Thinking in Systems

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

When I wasn't feeling great earlier this year, I woke up every morning hoping, "I hope this is the day when I'm finally inspired or have the motivation to do what I've been putting off."

I would wish that I would get better by some miraculous miracle or some boost of inspiration.

Eventually, without success, I decided to take matters into my own hands and design a system. Rather than "living on a prayer" I figured I should put in inputs that I think would be helpful and sort of surrender to the outcome.

Caveat: I am not currently using this exact system anymore; but I do think it's quite useful and that's why I'm sharing.

Daily To Dos


One modification of this is something Arsh suggested to me. He started off with a checklist like this but then he modified it so that different tasks had different values. Let's say that meditating in the morning was worth 5 but making bed was only worth 1.

This is a great strategy because then you can add up total amounts for the day for the different tasks you've accumulated AND also add up totals for the week when you do a weekly review. So you could say "This week I got 65 out of a possible 80 points, which is better than last week when I only got 57."

Daily Not To Dos


Don't just focus on what you have to do; but also invert the problem and focus on what you shouldn't do.

Nightly Reflection


"Something I did for fun" was added because a lot of times I forget about that; I just focus on what I need to accomplish for the day / whatever is causing me anxiety and I completely forget to just enjoy the day.

Explanation of Rose Thorn Bud here

Weekly Reflection


Reason I added "Looking forward to..." is so that you can evaluate whether or not I am excited about the upcoming week.

Written: November 16, 2020


  • This article can be paired with "Get 💩done"
  • Scott Adam's "How to fail at almost everything and still win big"