Here is a personal flaw of mine: if I see a fire in my house, I’ll think “this problem would be a lot easier to solve with a sprinkler system installed.” I will then start designing a sprinkler system instead of, you know, putting out the fire.

I don’t like temporary solutions. I don’t like, in the common business slang, “putting out fires.” I like preventing them. Automating their destruction.

When I run out of some common household good, I don’t pop out to the store and get a replacement. I find a distributor of that product who will ship it to my house on a recurring subscription and then customize my order to my usage, so that I never run out again. I think that’s a good thing overall, except in doing all of that I never actually go out to the store, which means I just won’t have access to some thing I need like shampoo for a week until my first order arrives. (That’s a real thing that’s happened to me.)

A co-worker asked if we could meet up next week to discuss some things. I thought, “I really need a good automated calendar system for internal meetings as opposed to external client-facing ones, and I should build in some preliminary questions so the meetings stay organized, and I need to make sure my calendar is aligned with my working blocs so the meetings don’t distract me from other tasks…”

I started to do all of that, and then I got an email from that coworker checking in, because I’d never actually responded to her and just booked a danged meeting.

Some people – probably more people, honestly – go too far in the other direction. They never design systems for themselves, so they’re permanently in “fire-fighting” mode. I’m honestly terrified of that, which is why I’m so systems-oriented in my thinking. But like all things, you can go too far.

Maybe I’ll design a system for how to analyze problems as they come in and decide if they need a system or not…

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