What I’ve discovered over the last few months is that how much I get done comes down to what I do every day. I’ve always heard about Systems as the way to make incremental progress and evaluate what you do. When people talked about systems I’ve always gotten confused, thinking they spoke of finding ways to break a process down into smaller tasks and efficiently complete all these different parts. My mental diagram was basically a bunch of lines pointed at each other. What I’ve learned is that systems are really just what you do every day.
Consistency has often evaded me throughout my life, until I realized that I could just find a way to make the first part of doing something really easy. I guess that’s what a system really is, doing something day in and day out without thinking about it. Or put another way, a habit. The easiest way to form a habit is to do it a lot, and make it really simple to start. The effectiveness of a system comes down to how well it can be repeated and the efficiency with which it achieves the task. That means that if the system finds every efficiency yet cannot be repeated or vice versa… IT’S TRASH.
How do you make a system? It’s always seemed more difficult than it is, but its essentially about reducing the friction to start as much as possible. Make it as easy as possible to get into the system as possible. Find things that you already do and incorporate them into your new process. The most important aspect of system building is writing. Nothing is as important as recording what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and how you see it working. Without a distinct record that states exactly what the expectations are, you have nothing to evaluate against and more importantly nothing to hold you accountable. If you can, record your progress as numerically as possible. Our minds aren’t meant to store most information we take in word for word. We basically make a model of what is being said and unless that is repeated or recorded, it’s pretty much gone after a short period of time.
All in all systems can be summarized into one sentence; get into a repeatable process as easily as possible. Do this by minimizing friction and writing down the elements of your system that you need to understand.