Systems vs Goals

Systems vs Goals
  • Jul 11, 2022

Systems vs Goals

Modern thinking is often geared around achieving goals. Visualising your endpoint.

However the problem with this type of strategy is you are inherently failing until you have reached your stated goal.
So you may end up with a list of 10 failed goals. Not feeling good about the journey. There is a better way.

Systems on the other hand are ways of practising regularly that will improve your performance.

Blind Spot Warning System

You may have a goal to drive safely but have a system that allows you to do so easier.

You can't sell a goal - you can sell a system.

Developing A System

With a system you are not focussing on the end-point. It is more immediate, more present, you get to feel a whole lot better. You're going to feel really motivated by the progress that you're making.

The planning fallacy is a cognitive bias first proposed by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky in 1979. They defined this phenomenon as "the tendency to underestimate the amount of time needed to complete a future task, due in part to the reliance on overly optimistic performance scenarios." What Is the Planning Fallacy, and How Can You Avoid It?

Discouraged by not achieving your goals? The planning fallacy can make you feel discouraged when not achieving goals in your stated time. Systems can be developed to plan better. You may need to be less generous with your time or more realistic with the time a task will take. Before committing to a task use a quick checklist of gotchas you have experienced in the past. Immediately giving an answer to a request may cause you to regret not analysing the situation first. It's ok to say no.

Some examples of Systems replacing Goals-:

A system for passing exams

I know this system works because my results dramatically improved.

Goal: Pass exam with a credit or higher

Replaced by:

System: Improve my retention of information in a shorter space of time

A simple system of thoroughly researched Questions and Answers. With the technique being to only concentrate on items you have answered wrongly.

So much time was previously wasted re-learning items you already knew. This technique forces you to focus only on items you do not know.

A system to deal with your workday

Goal: Get a lot of work done in my workday

Replaced by:

System: Prioritise tasks and create a system emphasising work flow

Part of that system may be-:

  • Not become reactive with email
  • Find your best working time for certain tasks eg. 10am - 12pm
  • Get to a state of flow
  • Manage phone use
  • Physically arrange your environment to avoid distractions (behavioural architecture)
  • Develop stopping cues (it's time to move on or get to a point and revise tomorrow)
  • Time Management Skills

Performance Curve

A system for Networking

Goal: Network for business progress

Replaced by:

System: Integrate networking into your everyday routine

Joining a world-wide networking group taught me the value of networking for a business. It really added value to my business, so much so that within a few months I had no more capacity for new clients and I didn't want to expand myself out of my current job to then become an administrator. Surely there was a better way than a physical meeting with the overhead and cost in time. There was, simply develop a system of networking into your life.

You may find opportunities to network at your local coffee shop. To effectively network practise explaining what you offer in a few simple words.

A system to stay at a healthy weight

Goal: Lose weight and maintain it

Replaced by:

System: Develop a routine (system) that keeps you healthy (you will necessarily maintain weight)

Most people fail in this goal, as did I until I came up with a system that worked for me.

As a surfer on the Gold Coast over the age of 60, I wanted to be able to functionally surf on surfboards "off the rack". Firstly we have warm water and world class waves in abundance. Living 150 metres from the beach helps this personal health system. Stopping at 20 traffic lights prior to enjoying a morning surf is a disincentive. To functionally surf you need enough strength, flexibility and not be too heavy. Practising Yoga and developing your own warm up and warm down routines help.

Burning off your excesses (food alcohol), don't work as well as you get older. Avoid unhealthy activities. Sorry 20 somethings, but once you get past a certain age the weight stays on if you do not eat well.

Discover the foods that work best for you to keep you energised. Feeling light works so much better.

A system for SEO

Goal: Get a site to the 1st page of Google

Replaced by:

System: Develop a system of creating compelling content that excels in Google

As a Gold Coast SEO Company we would rather develop a system for getting a site to the top of Google or a system that makes it easier and cheaper to get a site to the top of Google. Systems are repeatable, much like the art of programming (coding).

SEO content is time consuming to create. It requires multi-disciplinary skill to avoid the overheads of large teams. Small effective SEO teams are better value - you deal directly with the SEO.

Essentially with a bunch of money you could buy your way to the top of Google (not recommended). Alternatively you could develop techniques (mini-systems) for creating genuine content.

Enjoying your workday with a system you have created for that purpose is very rewarding. Flow is a better more productive way to work. Developing a system to enhance workflow in SEO activities like-:

  • Advanced Blogs - the bread and butter of SEO
  • Youtube videos integrated into website and back-end
  • Images and Graphics
  • Social Media Content
  • Effective custom shopping carts
Sources and References

Time Wise: Powerful Habits, More Time, Greater Joy - Dr Amantha Imber Organisational psychologist

What Is the Planning Fallacy, and How Can You Avoid It? -

Taking back control of your time - ABC Radio National All In The Mind

A Gold Coast SEO and Web Developer