Ming the Mechanic:

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 Systems2003-09-11 17:19
picture by Flemming Funch

There's a secret to how to live a relaxed and secure life. It is unfortunately one I haven't mastered very well myself, but I do have an idea of what it is about. It is simply that to do many things in life without being stressed about them, you need to get them out of your mind and embedded into a system which will run on automatic, even when you aren't paying attention.

This applies to money making, and it applies to organization.

As I've mentioned before, most people aren't actually making a living by doing good work and being duly rewarded for it. They do it by having a system in place that pays them money. The low level way of doing that is having a job. You show up every day, appear to be doing what looks like a job, and you get a paycheck every two weeks. More successful people have set up other kinds of systems. The most successful and leisurely way of making a living is to have set up a system that pays you each month forever, without requiring that you show up for anything, or do anything. That is called residual income. You happen to have invested some money wisely, or you've patented something or created something that people pay you royalties for. Or you happen to have gotten in early on some multi-level marketing scheme and have thousands of people paying you percentages. Or you have this website that sells things while you sleep. All of those are systems. You've set up something that will work automatically, with as little involvement from you as possible. The more involvement you have, and the more it depends on your daily work, the more you're a slave to work. And the more it has nothing to do with your actual daily work, the more you have succeeded and freed yourself. The more you can pass the buck on to somebody else who will do actual work, the better. In a capitalistic society, the ultimate accomplishment is to have a lot of capital which you can lend to others, and which they're forced to bring back to you with interest, without you being involved in how.

But it isn't just about passing the buck and living off of the work of others. It is also simply that it is generally a good idea to figure out how to do the most with the least possible effort.

That might be more obvious when applied to organization. Organization is generally about setting up a system that best deals with the stuff that is there to do, requiring the least possible brains to manage it every day. If there's a job to do, and a bunch of people to do it, you don't want to every day try to figure out how to do everything all over again. You'll make up an outline of how things will flow. Orders come in here, then they go over there, and these people here pack things in boxes, and those over there keep track of the numbers, and somebody answers the phone, etc. You set up certain posts, certain hats that somebody can wear, and some lines between them. And then, even if the posts are manned by half-asleep minimum wage employees, things are likely to get done. There's a system in place, and the system keeps things running, somewhat on automatic.

Same thing with my personal organization. Bills go into this basket, letters to answer go into this one, and there are file folders for everything, and a routine for doing things. A good system would require minimum attention, and one doesn't have to be very awake to carry it out. You just follow the system. A well designed personal organization system will take all the things to keep track of out of your mind, and down on pieces of paper or lists or in computer programs, or whatever it is that works. And you can just relax and concern yourself with more interesting things, trusting that the system is keeping track of things for you.

It is almost like it is a step in human evolution. If we're smart enough, we can potentially free ourselves from repetitive work and unnecessary stress. We figure things out well once, and then hand most of the job over to a system of some kind. And if it at some point is found not to work so well, we change the system. But we'd spend most of our consciousness on the things in life we actually enjoy spending it on, rather than on solving the same problems over and over again. So, maybe, if we successfully offload more of our lives to automation, we might pass on to another level of evolution.

I don't know. That's an idea. I can't say that I typically find rich MLM people or super neat people terribly evolved or worthy of admiration. But there's something to it somewhere. Some kind of message that we'll only survive if we can manage to offload bigger chunks of our lives into automated systems. Or there just isn't enough hours in the day to making a living and keep track of all you want to keep track of. A lot of us are drowning in things to do, and don't have a chance of doing it all the hard way.

As I said, I haven't really figured this out in some key areas of my life. I tend to end up doing most things the hard way. I work for a living, and the moment I stop or slow down, my checkbook is empty. And my desk is crowded with paper. I don't always remember to pay bills, and I often can't find where I put certain papers.

I do notice that some people do these things fairly naturally and effortlessly. Their desks are clear, and when something needs doing, they don't just volunteer to do it. They typically will find the way of doing things that requires as little involvement of their time and resources as possible. I need to study how that works.

Doing more with less. That's what I think I'm talking about. The right system can leverage your energy to you get the most done of what needs to be done, using the least possible resources. Which then can be free for other endeavors.

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12 Sep 2003 @ 19:26 by repsyche : many into one
laughed at and learned from the economics lesson.

agree with ideas of creating systems to manage repetitive functions etc. practically we've tried to get rid of everything we don't need first and then work out ways to achieve our aims/standards - we have been trying to run our household on these principles for the last few years, but it is an ongoing honing process as your systems have to evolve as well. practically, this could be hanging all your keys in one safe place to completing mundane domestic tasks as much as possible from monday to friday, leaving the weekend for creative and more expansive pursuits.

don't think systems approach is big in basic education over here, perhaps other countries are more forward thinking.  

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yep, its going with the flow, create things with a bit of fun and smile hmmm*.. look you see me i go with the moment to moment and not worry about what next and all the this and that, I just learn how to add a spark to everything i do, infact i do things i really enjoy doing, and for me it becomes simple, its called a *touch of class*  

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