The Lack of a System is Still a System

UPDATED ON NOV 7, 2023 : 311 words, 2 minute read — MISC

The lack of a system is still a system.

ME: “What do you MEAN you don’t have a To-Do list app?!”

I have spent way too many hours reading productivity books, organizing, and trying to optimize the systems that run my life. I have my calendar, To-Do list app, reminders, my “Second Brain” in Obsidian & Notion, SOPs, and more. I’m stuck in my productivity/systems bubble, sometimes I forget the vast majority of people I know manage to live productive & successful lives with nothing but a calendar, if even that.

The lack of a system is still a system, in the same way that the lack of a decision is a form of decision. You chose to delay making a choice. It’s a choice to not expend energy making a system, and let one form organically out of chaos.

In defense of not having a system 🔗︎

“Look at all these idiots without systems, their lives are so inefficient”

…is what I’d like to tell myself to make the many hours invested into my personal systems worthwhile. Unfortunately to not be an F-tier human, I have to try to keep my ego in check.

I have to remind myself that despite not having my “superior” systems in their lives, none of my primitive, system-less friends ever wasted an ENTIRE day alone in a room migrating hundreds of Post-It notes to a digital list. I had my desk^* buried in a layer of the damn things, and I painstakingly digitized every. single. one. I deleted the whole thing a couple months later when I realized it was just a stressful heap. Surprisingly, my life didn’t change at all once they were gone.

A top-down view of my desk, with keyboard drawer buried in a layer of post-its

Sometimes a lack of system, can BE the system.

  • ^*: technically it was the keyboard drawer of my desk, but that didn’t sound nice. It’s my blog, deal with it.

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