We’ve all been there: we’re chugging along through the week, everything’s going (seemingly) great and — wham! Something happens that disrupts our flow, our energy (and honestly our emotional regulation).
Suddenly, we’re reacting to what just happened. Maybe it’s a last-minute schedule change. Or, it’s a fire that needs putting out. It could be anything. A fight with our partner, a sick kiddo or a major disappointment at work.
All the balls we’ve been so carefully juggling throughout the week come crashing to the ground and we’re left to pick up the pieces.
This is what happens when we act reactively instead of proactively. We get stuck, we lose our calm or we freak out.
If you want to stop living reactively and start responding proactively, systems are a great way to conserve energy and create more space and time.
Systems: The Remedy for Reactive Living
Systems are the best way to keep our lives on track when something threatens to derail them.
We often have systems in place without even realizing we have them.
A system can be the way you get ready in the morning. How you apply your makeup, do your hair. The order in which you do those things — it becomes easier and easier to complete these tasks when they become second nature.
It’s like highway hypnosis. You don’t need to actively think about signaling, turning, slowing down and accelerating when you’re driving your car. You just do it.
When we’re in that system-state, we’re not using very much new energy; when we’re figuring things out, we’re using a lot of energy.
Systems simply allow us more space to create new things.
Why don’t we live in proactive system-states all the time?
And why are we thrown from one reactive state to another living out various micro-dramas?
The truth is because life is busy. Systems take time and energy to create, so instead we end up trying to juggle life without them. And when we’re juggling all the time? The balls drop.
When those balls drop, we feel bad. We feel guilty. Sometimes we disappoint people, and those people might get upset with us — or they communicate to us, “Hey, this isn’t okay.”
Then we react to them because we already feel bad about what’s going on.
When we become reactive, it feels like we’re fighting life.
It feels like everybody’s coming after us, and we’re barely staying above water. Living life this way doesn’t feel good. And it takes up so much energy, time and mental space.
This is why the path from reactivity to proactivity involves creating systems.
Because the truth is, there’s stuff that has to be done every day. This stuff isn’t always the most fun, but it needs to get done.
Systems allow us to ensure that all the little nuances of life happen without a hitch every day.
And when you have great systems, you can even delegate some things to other people.
The most effective way to finish all the mundane tasks is by using as little energy as possible.
Energetic Exchanges: The Secret Gift (and Curse) of Reactive States
There’s a false sense of power when we’re in a reactionary state.
We may not see it right away, but there’s an energetic charge we get from all this reactivity. When we get frustrated with each other (and ourselves), we exchange negative attention.
Even though this energetic exchange isn’t positive, we still get a charge from it — draining as it might be.
We need to consciously unhook ourselves from this energy and decide that this is not the way we want to expend our energy.
You need to say, “I want to use my energy to create something new and different. To do that, I need to pull my energy back from these things that don’t feel good.”
Systems That Conserve Energy Just Feel Better
Taking the time to create systems that take care of the different areas of your life and approaching them proactively just feels better. And when something happens that has the potential to remove you from that energy, you’ll be so on top of things that these disruptors won’t shake you so much.
People love to jump into your decision-making process when they sense you need help. When you have great systems things flow better and fewer people and frustrations will inject themselves into your life.
When we take a proactive approach, we can really start to access our true power (how we direct our energy and how much energy we use), which is in itself so empowering.
You wouldn’t drive with your foot firmly planted on the gas pedal all the way to your destination; you’d get in a wreck. Systems help you flow through the acceleration and deceleration of life.
Try to notice when you’re in a reactive state versus a proactive state, and try to find ways to implement some systems to make life a little easier.
Creating systems isn’t always easy, but it only takes a few weeks to get a system running really effectively.
Though we implement systems in our business lives all the time, we don’t usually consider creating systems in our personal lives.
Systems really do free you up.
They can help you conserve energy that you can use for creating the things you really want in life.