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Guest Blog: Designing Your Life with Systems and Processes – A Beginner’s Guide

Apr 08, 2022

This week we are featuring a KILLER blog from financial coaches, Dan and Kay over at Centsei. Check out of how they have designed their life and what systems and processes work for them below.


Everyday you are confronted with decisions that have to be made. Some big, some small. When will you brush your teeth? What are you making for dinner? Do you fill up your car with gas today? etc.

What do all of these things have in common? They are consistent. If you have to deal with certain action or decision more than once, it’s probably wise to create a system to handle it.

What are Systems and Processes?

Systems are multiple preset and planned sequences of activities (processes) designed to answer what happens what and when we will do when certain things need to be done.

For example, our “car maintence system” is built up of several processes:

  1. Process: We fill up our car with gas every Friday no matter how much gas is in the tank. This prevents us from ever really worrying about running out of gas. In addition, it’s better for the vehicle.
  2. Process: The first Saturday of every month, we take the car to get a car wash, interior vacuum, and clean the inside and outside of the vehicle.
  3. Process: Every 5000 miles, we get the oil changed and the tires rotated. I also make any needed or recommenced repairs/replacements.
  4. Process: We save $100/mo for a “Car repair fund” this fund is put into a high interest savings account, and so when the time comes to make a car repair or change the oil, the money is already there. No scrambling for the needed cash.
  5. Process: Every May (1st Saturday in May) I take the car in get an emissions test and registered with the state.

This is our “Car System” and it keeps the amount of time and resources to a minimum that we have to think about maintaining our vehicle and maximizing the amount of time we can reliably depend on and use it.

Designing such systems and processes have DRASTICALLY improved our quality of life, by removing little irritations such as running out of gas, or having to find the money for needed car repairs. This is just one simple example.

The Steps of Designing Processes and Systems

  1. Identify an activity that must be repeated regularly. (Shaving)
  2. Specify How you currently handle the activity. (Whenever I feel scruffy, I shave. Maybe 2-3 times a week)
  3. Make a decision of when you will consistently shave to remove the need to think about if you should do the activity at all. (I will shave every Wednesday and Sunday regardless of what I am doing that day)
  4. Track the Process (Write down if you shaved when you said you would)
  5. Make needed changes (I’m better off shaving 3 times a week than 2, so process changed to shaving Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday)

This process would be a part of my hygiene system. What I do to keep myself presentable and healthy.

Principles for Designing Systems

  1. The System should be removing the need for another activity – like constant decision making. Example: “Should I shave today or not?” Proceed to analyze pros and cons, added to the plethora of mental decisions I already have to make vs. “It is not Wednesday or Sunday. I’m not shaving today.” )
  2. Clear criteria. (I shave after I shower on Wednesdays and Sundays)
  3. Can clearly track if I am consistent in the system (Did I shave on Wednesday?)
  4. System should make life easier, not harder. Easy to maintain and sustainable over time. (Barack Obama’s system of always wearing a grey or blue suit – never have to wonder what he’s wearing)
  5. Never be afraid to change a system if it’s not working. It’s okay and normal to give a system a try, and have it not work. Edit, than try again. The best systems and processes are built over time.

Other Considerations

You may be reading this and thinking – “This is NUTS! I can’t do this with all of the stuff in my life.”

That’s true. If you tried to systematize everything all at once.

Starting simply and small – by prioritizing sustainability is the key.

Focus by identifying consistent pain points.

Pain Point: “I always lose my wallet and keys.”

Solution: “Identify a spot I will place my keys and wallet as soon as I walk into the house, every time.”

Pain Point: “I never know what to make for dinner.”

Solution: Meal plan – make a list of 5 meals you could choose from on any given night. Grocery shop every Friday to make sure you have the needed ingredients for those 5 meals.

This may seem like overkill, but we PROMISE you that living by systems and processes improves quality of life, overall happiness, and will help you sleep better at night.

Be patient as you begin.

Build systems and processes – you won’t go back!


Interested in learning more about our approach to finances?

Attend Dan & Kay's FREE Budgeting Class where they outline their Financial Growth System and how you can customize it to your situation. Click below to get started!

https://www.centseifinance.com/free-training-registration-page-meaningful-marriage/

 

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