Procedures and systems are the core of this time management tip. Now, don’t get scared and think procedures and systems are complicated and something you can’t use. Even though you don’t use those terms you already have some procedures and systems that you follow every day of your life. Don’t you pretty much follow the same procedure or system every day to get ready for work or to get ready for bed? Because people are creatures of habit you like to do things a certain way, you like consistency, and you like predictability when it comes to frequently required activities. That’s the whole point of procedures and systems, but there are ways to make your procedures and systems better so you have a more relaxed and enjoyable life.

A procedure is nothing more than an established method for doing something. When you look at the things you have to accomplish in a day whether those things are personal or professional in nature if you have a procedure for doing them it makes the accomplishment of those things easier because they become almost automatic. You don’t have to think deeply about them because you know the procedure and you’ve conditioned yourself to automatically work through the procedure step-by-step. You tend to be better about having and following procedures in the world of work than you are in your personal life. Yet, there is just as much value to be had from procedures in your personal life as there is in your professional life. As an example, if the procedure when your family gets home at the end of the day is to take your shoes off and place them in the same place each day and hang up your coats in the same place and take any items that you have with you and put them in their place you actually save a lot of time and reduce your stress. No one has to pick up for everyone else. No one is scrambling to find their shoes and coat in the morning when you’re rushing to leave the house. You aren’t embarrassed when unexpected visitors come to your house and can’t enter without tripping over shoes and other things in a heap by the door.

A system is formed from the organization of related parts into a way of achieving a desired result. When there are multiple actions to be taken or multiple procedures involved you have a system for doing things. The idea for developing procedures and systems for both your personal and professional life is that once they’re developed you obtain consistent and predictable results. Plus everyone knows what is expected and how to accomplish and fulfill those expectations. When you have good procedures and systems it’s just a matter of repeating them to get the results you want.

People are the drivers behind systems and procedures. When it comes to any form of time management, procedures, and systems they all involve people, yourself and others. After you’ve developed procedures and systems to make regular tasks more efficient if you find that you have trouble following them you need to figure out why. Is there a problem with the procedure or system that you need to correct? Or is the procedure or system fine, but you and others still have trouble following them because you just kind of choose not to? If that’s the case you or the other people in your life may have an underlying root cause that’s leading to your time management symptoms stemming from a lack of self-leadership.

Self-leadership comes from your ability to obtain results from yourself and through others. Most of the time you know how to do the things you need to do and you have the skills and abilities to do them. You may have trouble distinguishing what’s most important for you now. You may have a “can’t” attitude. You may allow yourself to excuse your way out of things. These self-leadership deficiencies are preventing you from following the procedures and systems that would reduce your stress. And a lack of self-leadership is making your time management issues worse. Take a moment a do a quick self check-up to see if its procedures and systems you need; or the leadership to back them up so you can rinse, repeat, and get the results you want.

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