I recently read an article on the Zen Habits Blog that really struck me. I guess if I was Oprah, it would have been an “aha” moment. At times we avoid or don’t have time to put systems in place for whatever we need to do daily/weekly/monthly as we think we do not have the time or energy. Our lives have become so “full” that we struggle to even find time just to think. The reality is we need to make time to think! Why? So we can simplify our lives!
See, when you don’t intentionally design a system, one will form anyway, and it probably won’t be an optimal system. But it’s the one we use, so we just continue to use it.
For example, let’s look at a complicated system that might form for cleaning our house if we don’t intentionally design it:
- We intend to keep things clean, but our lives get busy, and things come up, and we’re tired when we get home. Things start to get messy.
- Company is coming over! We clean like crazy at the last minute, raising our stress levels. Still, we only do a quick clean, which means there’s still a lot of clutter and mess even when the guests do come over.
- We let things deteriorate some more until the next guest comes over, or until we’re sick of things. There is really bad dust under the furniture, grime in that “crisper” drawer in the fridge, and we don’t even want to talk about the bathtub.
You might not be this bad, but you get the idea. No system is in place, so it gets complicated. Now this can be true for office work, house work, home work, etc.
The solution: design a simple system intentionally, making a routine that works for you, and alter it if it doesn’t make sense. Write out the system, so it is formal, and try to stick to it as much as possible — religiously, if possible.
Initially, it will take some getting used to but eventually it will become habit. You won’t feel bad about the things that you have not completed because you know that those are tasks to be completed on another day. You will find time to relax, plan and set goals. You will be amazed at the difference it makes in your day-to-day life.
So, go on, start creating Simple Systems and avoid allowing Complicated Systems to develop.