Top 10 List: 10 Truths About Systems

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For today’s post I thought I’d take a crack at listing 10 truths about systems. Image of words "Top 10"

We use systems all the time in our daily life and there are some basic truths of which you must be aware if you are to use a system well and efficiently.

Ready? Here we go!

Truth Number 10. Systems are living, breathing organisms.

Ok, so systems really aren’t alive, but they are just like living beings. Systems have to be fed information, data, actions and so forth into order to function correctly. Basically, you get out what you put into a system.

Truth Number 9. Systems don’t have to be complicated.

You might think a system has to have a complicated set of rules, but this is not necessarily the case. A system only has to have a series of related items. Take for example a system that everyone is well aware of: the system of doing laundry! Here’s the system: dirty clothes go in hamper, dirty clothes are washed and dried, clean clothes go in closet/dresser and the process is repeated.

Truth Number 8. A system can be set up in advance.

Before beginning a project, you can have key components of a system in place. In this way, it’s easy to drop in information or materials as you go.

Truth Number 7. A system can be set up at a later date.

Additionally, a system can be set up once a project has started or is well under way. Starting a system at a later date allows you to use practical knowledge of your work experiences to better build the system.

Truth Number 6. Systems should be reviewed regularly for optimal performance.

Over time, the needs and requirements of a system change. Review a system regularly to see if you can streamline any processes or add in a step to help things run more smoothly.

Truth Number 5. Don’t expect a system to run on it’s own.

A system is only as good as the attention and work you put into it.

Truth Number 4. Systems sometimes fail.

A system with the best laid plans will fail at one point or another, either in the way data can be added to the system or the way in which the system handles information. It’s just a fact of life.

Truth Number 3. Developing a system requires systematic thinking and creativity.

Sure, you’ve got to be systematic in your thinking or approach as to how you things will play out on a regular or routine basis, but you also have to keep in mind or anticipate different future situations and outcomes.

Truth Number 2. Systems should be accessible to others.

If you want to have a system for in place for other people to use be sure to take a step back and make sure the system is clear and easy to understand. You can very easily get caught up in how you design a system, so make sure you either explain or provide clear information to others (such as a cheat sheet) that explains how the system works and is to be used.

Truth Number 1. There is no one perfect system.

Remember, there’s always multiple ways of doing something. Every system can change, grow and evolve over time.

Now to you…what did you think of the above list? Do you have any system truths of your own? Leave a comment below and join the conversation!

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Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.
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