If your client is struggling to make changes in their habits and routines, creating systems might be a useful strategy to introduce to them. Systems are often repetitive, have multiple variables, and can take the choice out of a situation, thus leaving a client’s willpower available for more challenging tasks. Here are a few examples:

  • A client may have a system for processing their mail right when they walk in the door. Rather than let it pile up, they immediately open their mail, take action on any bills or other items, and recycle or file what they need to.
  • A client may have a system for getting ready in the morning when they have a partner or children. There may be an order to who takes a shower first, who starts the coffee, who organizes lunches for the day, and who drops children off at school.
  • A client may have a system for responding to writing feedback. They may give the feedback an initial read through, set it aside for a week to let it settle, and then read through the feedback a second time to divide it into small and large tasks that they will need to complete.

When helping a client to create a system, it can be useful to first ask them about any systems that they can already identify that work for them. Then, based on the area that the new systems is being created for, you can ask what a client might be able to draw on from the present systems that are already successful.

Breaking a complicated system down into its smaller pieces can help a client to see all the moving parts that go into an effective system. Adding in small components one at a time to a new system is one way to keep the process of building a new system from being overwhelming.