Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I had dinner with Sparky and a couple of friends of hers the other night. It was a great night as we talked through many topics.

One topic that came up: Are you a system person? (feel free to let me know)

I mentioned a site where a 70+ year old man, fully clothed, demonstrated how to have a shower. I was entertained by this man demonstrating how to shower - he had a system. Start at the head and work down.

From this, the question of how you put on your socks and shoes was raised. I have no system. I put on either sock and either shoe. Sometimes sock, sock, shoe, shoe. Other times it can be sock-shoe, sock-shoe. There is no left first then right or vice versa.

I discovered that night that the world is built up of two types of people. Those with systems and those without.

Thanks people!!!!! I have spent the last two days and nights observing what I do and thinking "is this a system? Do I do this like this everyday?"

I can conclude after my extensive study of myself that I have a system of avoiding systems. I did dabble with the idea of putting the washing in the washing basket from the machine in a particular order. That was nuts. I stopped after 3 days.

Actually I realise that I have a system for putting my washing on the line - all shirts together, all socks together etc. I would have to say that is my most obvious attempt at having a system. Only this system is to help put clothes away.......sometimes it doesn't work.

I don't shower, as the 70+ year old man does, top down. I almost have a system in the shower but it is so dependent on the facts of hair washing, underarm shaving etc. Everyday is different. I have a basic system - take clothes off, shower, dry, put clothes on.

If I am that basic, I have a system for socks and shoes. Socks always on before shoes. I find it is hard to get socks on after shoes.......I don't think that this counts.

At one point last year Frogdancer got me onto the Fly Lady website. This website is meant to get your life under control. I think I started stressing more as I hadn't done everything on the list each day. This website encourages the development of morning routines, afternoon routines and evening routines. Now don't get me wrong. I have routines. I'm just not that systematic about them.

At Uni we were encouraged to develop a system in our teaching. Make sure every lesson you have a certain type of activity to calm the class down etc. I also did a Kodaly teaching course a few years ago which encouraged the development of systems in teaching.

I can't do that. I have a plan of what I am going to do that lesson - sometimes even that week - but this can change according to where the kids are. I can throw plans out the window very quickly when I realise that there is no point moving from something as understanding is not at a basic level. I am an excellent teacher without systems.

Yes I do have an entry system to my classroom. Juniors have to line up. I wait for quiet and then we all enter. I mark the roll and give a brief outline of the lesson ahead. Seniors we come in quietly. I explain the lesson ahead and mark the roll while they are working on something. That's it. I also have the system of collection of work from students. It is done as I mark the roll so that the work is in alphabetical order - it makes marking easy.

I have almost stressed over the last few days thinking if I have a system in any area of my life. Then I have wondered should I have one? But then I have looked at friends I know who have rigid systems - and yes I do have them. Some of them have no freedom to alter their plans as the systems are so entrenched. It does make for entertaining observation when I go to visit them.....I am thinking back to last week........sorry back with you now.

I realise that I have systems for work related things that I find boring. Behaviour modification, correction, reports etc. Everything else I have a few different ways of completing things but there is no real system.

I do have a system for each day though.......I write lists of things to do - but that's a whole new story.


Anonymous said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with that last bit about having systems for things that you find boring. While some people thrive on routine, others can't stand it. Ff you want to get a specific task accomplished on a regular basis, however, (for example, exercising), it's best to have a system. That doesn't really apply to things you have to do (putting socks on) or things you want to do because no matter how you do it, it'll get done.

I have some systems. I used to shave my right leg first in the shower, so now I'm trying to balance it out by doing my left leg first! I almost always wash my face first in the shower. I don't like going to the bathroom with my shoes on, so if I'm leaving the house, it's bathroom-shoes. I used to hate putting pants on before putting socks on, but, after living in Florida for 7 years where I only wore socks when I absolutely had to, I'm done with that system.

To make this comment even longer (!), once I have a routine in place, I do not like altering it. When I used to ride the bus to school growing up, and we had a substitute bus driver who didn't know the route, it drove me crazy when they went the wrong way or when the other kids tried to give them bad directions.

Frogdancer said...

I gave Flylady the flick quite a while ago. You can tell by the state of my house.
I still like her calenders though. I'd better order one, come to think of it.

scottsabode said...

"Organisation" is actually a category on my blog...

Laura Jane said...

I am a bit sytem-y.

I do shower from top to bottom.

I do get my paperwork sorted thoroughly at work. I am systematic in my approach to many things at work.

But at home....I am rabidly anti-system, to my detriment I'm afraid.

Fascinating topic

Vanessa said...

I am a system person but it's mostly to improve speed and be sure I don't miss anything. I'm all for saving water!