I stumbled across this in Tim Ferriss' new book Tools of Titans (highly recommended) and I think it's the most important concept I've come across in several years. Systems mean there are no dead ends. No time is wasted. When you are the product, the system keeps you moving forward.
Scott Adams does a much better job explaining this:
One of the systems I use ... is what I’m doing right now: blogging.
When I first started blogging, my future wife often asked about what my goal was. The blogging seemed to double my workload while promising a 5% higher income that didn’t make any real difference in my life. It seemed a silly use of time. I tried explaining that blogging was a system, not a goal. But I never did a good job of it. I’ll try again here.
Writing is a skill that requires practice. So the first part of my system involves practicing on a regular basis. I didn’t know what I was practicing for, exactly, and that’s what makes it a system and not a goal. I was moving from a place with low odds (being an out-of-practice writer) to a place of good odds (a well-practiced writer with higher visibility).
This is a 12-min audio excerpt from Tim Kreider's book We Learn Nothing. In it, he explains why being "busy" is bullshit and the steps he's taking to focus his own life.
I've shared this in Swipe File before, but it's worth listening to every now and then.
This is a site to help first-time programmers get involved in open source projects.