Put a System On It

Portlandia, in its fourth season, did a skit where the punch line keeps repeating, whatever the item, “put a bird on it!”  I agree.  Anytime you can add a little something you’ve improved your product.

But what about behind the scenes?  What if we thought instead to “put a system on it!”  While I admit, I am not a professional organizer like Organize SB, I have had some experience along these lines.

If you’re not getting to work on time, put a system on it.  If you constantly find yourself stressed out or missing important meetings or ingredients, put a system on it.  A good system can get you out of a lot of repetitive and frustrating situations.

I can’t give any guarantees that it will work for you, since the very best system in the world will not work if you don’t work it.  And many people who have these kinds of problems are not ones to use systems.  So, the simpler, the better for you!

Basically, a system gives you a framework to work within.  Many times when we forget important pieces of equipment or fall short of our expectations, it’s only because we haven’t taken the time to figure it out ahead of time.

Here are a couple of ideas that have worked for me:
*  Make a list and use check boxes
*  Outline or mind map the situation to look for patterns indicating places where changes can be made
*  Get some professional help
*  Use reminders  – visual and audible clues can be a big help
*  Get a book on time management (or whatever the issue)

The trick is to try different systems until you find one that works for you.  Don’t give up and don’t be afraid of taking it down and trying something different. If it’s not working, if it’s adding more stress, it’s not worth it.  Start again!

After you’ve tried the system, analyze it for what worked. (Just because it didn’t work overall, doesn’t mean some of it didn’t.) Take note of the parts you didn’t like, too.  The more aware you are, the better detective and the more detailed you are at figuring out these two things, the quicker you‘ll get to Your System.

It largely comes down to how we function best. And that’s a very good thing to know about yourself.  Keep an eye out.  Watch how you do things, what works for you in other places.  See how the system feels to you. Is it hard to do?  Or easy?  Do you forget?  Did you have fun with it?  Did it lighten your load or add to it?  What ways did it work for you?  These are all vital signs to note. Use the pieces that worked and feel free to cobble a new system together. There are no rules except that it works for you.

Systems need to change over time. You are not the same, circumstances are not the same – jobs change, relationships shift, work styles alter.  You have to be ready and willing to move with it. Build flexibility into your system and it will last you for a long time.

Keep an eye out for what feels good and easy. Do what you can to get rid of the rest. When you find something that works for you, acknowledge and use it.  Try adapting it in other areas you discover need a system on it.

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