Once you've made the decision to 'upgrade' your life and get organised and productive one of the first things you will do is set up a 'system' that could be a paper or a digital based one. You then run with your system for a while and begin to get used to the way you capture and process your tasks and projects. However, there is stil one vital element left. That is can your chosen system handle a day when everything goes crazy? And does you system stand up to a stress test?
What I mean by stress test is to find out if your system will work when the s**t really hits the fan and you have blow out days for a week. Can your system really cope when all hell breaks loose in your life. I don't just mean your business life, but also your personal life as well. In the real-world very rarely do things happen at once. You are going to have days when everything hits you all at once. The question you have to ask yourself is; will my system work in these situations?
I've calculated that about 90% of the time my life is pretty normal. Things usually go according to plan and I don't try to over stretch myself with too many tasks. But there are occasional periods when things really do begin to flow and things are being thrown at me minute by minute. The real proof any system is will it cope on those days? Can you capture everything into your inbox? Can you process these captured tasks / projects within 24 hours? Because if you can't do that, then I'm afraid your system does not work and it will leave you back at square one - disorganised and disenchanted.
So, next time you have a crazy day and all hell has broken loose, take some time out when everything calms down and look at ways you might be able to improve your system. For me, the biggest find after I stress tested my system for the first time, was to improve the speed at which I could capture things. My original system relied on my phone to capture everything, after the first stress test, I discovered that this fails when I am under pressure when working on my computer. It was taking too long to get my phone and type in what I needed to capture. I therefore set up all my devices so that capture was quick and easy everywhere. It was a simple solution that took less than fifteen minutes, but it enabled me to be much better the next time I was hit with a crazy day.
So, as the first quarter of the year comes to an end, do a stress test on your stystem to find out if it can cope when all hell break loose.