Gifts of Joy: Systems

GJ Systems

Welcome to the fourth blog post of the Gifts of Joy series where we share strategies for finding and sharing joy this Christmas.


The buzzword “Systems” seems to be all the rage with business and marketing gurus from Michael Hyatt to Chalene Johnson. We hear that the answer to productive living is getting better systems in place in your life.

Working in publishing for 8 years, I saw firsthand the importance of systems. I was hired as a Ministry Consultant and responsible for designing programs for our Nation-wide network of leaders. In my position, I had a flexible system that I worked from because every week was different. However, the editorial side of my team had a system called the Editorial Production Calendar. This is what the writers, editors, copy editors, and designers lived by. I was also part of the their system!

I often bucked their system when I didn’t turn in articles or return manuscript revisions by their calendar due date. Looking back, I see where I valued my time and obligations more than I valued “the system” or my peers. However, my perceptions of their system quickly changed two years later when I became a team leader.

When I saw how important the production schedule was for my team’s success, my attitude changed! From that point on, I did what I could to make sure my actions didn’t interfere with the system. Also, I had an amazing team with an editor that was a systems master. Not only did I not want to interfere with the system, but I respected the Editor so much that I wanted to do all that I could to see the editorial side and system succeeded. When an outsourced curriculum was placed on our team due to the recession, the system we had almost handled the additional responsibilities. We used the system to prove that our team needed more editorial help if we were to effectively produce additional curriculum. Also, we showed that our team’s system could only do so much before the process could crash from overload.

A system not only is a way to be more productive in the workplace, but when you have clear systems in place at home you are better able to manage your personal life and make time for those things in life that bring you joy. It also helps you identify those things that rob you of your time.

I really struggled when I left my job to be a stay at home mom, because the systems that I had relied on at work no longer kept me on task. When I started my own social media consulting business 5 years ago, I had to set up some systems to get the work completed in my job and at home.

Think of the current systems in your life. You might fall into one of two areas- a System’s Master or a Systems Mess-er (those that mess up systems) or you might be a bit of both.

Most likely, you follow a system every morning without even thinking about it- get out of bed, get in the shower, turn the water on, get wet, shampoo hair, condition hair, wash body, rinse, dry off, blow dry hair, and finish getting ready for work. Your morning and evening routines are systems that you have created in your life.

Take a moment and think of other systems you may need in your life. What are the systems you could create to make your life more productive and make more time for doing the things you love which will bring you JOY. The goal is to systemize the mundane things to be more fully engaged in your relationships.

Christmas is a great time to create systems. As we discussed yesterday, this month like no other month, brings added expectations and responsibilities that can overwhelm even the best of systems and humans.

The Gifts of Joy Challenge is to seek to simplify a system that involves others over the holiday season. This might be helping a family member get ready for a holiday gathering, creating a family calendar for December, or planning sit down meals with your family at certain times during the week. Whatever system you think will bring you and yours joy this Christmas season.

What systems come to your mind?

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