Hide and Seek

When we’re not sure what to do next, we tend to hide. 2013-07-26 17.33.59

No matter how successful we become, we sometimes hit this space where what comes next isn’t clear. Sometimes, we’ve fallen into a rut. Other times, we’re just in between inspirations. Still others, other challenges have taxed us to the point that we’re hiding in plain sight, even though we’re not really fully engaged in what needs doing.

Systems Help

I’m going through the interesting experience of having a coach for my fitness efforts. I actually used the services of one coach and am now working with another. In both cases, what I’ve come to learn is that it’s kind of fun to look at a document that tells me what I’ll be tackling today, and then doing the work that will get me closer to my goals. Systems like this help.

But it’s funny. Not all systems help. For instance, if we’re in a rut, then having the same system will produce the same results. If we need to do something new to accomplish new results, our previous systems won’t really help.

And yet, I’ve come to the realization that even though it feels “relaxing” to be working outside of a system, I need them in place for me to be as productive and as successful as I intend to be.

For how I get my work done, I use Work Like you’re On Vacation. But for creating NEW systems and trying to get myself rebooted, I use Put Success in Your Way. Both are courses created by Rob Hatch and tested extensively on me (and others). What I’ve learned from PSYW is that I’ve gotta get back inside a system, so that’s what’ll happen this week.

In the interim, what systems do you use? How do you get found from your private game of hide and seek? And what are you working on next?

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  • http://www.theskooloflife.com Srinivas Rao

    I never thought much of systems until somebody encouraged me to put one in place for producing BlogcastFM. Somebody turned me on to the idea that even the tasks we do on a regular/repeated basis actually take up the same creative energy if we have to remember them each time we do them. So I created a simple checklist for each episode. I was amazed by how useful that was.

    I also have routines/rituals like blocking FB for 2 hours each morning so I cn just write and do nothing else. That has dramatically increased my production capacity.

    Totally agreed that sometimes we have to break things to experience a breakthrough.

    In terms of what I’m working on next, THe Instigator Experience :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Programmers teach us this. If we are doing scripted work in an unscripted fashion, we’re silly. : )

  • http://www.blazewebstudio.co.za/ Geoffrey Gordon

    Honestly Chris this is a tough one.

    I keep trying to fine tune our systems, and have been doing so for the last 10 years. Its also a case of not all systems work for everyone. There is no one-size fits all so to speak. Its an iterative process you set something up and then try it for a while. You see the holes, tweak the process and try again.

    To be honest I still haven’t found one system that works. But I have found parts that fit certain gaps. Are you suggesting the two courses mentioned above help close that loop and put together your own custom working system ?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      The first is a great way to be much more productive. The second is a way to better consider which systems you need and create systems that matter to what you’re doing.

  • http://greghauenstein.com/ Greg Hauenstein

    What I’m working is a screenplay.

    I have no system. All is chaos.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      How’s that going for you?

      • http://greghauenstein.com/ Greg Hauenstein

        Terribly. I’ve recently discovered Trello, however and that’s helping me break things up.

        “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” – Mark Twain

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Pushing, pushing and pushing Chris, this helps me more than anything. Not from a desperate space, but from a confident, “I am ready to be uncomfy to be free and reach my goals space”, for when I push, I find the system.

    Create and connect. Business-wise, this works for me. Fitness-wise, I take a 10 minute break every 55 minutes during my work day, and do push ups, and sit ups, and jumping jacks, and this conditions me to take care of home based, and get ripped as hell too lol! For 38, I am doing OK, but only because I developed the hourly habit of working out, doing the “impractical” to get super results.

    Thanks for sharing dude!


    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Agree, Ryan. The pushing is definitely what matters. If we stay stuck, we won’t go further.

  • http://selfstairway.com/about/ Vincent Nguyen

    Working on an eBook and I’m using a couple systems that work together very nicely.

    1) Seinfeld’s calendar method. Every day I write 500 words towards the eBook, I get a big red X over the day. “Don’t break the chain.”

    2. Pomodoro Technique where I work in bursts of 25 minutes following a 5-minute break. I use a Google Chrome Extension called “Strict Workflow” that blocks the websites I tell it to during the 25 minutes. No more Facebook or Reddit!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Trends are a great way to work. And if 25 is enough, then that’s pretty awesome. : )

  • josephlogan

    Sometimes I find myself just smart enough to outsmart the system I’m using (outsmarting myself, in other words). I’ve been experimenting with having an expiration date for any system I’m using–sort of like cross-training for the brain. The shake-up tends to re-engage me with whatever I’m doing.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      That happens to me a lot. To Jacq (my girlfriend) as well. We tend to think we’re clever. Lately, we’ve started to relax into systems that have been put in place for us. Guess what? Success every time. Work the plan.

  • http://www.covale.com/ Paul

    Ugh, I always feel that I’m just setting up systems and convincing myself of their worth to really just get out of doing the real work. Get tired of trying to outsmart myself to get me to do something that I know I should and actually enjoy once I start. I just keep telling myself to do the work.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Depends whether the systems are 10% of your effort or 70%. You can procrastinate by creating systems just like you can procrastinate by reading comic books. : )

  • http://www.seedsofmusic.net Kyle Williams

    Systems help, but they take work and experimentation to develop effective ones. I think each one needs to be tailored to each specific person.

    I’m currently working on building my web show Seeds of Music, creating my first online product, and learning sampling, and digital music production. Here’s my system of getting things done while trying to preserve sanity and avoid burnout:

    - I have a calendar where every month is ripped out and taped separately on my bedroom wall. I keep track of BIG goals here.

    - I have a Google calendar where I list batched work that needs to be done once a week. Monday is emails, blog comments, and interview networking. Tuesday I edit. Wednesday I prep the blog post, upload to YouTube, and draft the email campaign for the interview. I also check my split testing statistics and tweak opt in copy. Thursday I release the interview and then review my notes for Seeds of Music. I struggle with this, but I try to reserve Fri, Sat, and Sun for music and play but it’s hard to shut off work mode.

    - I keep a notes list where I jot ideas that pop into my head.

    - …and this comment is probably getting out of hand.

    Point is that it takes work to build a system that works. My system will get constantly tweaked, especially because I want to make sure I have time for practicing guitar, performing, and learning music production (bootstrap style).

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Absolutely. Can’t just pick something off a shelf and presume it works. : )

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  • Sebastián Lora

    I’ve found that for me to really get things done I need a deadline… The closer, the better. To-do lists are a nice reminder of things that need to get done, but if there’s no urgency, they just don’t.

    I’ve been struggling to launch my own seminar, and although I’ve long desired to do so, it wasn’t until I selected a date for it to launch that I’ve started to really move my butt.

  • thomsinger

    For me, systems become dull over time. I have to regularly change up how I focus my priorities or they become a long list of things I never get to (no matter what system I have used). The “oh shit I have a deadline” system always seems to be my standby.

    • Nuha

      I understand what you mean! Sometimes I find myself having to wait till the last moment because I just do not get inspired till the deadline is right on top of me

  • Robert Fraser

    Sometimes systems work and get you back on track and sometimes they just highlight what you don’t want to do. I have found it’s always my thinking behind those systems whether or not they will ‘work’ that day. Of course being in a good mood, they all work. Being in a bad mood, I don’t care what system it is, (unless it’s a Drill Instructor in DI School) it won’t work!

    Also being sometimes a scatter brain, system do keep me on track! Maybe a checklist more so is what I would call it but same thing.

    I have picked up a gig doing internet marketing for a couple of real estate investors and they are systematic people. I had to draft up my daily routine in a checklist and it actually helps when I am dragging. Especially since they are paying me and I want to keep this work at home gig going for as long as possible!


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  • Nuha

    Trying to find the right system for me, just got into the working world after a hiatus, and feeling like my old system is obsolete. I love my job and cannot wait to come to work each day, but I feel like I could be doing more

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