Systematically Failing

I have learned much about myself through introspective thought. My need to create a system to reign in the chaos around my life–and the subsequent failure of each system tried–has created a kind of numbing toward the inadequacies of all existing systems and their ability to suitably solve many of my problems.

Systems that implement a broad spectrum of principles to fit many individuals, I have learned, do not work when applied to my personal situation.

Ultimately, this is not a failure of those systems, but rather a failure of my self to accept a system that has worked for many other people.

The Problem with the Systematic Approaches

Life is a wondrous thing. Springing from a place of chaos, the creation of life depends on an unfathomable number of variables.

To take a cookie-cutter approach to solving life’s riddles is to belittle the vast system that is life.

Not all minds are created equal, which reflects the beauty of all living things in the universe. Systems created for the “average” mind work only for that infinitesimally small portion of humanity.

The problem with the systematic approach stems, in my opinion, from the inflexibility inherent in the system.

Flexibility or Failure

To say that any one system could provide a set of answers to any and every situation that may arise would be more than naive.

But, the naiveté can be used to contemplate such a system, capable of adapting itself to any given situation with mathematically predicted results.

In order to conceive of a system such as this, I must first ask myself why I think that previous systems have failed.


Any one system for organizing and dealing with all of the “stuff” in an individual’s life must be vast and contain a learning curve for the individual.

I have found that one of the flaws with this type of system is the “all or nothing” principle. Simply implementing a portion of the system, or attempting to mix and match portions of various systems, inevitably results in the failure of the individual to properly receive the benefits proposed.

A system aimed at everyday life for ordinary people may not require radical changes in thought processes or habits, but often they do. The human brain is malleable, but changing the way someone perceives the world can take a drastic amount of energy.

The perfectly personalized system should be implemented with the least amount of impact to the individual as possible.


Often I find myself staring at a list of to-dos and my brain does not associate the task with the benefactor of the result.

There is little I record which pertains solely to myself, so the social aspect of each task needs to be reinforced.

If I commit to a task for another person, they are provided no updates, thoughts or any way to encourage or otherwise interact with me regarding the task.

The perfect system would include a social accountability aspect that is easily understood and provides detailed information about the task at hand.


95% of my waking life is spent in front of a computer or within reach of my smartphone.

Many of the existing systems do provide cross-platform tools, which encourage the individual to focus on the current goals. But the fact remains that there is 5% of the time where I am out of touch with my priorities.

The perfect system would be everywhere that I am at all times.


This is an awfully broad concept, but it is one that needs to be touched upon.

There are many factors which feed into being able to accomplish your goals, that are simply disregarded by most systems. This is a sampling of ones that spring to mind:

  • Where you are
  • Your level of energy
  • Historical completion time of similar tasks
  • The time of day weighed against historical values of productivity in that time frame

The perfect system would have to take all of these factors into account when presenting the individual with the tasks that are presently important. This would provide a bit of acceleration to the overall listing of tasks, and tailor the results of the tasks for the optimum physical situation of the individual.

Not All Systems Are Created Equal

To have a system that would encompass each of the things listed here, and the many other aspects that come to mind when going through this intellectual exercise would be an amazing feat. Many systems implement some of these features, but there is no one master system that could easily evolve along with the individual once put in place.

  • Isis

    You washed the sheets yesterday… which was one less thing for me to deal with when I got home… thus I had slightly more time and energy than I would have otherwise, had you not washed the sheets… and I used that energy to “reward” you… It’s just too bad the reward system isn’t more immediate. 😀

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