How to Create Systems that work {Plans over Goals} | + FREE Resources

Ok, so we’ve already covered a bit about the importance of consistency, how to manage all or nothing tendencies and the benefits of creating systems and habits but how exactly do you create workable systems for, well, life?

Chances are you already have. Simply put, a system is nothing more than a routine. The way you wash your hair in the shower, that’s a system. The fact you lay out your workout clothes the night before your gym session, that’s a system. Checking your emails every morning, that’s a system. Ironing your kids’ uniform on a Sunday, that’s right – it’s a system!

Now I’m the first to admit being the queen of procrastination and in all honesty, I don’t like to work too hard. But then I also hate being overwhelmed and unorganised. It causes me masses of anxiety. I like the idea of structure but I’m not always consistent in my methods. I also don’t like to over complicate things – I’m really a very simple creature at heart.

One of the ways which helps me to break past these conflicting needs and feel more organised is to have certain systems in place. In business I call these workflows. In life I call them routines or habits. But essentially the ways these are created are very similar. Think of it as not only setting goals, but going that one step further and creating a plan for how you are going to reach them.

The benefits of having a system in place are easy to see, they allow you to:

  • Be more productive
  • Work more efficiently
  • Produce higher quality results
  • Make less mistakes
  • Easily outsource certain tasks

Let’s explore some of the ways you can create systems for different aspects of your life.

1. Audit your current systems

One of the best ways to prepare for new systems is to audit those already in place, i.e. identifying what’s working and what’s missing. For example say you want to eat healthier meals or improve your morning routine. After a week or so of following a plan you can sit down and conduct a simple review. By identifying what’s working and what’s not you can determine pinch points or triggers and figure out how to get around them. Thus improving your system.

2. Create habits

I’ve touched on this in previous posts but one of the best ways of starting a new system is to start creating the habit of doing that thing. So for example, if you want to write a book but don’t know where you start set an aim to sit at your desk, open your notebook and write for 5 mins every day. This can then be built on over time but in the meantime you’re simply creating the habit of writing.

3. Create workflows for bigger tasks

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! Whilst this may seem an obvious thing to do it is so often overlooked. By breaking regular tasks down into smaller manageable tasks you are effectively converting the whole process into a workflow which can be repeated and tweaked as you go. Not only does this ensure nothing gets missed but it also helps get those smaller to-dos done in shorter timeslots. In time this will help you estimate how long it takes to complete a task, schedule in the necessary time and therefore manage your time more effectively. Win win. Below are a couple of free templates you can use {featuring my not-yet-launched new branding!}, or if you prefer to work digitally why not use an app like Planner or Productive – Habit Tracker.

FREE Resources | Workflow template for a blog post + Workflow template blank

4. Create templates

Moving on from workflows another system is to create fill-in-the-blank templates for repetitive tasks such as emails, welcome letters to new clients, blog post structure, different stages of a product launch or even a weekend packing list. Making templates which can be repurposed for specific cases/people helps make repetitive tasks more effortless. For businesses this also means you can easily outsource certain tasks to free you up to do other more important things. For example, I have created a set of templates for my business which my consultants use under my business name. This ensures continuity for my clients and I know everything they need is right there in a template which has been quality assured by yours truly.

5. Automate repetitive tasks

Our days/weeks are full of repetitive tasks, some of which you can choose to spend a little more time on once before automating it and only checking in as and when you need/want to. In order to identify these tasks track all the things you do everyday for a week then take some time deciding which of these could be automated. Next spend some time identifying the tools that are best suited for these tasks.

As an example – I use the Emma App to track my personal finances. I’ve linked it to my main bank account, set my budgets and identified which items go where and the app does the rest. I then get notifications to keep me up to date but I only really need to check in every so often if I want more information or to check something specific. Other automation systems include Trello, MailChimp, Buffer and Canva.

6. Delegate or delete

There’s always going to be too much to do. It’s for you to decide your priorities and what tasks to focus your time on. Time is a limited resource which makes doing everything everyday impossible. Say for example you want your blog to be visible on all social media platforms but you don’t want to spend all your waking hours implementing this so you choose one platform to focus on. You can then choose to delegate/outsource content creation on other platforms or just leave them for now.

7. Systems on the go

Whatever system you decide on the more you can make it easy to access wherever you are the better. So for example if you have inspiration for a blog post whilst on your daily commute you want to be able to capture the essence of it easily and quickly {assuming you’re not driving at the time!} This may be in a notebook or diary you keep in your bag or apps like Notability, Evernote, OneNote or even the voice notes app on your smart phone make it easier than ever to jot things down or work through your systems on the go across multiple devices. The trick is to keep it simple and choose one or two methods or apps to use so it’s easier to keep track.


Do you have a system you follow? Let me know in the comments below.

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