A couple weeks ago I talked about How to Overcome Procrastination , and stay more productive. However, we are all human and sometimes we are not as productive as we want to be. Although, I found a more sustainable way that we can more productive without it feeling so overwhelming. The easiest way to do this is by focusing on systems more than goals. This is something that has really helped me in my personal and business life. In University, I would set many goals but I found that I didn't achieve many of them because there was no formative action plan. For instance, I wanted to get better grades so I told myself I was going to study harder, but how? What steps was I going to take to achieve this, and will it be sustainable? I began to understand that my results had little to do with the goals I set and everything to do with the systems I created to achieve my goals. Although, I still love goal setting and think its important what I have learned is that goals are good for planning progress where as systems are good for actually making progress.
What is a system?
A system is a repeatable process that allows you to focus on things you can control in order to fulfill a goal or objective. For example, losing weight is a goal, where as making a commitment to go to the gym 3 times a week is system. In one of my previous blog posts I talk about the idea of time blocking. Time blocking is a useful tool to maintain a system and it makes the process easier because you know exactly when you need to get things done. For example, scheduling the three times you want to go to the gym during the week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). This will result in tasks seeming less overwhelming because they are broken down.
How to create a sustainable system?
In order to create a sustainable system you have focus on an output. That is an objective or action plan that sets you on the right track to achieving your goals. An output for example, if your a blogger, you can't control who subscribes to your blog but you can control the flow of posts and being consistent with them. After figuring out your output its important to create small repetitive tasks that help you stay consistent and on track. Remember the 80/20 Rule. 80% of the output/results will come from 20% of the input or action. Therefore, its the little things that count for majority of the results.
Example of a sustainable system
GOAL: Lose weight and get more toned
Output (What are you going to do?): Work out 3 times a week
Input /action (How you are going to do it?)- Work out Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Monday- Leg Day, Wednesday- Arms, Friday- abs .
Remember that the system can change as you change and grow. You can decide to break down tasks even more or you can decide to take on more. What I love about systems, is that they create positive habits. With the gym example, eventually you will be accustom to your routine and won't feel overwhelmed at all. Goals are a great way to provide direction but having a system is what matters. Committing to a process is what makes the difference.