To me the biggest advantage of creating systems is that you only have to think about something just once. After that the system can be used by you, or someone else when you have documented it well, and provide consistent outcomes without putting as much thought into it.
Let’s take an example most people can relate to: packing for travel.
Whenever I have upcoming travel plans, the first thing I do is create a new packing project for this trip based on my template (the system I created). Some of the built-in sections include:
- Preparation before packing, like charging batteries, checking if I have enough travel-sized supplies of the products I use on a daily basis and bring clothes to the dry cleaners if necessary.
- Essentials, including passport, credit cards, travel documents, and essential clothes like underwear, trousers, exercise clothes etc.
- Personal Care, which includes all my toiletries.
- Tech essentials, because you can’t forget those Anker chargers and an international travel adapter.
Next, I also have some sections for specific trips of which I will just remove the ones I do not need:
- Summer weather, when I want to make sure I bring swimming shorts and polo shirts.
- Cold weather, for when I really need to make sure I pack that parka and some winter gloves!
- Formal events planned, because I’ve gotta bring that tuxedo with me when we have a night at the Opera in NYC on the planning.
- Entertainment like downloading some shows on my Netflix app or bringing my travel backgammon set.
For the travel day itself I have my on the go section, which includes my refillable water bottle and a Field Notes notebook. Because you want to stay well hydrated on those long travel days!
Last but not least, recently I’ve added a DO NOT FORGET section for things I can definitely not forget for this specific trip, like when I’m bringing Belgian chocolates for friends in the US. This is also why I create this packing project as soon as the trip is on the planning. This way I can just add items when they come to mind.
With all this in place, packing for a trip takes me about 30 min at most these days! And I rarely forget to pack something important.