keep you from procrastinating because the task just looks too big to tackle.

Repetition and dedicated time
Let’s say you have a big project or a recurring one and you have broken it into do-able tasks as described above. The best way to keep at it is to schedule those tasks on a regular basis at the same time.

  • So your Monday lunch time is always ‘jogging with friends’, it’s in your agenda and no one can book you for something else.
  • Your Tuesday evening is time away from your family to work on your business.
  • On Thursday afternoon Mom puts her ‘work suit’ (or special hat) on and goes into her ‘office’. This signals to the kids that they are not to disturb you.

Accountability Buddy:
An accountability buddy is a person who holds you accountable for the goals that you have set yourself. It’s a system that ensures that you remain on track. You announce your project and tasks to that person and she/he keeps you up to schedule, gives advice, kicks your butt and asks all the right questions.

Next time you do something and it’s not working so well, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why is it not working well? Wrong time? Wrong place? Too big a task?…
  • Is this thing something I do more often? Daily/weekly/monthly/yearly?
  • How can I improve this and turn it into a system? Break down task, change place, put in place or automate a repeat mechanism,…

The possibilities for a system are endless.

If you have a situation for which you cannot, for the life you, find a system, drop me a line 🙂
Happy systemizing!