Tag Archive: 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.



work-deskTime is our most precious resource and honestly, you cannot afford to waste it. You aren’t going to get any more time during the course of each day, so it’s up to you to maximize what you have and manage yourself well around it.

I’m sure there are a few things that you can think of right now that are wasting your time every day that you would love to be rid of. Things that have been keeping you from getting it done. I’m going to share five ways that entrepreneurs waste time and give you solutions for moving beyond them.

What are your day to day experiences? Every day there are so many things going on that if you’re not careful, your day will have control of you and you won’t have a say in how anything goes. On a daily basis people are caught up in the everyday to-dos of business and family, multiple devices, overloaded inboxes, tools and tasks, friends, followers, fans and other connections. I’m sure you can you relate to at least a couple of things in that list and that you’ve been in the midst of what I just described.

Of course this is what you want to shift away from, so let me dive into the 5 ways that I see entrepreneurs wasting time.

  1. Doing irrelevant things-Focusing on the mail, some social media, the accounting, the marketing, etc., wastes time and takes you away from the important things. Focus on the revenue generating things and delegate the things that don’t require your specific expertise.
  2. Doing the right things inefficiently. Efficiency is doing things the right way and effectiveness is doing the right things. So here the problem is being effective, but not efficient. Once you know what to do, approach things in a way that lets you be productive. A good example is having a process for repetitive tasks instead of reinventing the wheel each time.
  3. Spending time-If you don’t know exactly where your focus should be, then chances are you’re focusing on the wrong things daily. You’re spending time versus investing it. Identify your priorities so you know what’s important to have your tasks be an investment of your time.
  4. No systems-Lack of systems will not only leave gaps, but will have things falling through the cracks. Systems are composed of tools, processes and people, they don’t have to be complicated. Determine what systems you need and then create each component for each system and implement it.
  5. Technology-Email and social media are two of the biggest time wasters so you need rules for both. Use inbox tools to manage email and set designated times to check it. Have a plan for social media and use it. Delegate a portion of it to make it easier to make your time on social media focused, deliberate and intentional.

Start with one time waster, apply the solution, and then move to another. Keep moving until you eliminate your time wasters.



Your Disorganized Mind

Being organized begins with your state of mind, so before you can get organized, you’ve got to shift gears mentally.   To shift gears you have to make a conscious choice about how you want to work. It’s really easy to be clear about what you don’t want or how you don’t want to work.  By nature it’s easier for us to determine what’s “wrong” or what we don’t like about something.  It’s quite another to be clear about what you do want, but necessary if you really want to change a situation.

Of all the things that you were taught when you were young and as you grew into a young adult, you weren’t taught to manage yourself or how to organize our space or our time.  If you’re lucky enough to have some sort of clue as to what to do, then life tends to work better than if you don’t have that clue.  For most, being organized is something that they’ve learned.  You might say “I don’t know how to get organized.” It’s not hard to do and it is possible.  It’s all up to you and your state of mind.

Are you thinking like a disorganized person?  If so, it’s time to shift gears and start to think like an organized person.  What would your life look like if you were organized?  What would it feel like to get through your days being able to get it all done? Get real clear and have a vivid picture of what that looks like.

Then ask yourself why you want to get organized.  Maybe you want to save some time; have time to spend with your family or friends; have time to focus on the money making tasks for your business.  Maybe you want to enjoy that freedom that you know being in business for yourself can give you. Whatever your reason is, allow it to fuel you forward.  Let that be your focus and what drives you.

Once you know why or what your purpose for getting organized is, you can create your foundation and ultimately plan for organizing your space or your time. Your foundation starts with looking at your Productivity Persona™ building your productivity system around that, then creating your plan in writing. Don’t keep it in your head, it will contribute to that disorganized state of mind.  If your Productivity Persona™ reveals that an electronic tool is the right fit for you, get your plan into it and determine the steps that have to happen to accomplish each of your end results.

Making the mindset shift, getting clear about what you want, why you want it and creating a written plan will help you create order in more than one way. Being in action around your plan and your purpose has you operating inside of that space and developing the new habits that you need to get and stay organized so you can do what you love and have time for the things you want.


Save Your TimeAutomation is a beautiful thing! If you’re like me you love technology. A couple of my favorite technology pieces are Evernote and SaneBox. I have some others too. We all have our gadgets that we like that help us do certain things and we have to consciously choose things to support us. Getting things done doesn’t have to be tedious and difficult. You don’t have to struggle.  At times there’s a hesitation because people find technology cumbersome or they’re intimated by it. That doesn’t mean that you have to avoid technology. When you do, essentially you avoid efficiency.

Systems in your business can make a big difference for you and your team on a daily basis. I know that some people get uncomfortable when they hear the word “system”. That’s either because they think it has to be complicated, or that it involved a lot of things and they make up that they’re hard to establish.

A system has 3 components: tools, processes and people. Really simple. All you have to do is the research, homework and testing to determine those components for each of the systems your business needs. Right now ask yourself what systems you need to put in place. Any business should have systems for contact management, communications, marketing, social media, project management, and accounting. That last one is one that you would think everyone would have in place, but I’m here to tell you it’s not. I’ve seen it time and time again and people are losing money because of it.

Look at the things that you do on a regular basis and determine which tasks can be automated to streamline and save time, then look for tools that can serve you and learn how they work to see if they’re a fit for you. Create the remaining system pieces and implement the systems.

Secondly, delegate what you don’t have to do. In other words if the task isn’t something directly related to generating income, delegate it. If it doesn’t require your specific expertise, let it go. That may be hard for some, I know, but it’s necessary. When you delegate and let go of the things that you don’t have to be the one to do, you create the space for more things that generate revenue for you. That’s how you automate and delegate! The most important thing is doing your homework for the tools, and investing time to find the person you can delegate to.



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.


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