Your daily activities and habits must be in harmony with your life goals for you to achieve what you want. This is an effective way to systemize your success.
Brain researchers claim that between 90-95% of all human behavior is habitual which means we literally perform most activities without really thinking about them. Without a system to govern your activities day to day, you will very likely fall victim to your habits and never truly accomplish the goals you set out to achieve.
As a person who is working on a number of goals at any given time, I frequently check on my progress and look for ways to improve the quality of my work. I also keep track of my time management to make sure I allocate proper time to activities that will get me closer to my goals, as well as time to relax and to have some fun.
I’ve experienced both, periods of incredible productivity and periods where it seemed that everything was at a stand-still, even though I felt extremely busy. Upon reflection, it is easy to see that the main reason I experienced success during my productive times was due to the presence of a well defined system.
The word system can be defined as “a coordinated body of steps or methods, a plan of action, a set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organized scheme or method.” When I think of a system, I think of a well defined list of activities performed in a certain order with a specific result in mind. Ultimately, a properly defined and implemented system is the key to success in any area of life.
Just take a quick look around you and you can begin to appreciate the value of a well defined system. In many cases, the entire system has been automated for optimum performance. If you have any doubts, just think about what happens when you place a phone call, start your computer, turn on your lights, start your car, or even when you eat dinner. Each process was handled by a system that is responsible for producing a certain result.
In the same light, I believe it is critically important for every person to have a system to manage their activities, one that has been designed to help a person reach all of their desired goals and aspirations.
For me, having a system brings clarity to my mind and removes the potential for procrastination. It forces me to focus on what I really want to accomplish and take action accordingly. For example, when I was going through the transition from corporate employee to self-employed entrepreneur, there were a number of activities I knew I had to ingrain as part of my behavior.
Before I really understood the concept of systemizing my calendar, I instinctively knew that I’d need to have a system and create new habits. For a period of around 3 months, I woke up every morning and opened my journal. I would divide the page in half. The right side of the page was a list of 6 success habits that I had decided to implement in my life; family and fun time, fitness, good deeds, studying personal development, business activities and mental health (which would include meditation, visualization exercises, vision boarding, and good sleep). The left side of the page would be a growing list of all activities that would pop up throughout the day, such as returning phone calls, research, writing, online banking, mail, etc.) I would write every single activity down and check it off with red ink upon completion.
As basic as it sounds, that particular system actually changed my life. First and foremost, I would not allow myself to go to bed at night without first crossing off all critical daily activities from the right side of the page. I was literally obligating myself to create new habits. Secondly, I would see the left side of each page completely full of checked-off items. I felt great to feel accomplished and it gave me energy to do it again the next day.
I believe that a good portion of our own self-esteem comes from our ability to give ourselves an assignment and complete it. If there was a time I was feeling overwhelmed by my to-do list, I could quickly glance through my journal and remind myself how productive I could be when I put my mind to it.
The accumulation of pages in my activity journal ultimately acted as a “success log” and always provided that extra boost of self-confidence when I needed it most. At the same time, if one thing was not done due to lack of time, I’d rewrite it for the next day. The idea was to enjoy the journey, not to get overwhelmed or stressed out.
After a certain period of time, I got comfortable and I went back to a more informal task management system and basically relied on my calendar and appointments to keep me on track. The interesting thing is that the habits I formed had remained with me for the most part. However, I recently came to the realization that due to my ever-growing list of work demands, my daily schedule was once again out of control and rather chaotic. I had been spending far too much time on low priority work tasks, my fitness regimen was suffering, my overall level of enthusiasm was being affected, and I felt more stressed. After some introspection, it became quite evident that it was time to systemize again!
The most difficult part of the entire process was forcing myself to stop, take a breath and examine my results. Once I was able to do this, I could easily see the areas that needed improvement and it was simply a matter of designing a new system that matched my current demands and lifestyle. I’m now back on track, more organized and best of all I’m feeling enthusiastic about my days.
Are you aware of how you spend the time in your day? Could you be more efficient and productive? Perhaps you have broken some of the good habits that used to be part of your daily routine? If so, what could you do to help you systemize your success? Please share in the space below. Thank you!