Two of the most productive hours of my day are also the most chaotic.
Guaranteed someone will get punched, someone will tell a not-funny joke but we will find it hilarious and belly laugh anyway, someone won’t get what they want, and someone else will poop his pants.
Now, I love a nerdy talk about the best apps for a particular workflow as much as the next guy, but real productivity does not always look organized and tidy with everything just right. Often, it’s the opposite…
Most of the time, when you’re really getting things done it’s messy (because we’re human).
Now… Those two productive-yet-chaotic hours of my day?
They are the evening hours from 5 – 7pm at the Blanc house.
My wife and I have 3 boys: ages 2, 5, and 7. Our evenings are filled with LEGO everywhere, Nerf gun target practice with unsuspecting stuffed animals, wrestling, food fights, toddler nudity, meltdowns, and hiding behind shower curtains to avoid brushing teeth.
I am a dad, and this is what family time is like with three fantastic sons.
As my boys become adults, I look forward to having a deep friendship with them. But I don’t know of any “formula” for making this happen. I only know that if I am regularly present and engaged, then I stand a pretty good chance at building a deep bond and long history of trust with each of my sons.
So while our evening hours may look like disorganized chaos right now, they are also the hours where my wife and I get to consistently give our full attention to our boys.
And that’s why, every evening at 5pm, my wife and I set our iPhones to Do Not Disturb. Then we put the phones away in another room.
Value / Identity: I’m a dad.
Expression / System: I spend quality and undistracted time with my boys on a regular basis.
Outcome / Goal: I’m building a thriving relationship with my sons.
This is just one example of how I am taking a personal value for my life and aligning it with how I spend my time each day, and the result will be one of life goals.
The immeasurable value of good systems is found in their ability to bridge the gap between our personal values and our goals.
When your time and energy are NOT being spent on the things that matter to you, it’s frustrating and stressful.
Frustration = The Tyranny of the Non-Essential
Ask yourself this:
What is something in your life that you think is important but you are not giving very much time or attention to?
What is something in your life that you do NOT consider important but is receiving too much of your time and attention?
Aside fom someone else eating the last of the ice cream that you were totally saving for later, there is nothing more frustrating than when the things that matter most are pushed to the back burner at the tyrrany of the things that do not matter at all.
Which is More Important: Systems or Goals?
This is something of a trick question because they’re both important.
But if I had to pick just one, I’d pick systems.
Why? Because I know you already have goals.
But I estimate more than 80% of the people reading this do not have a good goals system. And by that, I mean most people do not have a reliable and consistent way to accomplish their goals.
The Systems I Use to Accomplish Goals in Every Area of My Life
There are a handful of various tactics and systems I use on a regular basis to ensure that the important areas of my life are getting the time and attention I want to give them.
From my physical health to my creative work to my awesome parenting that I just shared with you.
These systems include how I schedule my days, how I know exactly what to be focusing on, and how I keep the margin I need in my life to avoid burn out.
They are my Fantastic Systems, and they keep me on track with being productive and accomplishing my goals.
Next week (Tuesday, Feb 19) I’m doing something that is somewhat rare for me: I’ll be hosting a live, interactive webinar.
The webinar is called Fantastic Systems.
And at this Zoom call extravaganza, you will discover how to make consistent progress toward your goals (even if you’re not a naturally organized person).
I will be sharing a detailed breakdown of the productivity system I use every day (for work and personal stuff), as well as some of the habits that help me stay focused.
If you’re interested in tuning in live — or if you want to get access to the video replay afterward — you can sign up here.
I will also be doing a live Q&A. So you’ll have the chance to ask me anything related to planning, goals, systems, focus, work/life balance, mindsets, budgeting, margin, and anything else you submit. Even parenting!