The 4 Key Components of a good system

Photo by Robin Glauser on Unsplash

What is it we are trying to achieve anyway?

When I graduated from Uni, I had a temp job at nPower for about 9 months. The job was simple. I had to go through a spreadsheet that was thousands of rows long and detailed failed meter readings. Readings that the system had rejected. I had to look at each row, go into the system and decide if the reading was correct and then manually accept it. If it was wrong, just leave it. The job was not complex. I did not require any kind of to do list or management system to get it done. Not even a calendar and I hardly ever got any e-mails.

  • Collect
  • Organise
  • Plan
  • Execute
Photo by Marissa Grootes on Unsplash


You need a way to make a note of everything that comes your way from multiple sources and potentially at any time of day or night. This could be tasks, ideas, notes & information, events and things happening. They could come from emails, things you read, things you see, adverts on the side of a bus, ideas you have, letters, conversations with people and even dreams. Your ideal means of collection should be available at all times, day or night and you should be able to access it easily. Ideally, you will keep the number of places you log things to a minimum. I have a digital inbox in my task manager & my notes app and I have a note taker wallet & pen in my pocket. The digital inboxes are easily accessible on my phone, tablet and laptop. This is so I can write stuff down without being distracted by other stuff.


I am not going to say that much here. Just the bare basics. You cannot operate with one long disordered list of tasks, notes and events. That would be totally unusable. So you need 4 things. A calendar or diary for events etc, a notes system for notes and ideas etc, a to do list of some kind and a place to keep documents and records. How you organise those different things is the subject of many posts and videos online and it is in large part up to you so I will leave this here.


This is the key step. Once everything is organised, you need a plan. I personally would not use my to do list to plan my time, nor would I entirely use my calendar. The issue is that I like my calendar to be kept clean and only for things that I have to be at or do, or things I myself have committed to. There will be plenty of time in the day that I want to use well, but if everything is on my calendar then I wont use it. So I plan my year, my terms, my months, my weeks and my days. In greater or lesser degrees of focus and detail.


Do the work Mr Wood. Do the work!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store