Systems vs Goals

Getting up early in the morning to focus using some time in the day to get things done before I go to work and before I get exhausted has proven to be a very good way to start making progress again.

Yesterday I read something that rang true for me.  It is the difference between setting goals and building systems.

  • For a sports team the goal is to  win the championship, the system is when and what you do to practice.
  • For an author the goal is to publish a book, the system is taking time to write every day.
  • For the entrepreneur the goal is to have a successful business, the system is how they execute their sales and marketing strategy.

My morning ritual is part of a system that I’m creating to inch toward my goals. Like the financial advice to pay yourself first, the morning is time you give to yourself before it is demanded by others.

There are two things that are part of my morning system:

  1. Fitness – exercise time to help me meet my training goals
  2. Creating – writing, coding, or creating artwork for my blogs and side projects

To ensure some forward momentum requires feedback loops.  For instance, the reason I’m writing this blog post today is because I have an automated nag email that reminds me to write if I haven’t posted anything for 7 days.  My goal is to keep this blog active, to improve my writing, and have a written history of my life permanently etched on the internet.  The nag email is a feedback loop that helps me work towards that goal, the system is the time in the morning that I  have to write.

To meet my other goals for the year I need to create some more feedback loops:

  • Spreadsheets for tracking financial goals to be manually filled out each month
  • Measure and track weight and running performance
  • Track big project releases over the year
  • Use an effective project task management system.

With the morning system in place and the proper feedback loops, 2014 is going to be a productive year.