A COPE System is the secret to getting more done with less stress.
The foundational concepts I’ll share are found in David Allen’s book Getting Things Done.
This series will present an adapted version, geared towards real world use for gym owners, entrepreneurs or other professionals.
Needless to say, I like systems … I like the idea of building a machine that helps me navigate through the complexities of life.
Imagine you have a full time assistant by your side 24 hours a day. Whenever you need to remember something important, you tell your assistant, who will remind you. When you’re working on a project, they hand you a project file with everything you need for that project. When you’re done, you hand it back and forget about it.
A good system does that, and more. Yes, you could hire an assistant. But most don’t have the resources for that … and besides, when you build a COPE System, you’re building an ASSET that pays dividends for years to come.
One of the biggest problems for business owners and professionals of all kinds is OVERWHELM. Too much to do, not enough time. A good COPE System replaces overwhelm with clarity and organization.
The big question is, HOW DO YOU COPE?
Well there are 4 COPE disciplines that you have to have in place to win this game.
- Capture – capture all of life’s inputs into a single location.
- Organize – clarify what’s been captured, and put it where it belongs.
- Plan – determine what’s most important and should be prioritized.
- Engage – do the work with 100% presence and focus.
Each step is like it’s own mini world, and if you treat each one as a specific skill, things work better.
Here’s how it all works:
As you go through your life, to-dos, requests, important ideas, etc., all pop up into your present moment. If you’re busy, this happens continuously. Rather than dealing with them all in the present moment, being pulled and distracted, you Capture them in a notebook, your phone, task management software, doesn't matter… but it MUST be the same place every time. Now, your brain can relax, knowing that the important thing is in a dedicated place, ready for review when YOU are ready.
Your Capture List grows throughout the day. Now, some things require immediate action, I get it, but the beauty of capturing is getting it out of your head.
Then, after your work day (or throughout the day if you’re exceptionally busy), you pull up that Capture List, and Organize everything. You decide what can be discarded, or completed or delegated. Then you move the items to the right place so you see them at the right time. Ask questions like: Is this an action? Can I delegate it? When/where do I need to see this next?
You put everything where it goes.
Then on a daily/weekly/monthly rhythm, you Plan. You go high level, pull back and see the whole picture, and determine what’s most important to work on NOW. What is it that needs to happen by the end of the day, tomorrow, this week? What projects need your focus?
After you determine the most important things, you Engage them. The goal is to be 100% focused on what you’re doing. This is a skill, which of course gets better with practice.
At first, there will be friction getting these habits up and running. It’s a serious challenge. But when your COPE System is in place, you save time, increase effectiveness, eliminate stress, feel empowered. Over time, it will be as though you have superpowers.
We’ll be taking a deeper dive into Discipline #1 – Capture, in my next blog.
The Level Method provides experienced gym owners with a visual, step-by-step fitness progression system that’s fun, engaging, and easy-to-use so that regular folks in your gym can reach their fitness goals faster and safer than ever before and become raving fans of your gym.