You know what I’m talking about, right?
When you sometimes put things in your calendar, sometimes on a post-it note, and sometimes in a notebook and then your brain has to hustle to try to remember everything because maybe (read: probably) something is missing?
So, you decide that you’re going to use a to-do list tool like Todoist or Evernote or Wunderlist and you start to put things you need to do, ideas you have, into the list. It’s not perfect but it sort of works.
And that feels really good. You start to feel more organised.
But, you don’t put EVERYTHING in there. Just some things because you’ll put the rest in later. But, you get sidetracked and eventually you’re back in the same position.
The thing is in this scenario, your brain can’t rest and you can’t relax because:
- Your system is incomplete so you don’t trust it
- Your system doesn’t quite work for you so you don’t go all in
So, there you are back at square one.
When your system is incomplete
Incomplete systems are trouble because they give you a small sense of relief but they don’t do the job they’re supposed to. The magic of systems is that they FREE YOU UP. They let you let go of worrying about remembering things but only if you trust them, only if they’re complete.
I first learned about this concept from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. He talks about how our brains hold incomplete / unfinished things in our short-term memory and until it’s dealt with – it spins around which is distracting and stressful.
So, instead of using your brain power to be creative and innovative and thoughtful – you’re spending that energy on trying to nail down the million things you need to do.
How are you supposed to get ahead in that situation? Getting everything into a system you trust is a MAJOR step towards the freedom that great systems can provide.
When your system isn’t a good fit
I often see people trying to squeeze themselves into systems that aren’t quite the right fit.
Don’t be afraid to scrap a tool because it just doesn’t feel good for you or it doesn’t do everything you want or you don’t like the interface – even if everyone else on the planet raves about it. This is also about preference.
There are so many different ways to capture our processes and ensure they’re running smoothly, you don’t need to force yourself into a system that doesn’t quite work.
This is about systems working for you, not the other way around.
When you find a system that really works for you, you’ll have no problem sticking to it because not sticking to it is harder and more stressful.
What’s the biggest obstacle in your business to having systems that you stick to and that REALLY work for you?
PS. If you want to start by taking stock of what systems and tools you currently have in your business, check out my free DIY Systems & Tools Audit template.