Category: Systems



Given that productivity is personal, your tools have to be a personal fit too. They’ve got to fit like that favorite pair of stilettos. What usually happens is that people choose the latest and greatest thing to hit the market and often because of its bells a whistles. They’re attracted to the fun perks, but not necessarily looking at what it offers them in terms of staying on point and on purpose.

Think about tools from the hardware store. There are tools for different things and each is uniquely suited for a particular task. Some might be for multiple tasks. Productivity tools are no different. Tools serve and support and will help you get through your day if you have something that’s a fit and that can do the heavy lifting.

What tool do you use on a daily basis to help you stay on task? Some people use their phone, at least to some extent and others use paper tools. You may not have a designated personal tool and you might use a bit of everything. Take inventory of what you are using now. Is it working for you? If not, in what ways does it not work? Making note of what isn’t working will show you where your gaps are. Make a quick list of those gaps. Then determine if what you’re using is a fit for you. Your personal tool should be a fit for your Productivity Persona. If your persona is more conducive to digital tools, then paper is going to be a challenge for you. Your Persona might indicate that a combination tool is what works best for you.

If you have to find something new, make sure you do your homework. Be sure that what you choose has the features you’re looking for, otherwise you’ll end up with something that can’t serve you. The tool you choose is the first piece of your personal productivity system and is a key piece, so choose wisely. Take a close look at what you have, what you need and look at what’s available to see what fits and will do the job. In addition to your personal tool, take look at digital pieces that serve as good add ons. I recently updated my list of favorite tools that I use and recommend and shared it in my Productive Alchemy Facebook group. If you’re looking for recommendations, you’ll find it there in the files section.

 

 


Time is an elusive thing. It’s slippery and that’s one thing that makes it hard to get it all done. Hard to wrap your head around and you simply can’t lay your hands on it. It’s intangible. “Time management” can be a hard puzzle to piece together. Until you let go of how you see this thing we call time and take a personalized approach.

You are the reason you aren’t getting things done. Who you are has everything to do with why it’s not happening and it’s also what will help you discover how to knock things off your to do list with ease. You see, your Productivity Persona reveals how you relate to time and your strengths and weaknesses around it. When you look at who you are in that sense, what you’re good at and where you struggle start to make sense. Not being able to stay focused, over analyzing things to point of not taking action and lacking follow through are connected to personality traits.

If you’re like most people, no one ever told you anything about getting and staying organized or managing yourself around time. We are taught many things when we’re young but these two things are just not in the mix, so unless you have a natural disposition toward these things and have these abilities, you don’t have a clue and nine times out of ten, your latter school life and professional life suffer. Right now, if you still haven’t figured out how to deal with time, your business is probably suffering because you’re flying by the seat of your pants daily.

You learned how to tell time but didn’t learn about how to deal time, you just basically picked up your productivity abilities though osmosis. What you came to know was that time runs the show. You learned that by watching everybody else under its rule and you did the same thing. Time is running the show and you’ve given all of your power over to it. This is one reason why people struggle.

Another reason people struggle is that they don’t understand that they have a relationship with time and that it has to be considered. Getting things done means being able to reach for the things beyond ordered space and life, time for the things that matter most. Having that reach is empowered with the knowledge of who you are when it comes to time. Placing yourself at the core of it all is how your tools get chosen, processes get created and tasks get identified. Your Productivity Persona reveals your path to optimum productivity. It’s not about anything outside of you, but about putting who you are in the mix.

Optimum productivity doesn’t happen with that linear approach to time or the one size fits all boxed solutions or remedies. Your system should be built with you having explored who you are in depth. It starts with you. Productivity is personal. You can make it personal by starting with finding out who you are in your relationship with time. Take this quick quiz to learn your Productivity Persona.

 


Lotus PoseOne reason most solopreneurs start their own business is because they want freedom and flexibility.  They want to be able to run the show and at the same time be able to take time off when they choose for fun and family.  This sounds ideal and it can be, but one big challenge that solopreneurs face is that they’re doing everything themselves.  They start out that way and things tend to stay that way, which doesn’t allow much time for the fun and family, so they end up without the freedom and flexibility they were looking for when they started.

If you really want that freedom and flexibility that you were looking for when you started your business, your business has to run smoothly and it has to be able to run without you in the mix.  Can you say that right now if you chose to take a few days off that things would keep moving along?  If not, there are three things that you can do starting right now that will help you keep things up and running.

First, create systems that will help you streamline things.  Most people cringe at the thought of creating systems because they think systems have to be big, complex and cumbersome.  Truth is, they really don’t.  A system has three components: processes, tools and people.  That’s it, and the components can be as simple or as complex as you like.  Place your focus on determining the processes within each, the tools that will be necessary to perform those processes and the people who will use the tools to carry out the processes.  Creating the systems that you need to keep your business running smoothly will cause you to invest some time, it’s not something that can happen over night, but it’s not something that has to take an extended period of time either.  Invest the time in yourself and in your business to take the steps necessary to determine and then set up the systems that will support you on a daily basis.

Once you have the systems created and up and running, document what you do and how it’s done so that you end up with standard operating procedures manual that anyone can follow to get the job done.  If you keep the procedures updated, anyone should be able to review a procedure and perform the designated task without a problem.

Another step in taking on the challenge of doing everything yourself, is to begin to delegate.  Let’s face it; you started your business not only for that freedom and flexibility, but to make money.  You can’t make the money that you want to make if you’re occupied with tasks that aren’t making you money.  Look at the things that you do on a regular basis and determine whether or not you have to be the one to do each.  Ask yourself if you are the only one who can do this and if the particular task is the best use of your time.  If the task at hand doesn’t require your knowledge or expertise, it belongs in the hands of a capable, trusted individual so that you can focus on the revenue generating things.  Delegating for some is not an easy thing to do.  Letting go can be a process in and of itself which is fine, the important thing is to let go of the things that don’t require your time.

If you haven’t invested in a virtual assistant, consider doing so.  If you don’t want to go that route, find a college student looking to fulfill an internship requirement. Make sure that whomever you choose has the skills to perform the job that you’re asking them to do.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that the time that it will take to train this individual will be time that you can spend on doing the things that you’re teaching them to do.  Use the operations manual that you create during your systems set up to guide them through the processes you’re introducing them to and make adjustments in the procedure where necessary.   The time that you spend teaching is time invested in your business and your bottom line.

 


WomanandGearsOne reason most solopreneurs start their own business is because they want freedom and flexibility.  They want to be able to run the show and at the same time be able to take time off when they choose for fun and family.  This sounds ideal and it can be, but one big challenge that solopreneurs face is that they’re doing everything themselves.  They start out that way and things tend to stay that way, which doesn’t allow much time for the fun and family, so they end up without the freedom and flexibility they were looking for when they started.

If you really want that freedom and flexibility that you were looking for when you started your business, your business has to run smoothly and it has to be able to run without you in the mix.  Can you say that right now if you chose to take a few days off that things would keep moving along?  If not, there are three things that you can do starting right now that will help you keep things up and running.

First, create systems that will help you streamline things.  Most people cringe at the thought of creating systems because they think systems have to be big, complex and cumbersome.  Truth is, they really don’t.  A system is has three components: processes, tools and people.  That’s it, and the components can be as simple or as complex as you like.  The most important thing is determining the processes within each, the tools that will be necessary to perform those processes and the people who will use the tools to carry out the processes.  Creating the systems that you need to keep your business running smoothly will cause you to invest some time, it’s not something that can happen over night, but it’s not something that has to take an extended period of time either.  Invest the time in yourself and in your business to take the steps necessary to determine and then set up the systems that will support you on a daily basis.

Once you have the systems created and up and running, document what you do and how it’s done so that you end up with standard operating procedures manual that anyone can follow to get the job done.  If you keep the procedures updated, anyone should be able to review a procedure and perform the designated task without a problem.

Another step in taking on the challenge of doing everything yourself, is to begin to delegate.  Let’s face it; you started your business not only for that freedom and flexibility, but to make money.  You can’t make the money that you want to make if you’re occupied with tasks that aren’t making you money.  Look at the things that you do on a regular basis and determine whether or not you have to be the one to do each.  Ask yourself if you are the only one who can do this and if the particular task is the best use of your time.  If the task at hand doesn’t require your knowledge or expertise, it belongs in the hands of a capable, trusted individual so that you can focus on the revenue generating things.  Delegating for some is not an easy thing to do.  Letting go can be a process in and of itself which is fine, the important thing is to let go of the things that don’t require your time.  If you haven’t invested in a virtual assistant, consider doing so.  If you don’t want to do that route, find a college student looking to fulfill an internship requirement. Make sure that whomever you choose has the skills to perform the job that you’re asking them to do.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that the time that it will take to train this individual will be time that you can spend on doing the things that you’re teaching them to do.  Use the operations manual that you create during your systems set up to guide them through the processes you’re introducing them to and make adjustments in the procedure where necessary.   The time that you spend teaching is time invested in your business and your bottom line.

 


businesswoman on hurryRecently I had a need to reach out to a few people who provide graphic and branding services.  I did my homework as usual then narrowed down my list before making connections.  I have to say that what I thought was just my normal process didn’t exactly yield what I was looking for.  My usual experience is that when I reach out, people reply to my email or return my phone call.  That is not what happened.

I sent two emails on Sunday afternoon because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make the call on Monday given how my day looked.  Between Tuesday and Wednesday I made calls to three other resources, and didn’t reach any of them but left my number and email address with details as to the reason for my call.  I heard back from absolutely no one.  Needless to say by Thursday I was pretty frustrated and wondering if I should start my process over again and reach out to others on the original list I had made.  On Friday I was able to connect with one of the people I had emailed to find out that it had been a crazy week for her, which was the reason for her not getting back to me.  That was two weeks ago and you know that none of the others ever connected with me.  These days people are so caught up in things, they don’t even know which way is up and aren’t able to manage themselves.

Clearly, these folks are in a position where they aren’t running their business, their business is running them.  The observation from that experience is that so many business owners have full plates and clearly are struggling to manage it all.  But if you are struggling to manage yourself, how are you serving your clients?  I mean, really, not even a quick reply to an email or returning a phone call, seriously?   If you’re in a space where you can’t even return a phone call then it’s definitely time to do something different. Not being able to respond doesn’t give people the greatest impression of you, especially potential clients.  How is your business going to survive if you aren’t able to manage communications well?

Now, I get that many are a one-woman show–I am too for that matter, but there is such a thing as putting measures in place to give you the necessary support to run your business and actually be of service instead of flying by the seat of your pants. If you are struggling to manage it all, get some systems in place to support you.  Stop the madness! Some hear the word “system” a either panic or just tune out altogether.  Systems aren’t complicated.  Did you hear me?  Well, let me say it again…systems are not complicated.  People make them complicated.  A system is simply a series of processes, the tools to support the processes and the people to perform the tasks.  That’s it, three components and nothing more.  A good communications system contains the well thought out processes, tools and people to manage incoming email, calls and ongoing communication with existing clients, colleagues and vendors.  If you’re a one-woman show, take a step back and make the time to create your communications system and implement it ASAP.  If you can’t be the one to handle everything find a solution for it.  It can be as simple as an automated reply that lets people know that you’ll get back to them within 24 hours, passing the email on to a virtual assistant to handle, or having a VA handle your email allowing you to reply to those that only you can address.

I think that you’ll agree that communication is vital in any situation and if you’re dropping the ball with your clients, you’re setting yourself up for an epic fail.  One that can be difficult to recover from.  How you manage your business impacts your reputation as well as your bottom line.  I’m sure that if you’ve had the type of experience that I had or a similar one, you wouldn’t want to do business with those particular folks because, like me, you can anticipate what your experience of working with them would be like just from the initial experience you had of them. Bottom line, either you’re running your business or your business is running you.  If you’re looking for some help to jump start the process in creating your communications system, get my complimentary Key Business Systems package here.

 

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