Can You Trick Yourself Into Being More Systematic?
Do you hate systems and routines?
I bet you’re a lot like most of my clients.
You resist scheduling tasks on your calendar or carefully set up your projects on your calendar but then ignore them.
Or you get caught in this frustrating cycle.
You create new routines and stick with them for a few days. You actually enjoy how these systems make your days run smoothly, but then you just stop. You blow them off and go back to doing things the old way even though it’s not particularly efficient.
There’s some part of you that rebels against structure.
What should you do if your mind understands that you’ve got to optimize your systems and stick to these effective routines, but your nature just wants to break the rules and go with the flow?
First, remember that you are the way you are and you are perfect.
You don’t have to turn yourself into someone you’re not just because those super-organized types seem to have it all together. What works for them won’t work for you.
Look for ways that work for you. Take your emotions into account. Don’t try to work against them.
Systems don’t have to be painful. You don’t want systems and routines that aren’t in sync with your nature.
Take a look at the following tricks and choose the ones that make sense for you and sound like fun to try.
5 Simple Tricks to Stop Rebelling Against Systems
1. Embrace the “Creative Chaos”
You can’t just turn a switch and become a totally organized person who loves structure.
The more you try to be something you’re not, the more frequently you’ll find yourself rebelling against the systems.
Embrace the part of you that’s free spirited and allow the “creative chaos” part of your personality to work for you and your business.
Start recognizing when you feel everybody should let you be chaotic and when you crave structure so that you can take advantage of your waves or creativity or easily switch into organizational mode.
You don’t have to be organized 100% of the time.
2. Create THE List
During one of your organizational phases, create a hit list of items that need to happen on a weekly basis.
Here’s what one of the participants in my Systematic Success program has to do on a weekly basis:
- Write a blog post
- Upload it
- Share the post
- Write 5 tweets
- Pre-schedule 5 tweets
- Follow up with 3 people
- Review new articles in RSS reader
- Share 5 interesting articles once flagged in the RSS reader
You can review this list on a regular basis and tackle items that you feel like doing. Try sticking to the list, though!
When you’re in the mood to work on items from your list, take care of the most time-consuming items first.
Writing a blog post, for example, usually requires that you have a good block of time and be in a certain frame of mind.
Writing tweets, on the other hand, doesn’t take as much time. You don’t need to emotionally prepare for this activity and can squeeze it into any available pocket of time.
3. Impose the 15 Minutes Rule
Let’s say that it’s the end of the week and there are a couple of items on your list that you haven’t completed. In fact, you might be dreading those items.
Promise yourself that you’ll spend just 15 minutes on each one of those items and then move on to something else.
If the task is going to take more time, just take the next logical step towards its completion.
Don’t worry about writing an entire blog post. Instead, decide on the headline or write the first paragraph. Follow up with one person (instead of 3) or share two out of your five articles.
Time yourself. As soon as the timer goes off, you’re free to stop!
4. Rename Your Tasks
I’m not kidding!
Reframing is one of the most powerful techniques that make it so much easier to adopt new habits.
Give your organizational tasks names that take your mind away from the fact that’s it’s a dull task so that you can enjoy a totally different attitude when approaching them.
Do you love getting together with friends? If so, you can transform your list in this way:
- Writing a blog post = Drafting an invitation
- Uploading the post = Making the invitation pretty and accessible
- Sharing the post = Sending out the invitation
- Writing 5 tweets = Creating a mini-invitation
- Pre-scheduling tweets = Inviting friends, whose contact info you don’t know
- Following up with 3 people = Getting in touch with 3 people you absolutely want to see at the party
- Reviewing new articles in your RSS reader = Selecting party favors
- Sharing 5 interesting articles once flagged in your RSS reader = Sharing the party treats
Play with a theme that works for you and see what a difference it makes.
It’s funny how many things we resist or rebel against just because we perceive them as restricting our freedom or forcing us to comply with rules somebody else imposed on us.
5. Have Organized Team Member(s)
You don’t have to be a super-organized person to enjoy the benefits of an organized, successful business. You just have to ensure that you work with people who keep things organized for you.
That might be your business partner or a VA.
When you hire your VA, make sure you’re teaming up with someone who can be in charge of doing things like staying on top of your calendar, reminding you about important deadlines, and even systematizing certain areas of your business.
That’s a very different kind of VA than someone who just wants to check things off a to-do list.
To nurture a VA who can truly partner with you and support your process of running an optimized business, you need to. . . .
- Declare your desire for them to create better solutions for organizing the back end of your business. Ask for their opinion and listen to their suggestions.
- Ask for their help with organizational tasks you dread (as long as they don’t include managerial tasks).
- Meet with them regularly to keep them in the loop (for virtual team members Skype or Google Hangouts are perfect) about future projects and your long-term vision.
- Give them ownership of projects once they’re capable of successfully completing them. Start with small projects or small pieces of a project and gradually give your VA more freedom to work on their own.
- Acknowledge them for the brilliant work they do. For most people monetary compensation is not the only reason they work with you. They do it because they share your values and believe in your work. Don’t take that for granted!
And don’t underestimate what big of a help an assistant can be for you and your business!
The hardest adjustment you’ll have to make is mental.
Being organized doesn’t have to look a certain way. It just has to work for you.
You don’t have to be perfectly organized tomorrow. Taking small steps that feel effortless to implement is enough.
Back to You
Is there a small step could you take this week?