Do you have parts of your life that are disorganized? Does it take you twice as long to do something as it takes someone else? In this article, learn how to create systems to create organization for all parts of your life.
A System For Everything
A few months ago I learned something that changed my world.
It’s a new (for me) way of looking at life and the to-do’s that often don’t get done. It helped me learn why even though I work so hard, some things are still a struggle.
Does this happen to you, too? You work really hard to keep an area of your home neat, but no matter how hard you work, it never stays clean?
Or maybe you feel like it takes you twice as long to do something as it takes other people?
Here’s what I learned:
Everything in life is a system.
All the things that you do each day are actually a system. It feels like you’re just doing things because it’s a habit or it’s how you always do them, but you’re actually repeating systems over and over again.
The good news is that if something isn’t working, it’s not because it’s hopeless! It’s because you need to tweak your system so it works better.
What’s a System?
A system is a method of doing something. It’s HOW you accomplish something.
A system isn’t just one small task on its own. It’s a group of tasks or procedures that are used to accomplish something.
It’s how you accomplish almost anything in life.
You may have heard about systems in the workplace. Most workplaces have formal systems and procedures in place.
But without realizing it, you’ve also developed systems for your home and personal life, too.
Almost everything you do is actually a system, from how you plan your meals to how you do your hair. Everything is a system.
For example, cleaning your bathroom is a system.
First, you may have a specific day and time when you normally clean it. Next, you gather rags and cleaning supplies. Once you’re ready to go, you start cleaning the mirrors, then the sink, etc.
All the steps you take to clean the bathroom (and there are many!) are a system.
Without realizing it, we’ve created systems for virtually everything we do in life.
The podcast episode below explains how you can create or tweak your systems so life runs more smoothly and is better organized.
Listen above to learn how to organize your life by creating systems.
When our systems don’t work right and “are broke,” it causes us a lot of grief. Things aren’t running smoothly and it may even affect our self-esteem.
No matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to get a certain task done!
We think the problem is with us and don’t realize that the issue is simply the system. Fix the system and the problem will go away!
Perfectionists have an especially difficult time creating smooth, effective systems.
They often work too hard in their quest to do things “right” so their systems are overly complicated and difficult.
They may also tend to procrastinate more since the way they imagine things need to be done is so difficult and burdensome in its perfection.
If you’re not sure if you’re a perfectionist, you can take the test!
Born Organized People
There are some people who seem Born Organized (BO for short).
BO’s are great at creating systems! They’re naturally inclined to see a task and create a system that works well.
They may have learned these skills growing up or it may come naturally to them.
Some people are BO at work but not at home (or vice versa). Each type of system is different so you can absolutely excel at creating some and not others.
If you’re not BO, I’m going to teach you how to become organized in everything you do.
The concept of systems is actually very empowering since it helps you change ANYTHING that’s not working in life.
My Story about Systems
I was always frustrated that some things in my life always fell through the cracks. For example, my bills were always disorganized. Sure, I paid them on time, but they were always in piles around my house. No matter how hard I worked to get rid of the piles, a new one always formed within the week. The paper clutter never went away!
However, once I realized everything was a system, I learned how to tweak my mail system and it helped change everything.
Now my papers are neat and orderly all the time! It’s all because I created a system.
I’m sharing my exact process below on how I learned to organize my papers and also lots of other things in my life.
Free Training – How to Use Trello
As part of my free resource library, I created a video for you on how to use Trello to organize your systems. Trello is free software that’s web-based (there’s also an app) that’s wonderful for so many things — but it’s particularly great for organizing systems.
In the video, I show how to use Trello for your systems, but once you’re comfortable with the software, you’ll find so many other uses for it.
I hope you enjoy it. I love using Trello to map out my systems. It has some great features that make it so easy to do. I’ll show you why in the video.
How to Access the Video
If you’re new to this site and need the password to access the video, sign up below and you’ll get it right away. You’ll get access to this video and the entire resource library.
How to Create or Tweak a System
To create or tweak a system, there are a few steps:
1. Write down each step of the system
This step is the most important. Once you write down the system, you’ll have a huge eye-opener.
Here are some things you may discover about your system:
- It makes no sense (ex. to clean the bathroom you start in one room, grab something from downstairs, go back upstairs, etc.)
- It’s excessively difficult (ex. clean all the bathrooms in one session)
- It has critical steps missing (ex. there’s no designated day or time of the week to clean the bathroom)
It’s a lot of work to write down each little step, but only by writing them down can you spot the holes and plug them.
2. Tweak the steps (or add steps) so the process makes sense
I like to write down my systems on the computer so it’s easier to make changes. I love Trello for this (www.trello.com).
You could also use MS Word, an app, or anything convenient.
Add additional steps to the process you wrote down in step #1. Move around the order. Keep working on it till it makes sense.
3. Try out the new process.
Here’s where the rubber meets the metal. You have to try out the new process you wrote down and see how it works.
Without a doubt, you’ll end up making some changes, so this stage is critical.
It’ll probably take you a few tries till you get it right. It may even take months. Keep at it.
4. Go back to steps #2 and #3 till you feel your process is working smoothly.
Tips for Success
I suggest you work on only a few processes at a time.
When I first started working on my systems, I worked only two: a process for handling mail and (surprise!) cleaning my bathrooms.
Both are going very smoothly now!
Every few months, I add a new process.
I keep these processes in Trello so they’re all in one place and I can easily update and revise.
It’s a lot of work, I won’t lie, but it’s incredibly effective at improving your life.
Instead of spinning your wheels, become frustrated at problems that stick around for years, you spend a little time and FIX the system. Then everything works better.
I hope you enjoyed the podcast and learning about how systems can help you organize your life.
Wishing you every success with everything you do,