Have you ever driven home, arrived home, and then realized you weren’t even paying attention as you were driving? That experience is called unconscious competence (one of the four stages of competence) and it can be pretty unsettling in that example, but it’s what you should strive for when you’re creating systems.
Imagine moving through your day and using all your systems and not having to think about it. Sounds pretty great, right?
Here’s how you get there:
The starting point for most things is unconscious incompetence. (There are some people who are naturally good at something like singing or someone who has an effortless green thumb.) But for most of us, when it comes to creating systems, we are unconsciously incompetent. In this stage, you don’t know that you’re not good at something. You remain in this stage until you become…
You’re suddenly aware that you’re not good at something. If it’s a skill that you think you need, this is where the stress and overwhelm come in. You begin to notice that other people are competent at the skill you’d like to acquire. You start to learn more and work toward being…
You’re there! You’ve made it (or so it seems). You’ve worked hard toward being more skilled. It’s exciting and things are flowing more easily, but it’s still time consuming. Being competent zaps your mental energy and takes up more of your day. At this point, there are 2 options. Remain here and continue to exert more effort than you need to or transition to being…
The secret about unconscious competence is that it doesn’t necessarily take extra effort. It takes consistency. With every other preceding step, it takes thought, determination, and effort. But, if the systems you create are ones that in line with the way that you operate, then you’ll end up unconsciously competently following your systems.
If you continue to exert extra effort, it means that you’re still stuck in the conscious competent stage and the system likely needs adjusting.
Take a look at some of the systems you have and see where they fit in the Conscious Competence Learning Model. From there, you’ll have a better understanding of what systems need to be adjusted.