Systems can help alleviate variance and they create predictability by simplify life thus helping produce a result.

They free up your mind from wondering, guessing, or forgetting by planning and automating. Systems and automation can be used to be more efficient and maximizing your time and results.

I use a lot of “weird” systems. For example, when I eat breakfast everyday at a local coffee shop, I always drink my espresso first so I absorb as much caffeine as possible because if I eat the food first or eat while drinking it, I won’t absorb as much of the caffeine. Also, my breakfast and most of my meals are the same kinds of foods because then I don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat and end up eating something unhealthy. So, the result is that I avoid eating bad and it frees up my mind from having to figure out what or where to eat. That’s a big problem for people trying to lose weight, they don’t bring a lunch or know what they’ll eat when they go to work, so they snack and eat somewhere unplanned that is unhealthy.

When I started working out and lifting weights, I did a lot of reading and testing and figured out that if you do the right lifts the right way, with the right amount of reps, and eat properly, you almost automatically put on strength and muscle (granted there is some tweaking based on one’s body type).

Another example of using a system is how I manage buying household supplies.

I know that I’m bad at remembering to get certain items at the store, so, all of my diapers, wipes, paper towels, cleaning supplies, etc. come automatically from Amazon at the beginning of the month. With these kinds of items, I was always thinking, “oh, I can get them at any store when I’m out,” so, I wouldn’t plan ahead to buy them and was running out of them at the house. So, the Amazon solution was perfect because I don’t have to try to remember or spend the time going to the store to get it.

I use systems for as well for how I dress and shop for clothes. I have brands that I wear that I know fit well, and I like the feeling of the material. Armani Exchange jeans and shirts in my size fit me almost exactly right. I may order 5-10 solid color t-shirts from their site in size large (sometimes even multiples of the same color), so I always have something that looks nice to wear, but it is simple for me to plan what I’m going to wear. Some people think I put a lot of effort into dressing, but I don’t, I just use a system and rotate in certain colors or styles of shirts, pants, and shoes.

Being a single dad, I have to have a system to take care of my kids. There is a certain plan and structure that we follow probably 80% of the time. For example, at night, we eat dinner, have some play time, do showers, do snacks, brush teeth, and I put them to bed. This helps the kids know what is coming as well (although at times, they act like they’ve never done our night time routine and don’t know what to do). I buy a lot of these same foods, the ones that I know all 4 like, and rotate them slightly each week.

There can be spontaneity within a system too. For example, if a couple has a date night every Thursday night, they can do something different each date night if they want.

Start applying systems, planning and automation. They are just a handful of examples of systems that I use for myself. Use your creativity and you’ll be shocked at areas that you can simplify life, save a lot of time, and free up your mind for more important things.

Make sure to leave any input or questions you have in the comments.