I think of personal systems as intelligence built into habits. The effects of small, day-to-day actions accumulate and either make our lives (and the lives of those around us) better or worse.
The word “system” might have negative connotations for some, implying an overly mechanistic approach to life, one that precludes spontaneity and improvisation. My view is that having a good system for living can actually free up time, resources, mental energy, and willpower to pursue creative endeavors, adventures, play, civic involvement, relaxation, contemplation, etc.
On a social/political level, the word “system” has even more powerful negative connotations. “The System” is the monolithic, all-powerful machine of society that crushes our individuality and forces us into wage labor. To some extent that’s true. We live in the Corporate Age; large corporations influence lawmakers to dismantle labor rights, relax environmental regulations, and so on. But there are other forces at work too, those that push for a brighter future for humanity. We often underestimate our power as individuals and small groups to make positive changes and fight the forces of greed, entropy, and willful ignorance. Those efforts are the “social systems” that interest me.