Many think Nick Saban of the University of Alabama is the best college football coach in the game today. Way back in 2008, Forbes put him on the cover as “The Most Powerful Coach in Sports,” and overall he’s won five national championships. That alone might be enough to convince you he has some pretty good success principles to share. One clue that reveals why he is consistently more successful shows up in how he goes about his life, even down to something as basic as his lunch choices.
No, he’s not a health nut, but he does eat a salad for lunch every day. Let me repeat that. Every single day of the week during the season, he eats a turkey salad. Every day. Why? Because he has found that “it saves him the time of deciding what to eat each day.” The more he can take the thinking out of the things he’s got to do over and over, the more time he saves for more important decisions—like how to coach his team to a win in the next game. What Saban has developed is a personal system of success that works for him and that reduces wasted time and mental energy. He keeps his life simple whenever it can be.
Saban also has a detailed system for every area of his football program. He calls it their “Process.” Everyone involved in his program at Alabama believes that if they all follow the Process, good things will happen. So far, they’re right. In the last 3 years, they have won 40 out of 44 games, 3 conference championships, and a national championship.
It’s an important lesson that winners everywhere apply daily: Why make life harder than it has to be by making it more chaotic rather than less. Why not have a system you can rely on to make things simpler, easier, and more successful each time through? And yet, as I’ve shared before, among the hundreds of people who have taken the Serial Winner assessment, about 60% agree or strongly agree that things aren’t getting easier the more they do them.
If you think you’re one of the 60%, you need to realize you’re missing a great opportunity to streamline and simplify your life. Here’s how your systems could be or should be changing your life for the better.
1. Save You Time and Money
The bulk of life is spent doing things that you do over and over again—at home, at work, in the car, in the grocery store, at the gym, in the shower. The more you can figure out the pattern and method that you like for doing the less important things, the more time and energy you’re going to have for interesting, important, fun, or profitable things. The people who do big things in life work to master whatever they’re doing now so that they can move on to bigger things.
Even mastering the daily, tedious stuff matters. If you don’t have a system, you have to waste time and energy thinking about where to get gas twice a week or how to fold your laundry or whether or not you’re due for a dentist appointment or whether or not you paid all of your bills this month. You also have to waste time remembering to do certain things; when you don’t have a system you find you forget to do some of them—and then they turn into problems.
Start tomorrow by thinking about how to eliminate wasted time in one thing you do. Instead of just doing something, pay attention and try to answer the question, how can I do this quicker or easier next time?
2. Solve Problems Faster and with Less Stress
Problems create stress in our lives: low-level stress for small problems, high-level stress for big. Systems can help nip problems in the bud, but they can also help us deal with them when they do become full-bloom flowers with thorns.
The Cycle of Winning, which I shared in Serial Winner, is a foundational system for working through the common challenges of success, but your system for tackling the specific challenges in your life should be based on how you work best, what you know about your own tendencies, and what resources you have available to you.
3. Give You Control of Your Future
Systems give you an advantage in life.
- They make it much easier to achieve your goals.
- They create clarity.
- They put your education and experience to work for you.
Every time you finish a task or achieve a goal and then spend time thinking about how to use what you’ve learned to achieve your next goal faster, you’re improving your personal systems for success—and shaping your future into something more like what you want.
If you want to take advantage of all the benefits systems can offer, start today with the questions below and over the next month, look for more posts on how to build the most winning systems in your life.
- How do you like to do things?
- How do you tackle the repetitive tasks in life?
- How do you deal with small annoyances in a way that reduces stress?
Answer these (maybe share your answers in the comments) and you’ll find your life gets simpler and good things start to happen.