5 Steps to Create Systems in Your Life

“Everything is a dance,” someone once said. “Just give yourself time to find your rhythm.”

I remember my first year at university, living in a dorm with eighty people. And for the first few weeks, I concluded that I might as well have been born with two left feet.

My room had four bunk beds with two pushed on either side of the walls to create a mini hallway. If you follow the wooden floorboard of our makeshift hallway, you’ll arrive at the back of the room where two plastic tables lined with water containers of various sizes and colors overlook our room’s only window—given it was a window that spanned the width of the entire wall. 

For the most part, that was our life. 

On those tables, we’d eat. Or prop a laptop open to watch a movie. We’d pull all-nighters or cram term papers. It was there that I first heard the demands of what I needed to write—some quiet and at least two hours spent agonizing over a single sentence. 

In that private space, the trappings of a writing ritual emerged. And around me, so did the ritual of medical students who dedicated hours to their study, theology students and their own Sinai of books to climb, and so on. 

If everything was indeed a dance, we were in the middle of a slow foxtrot.

Finding Your Own Rhythm 

Rhythms appear everywhere, and they exist in everything we do, from the way we walk to the way we speak—the cadence of our lives partially captured in these observed regularities. I suppose we could say that a rhythm is a kind of pattern, and, in turn, they constitute a system. 

What is a system exactly? A system is defined as “a set of things working together as parts of a mechanism or an interconnecting network.” It does not exist for itself but works in unity to achieve a specific goal. 

How do you create systems in your life to help you become more efficient and productive? Let’s break down the steps:

Before you hesitate on number two, hear me out. You might think, “Is this step really necessary?” or “Isn’t this a tad bit obsessive?” One: Yes, they’re necessary. Two: I don’t know about that. But I do know that these steps are crucial to creating sturdy foundations for your system. So, proceed, fated one. 

We all have our own way of doing things. Sometimes we have a manner of cracking our necks before we can work out. Or that our pillows have to be low enough to cradle our heads but not too low that our spines feel misaligned. 

The way we walk, sleep, stir our tea echoes the same kind of individuality that we bring into the more complex areas of our lives. Sometimes, without knowing, we have found our own rhythm. 

As you apply these principles in your life, remember that overnight success is a myth. Your success is revealed in your daily routine. For more productivity secrets, may I suggest Parkinson’s Law and James Clear’s Two-Minute Rule to get out of a slump.