Observing A System

The thing about systems is that we all have them, even people who believe they are the absolute worst at systems. What these people lack is an honest look at their systems.

An Example: Laundry

Each day I go out of the house with clean clothes. This is a desired effect, so obviously there is a system that works here. (Yay me) If I were asked to describe my system I would name my laundry basket, the washing machine, my drying rack and the closet. Yet if I look closely, sometimes there is dry laundry on the line for days, or it sits folded in a basket, or there are piles of already worn but undirty clothes on the chair in my bedroom, mixed in with stuff that belongs in the laundry basket. These elements also belong in my description of the laundry system, though they are undesired.

In reality my system is this clean clothes come out of the closet or a basket, I wear them and when I get undressed at night I throw them over the chair, sometimes I also put clothes that need to be washed into the laundry basket. When my planner tells me it is laundry day sometimes I collect all dirty clothes from the chair and the laundry basket and sort them into light and dark. The still to be worn clothes go into the closet, or stay on the chair. Sometimes I wait until “I have nothing to wear”. I wash a load. Sometime that day I also hang the laundry. It needs about a day to dry, depending on time of year. At some point, Friday evening or on the weekend when the drying rack is in my way I fold laundry and put it into a basket which I put in the bedroom next to the dresser. Sometimes I sort all the things into their places in the closet.

It’s a lot messier and not my ideal system, but it is a system and it works to do what it should, give me clean clothes. Optimizing it so that it is less messy and includes more desired behaviors is another matter.

Leave a Reply