There’s only one system that works: yours

Posted in Principles @ April 13, 2022

There is one productivity system that will make your life more accomplished, and there is one single management methodology that will make your team achieve all your goals: your own.

Regardless of what all the productivity gurus say, there is no single book, methodology, system, path, course, concept, or action that’s guaranteed to work for you and your team – none but yours. Focus on constantly building and improving on your own system, and avoid treating your life and your work as a recipe you need to follow precisely.

I saw this in my personal life: after years of being stuck in a cycle where I constantly tried new productivity tools and methods, fully committing to each one and expecting things to magically improve, only to inevitably have the new system fall short, and for me to get depressed and quit trying for a while. What helped was that after innumerable failures, I started to see my own system, built from scraps of failed attempts.

And I saw this in my professional life, in years of talking to small business owners and seeing the same cycle repeated on a company-wide scale: new tools and methodologies that promised guaranteed successes, enthusiasm gradually making way for frustration, chaos moving back in after a period of determination. Rinse and repeat.

Whether we’re talking about personal productivity tools and techniques, or ways to get your team organized and motivated, the internet is filled with options, and people who want to convince you that theirs is the key. The magic solution that has what you were missing. That something that you should be doing to solve all your problems.

Here’s my take: there is no one system that works. But parts of all of them do, and there’s a combination that will make all the difference for you personally, and for your business.

We see polished products all around us, and so our expectation is that everything we do has to be our slight adaptation of a tried-and-true solution. From diets to workouts, we all want to try The Thing® and expect that it’ll work more or less as advertised. When it doesn’t, we move on to The Other Thing®, and so on, ad infinitum.

Instead, realize that we all have our thing. Every situation is unique, and it’s highly unlikely that my personal journey through life is going to be as similar to someone else’s that the same outcome will be guaranteed.

But, again, parts of the same solution might work for a lot of people. Focus on building your own system, adapting things that you want to try, instead of trying to live others’ success.

Is this advice too broad and general? You bet. Stick around though, we’ll get into details soon and explore all of the tools and tricks that build a solid business and a healthy and productive workplace.