Drive on the left. Give way from the right. Don’t hog the middle lane.
This is our ‘system’ for driving in the UK, or ‘the way we drive round here’. Despite having a system, there are still plenty of holdups what with accidents, roadworks and sheer volume of traffic, but just imagine what it would be like if everyone did their own thing.
We all have systems. They form part of our everyday lives – our set way of doing things like getting ready for work in the morning, doing the weekly shop, driving the same route to the in-laws.
Our same way of doing things; our best way of doing things, save us time; they mean we can do them without thinking; they free us up to focus on those things that we can’t do in a systemised way – those things we have to think about.
I often have people say to me, ‘oh we don’t do systems, we’re all about being creative, free-flowing, innovative’. And there’s an assumption in there, that systems are a block to creativity; that they constrict us in some way. Not true, in fact quite the reverse in fact.
Systems keep the nuts and bolts of your business – your invoicing, purchasing, marketing – moving, and form a platform for the creative people to ‘do their stuff’.
Think of a jazz band.
You would never say that jazz musicians are not creative, or that in any piece of jazz music there isn’t plenty of room for improvisation and individuality. But as a band, they all have to play in the same key, they all have to maintain the overall rhythm, and stick to the same beat.
If jazz doesn’t do it for you, think of a baker.
A baker will follow tried and tested methodology for baking the cake to free up their time to try new flavours or to focus on decorating their showstopper. It just makes sense.
Following the system for the basics frees up time for the fun stuff.
Think back to your summer holiday; I bet you went to pack, looked at your suitcase and thought ‘where do I start?’.
Now imagine that you had a list of what you packed last year for your two weeks in the sun. Imagine how much time you’d have saved and how little you’d have forgotten.
Imagine if, on your return, you went to your list and deleted things you hadn’t needed and added things you did need. Imagine how simple next year’s packing would be.
But of course, all too often we lose interest after we’ve done something until it comes round again…
It’s the same with work. Think back to the last time you said to yourself, ‘Now, how did I do this last time?’
Oh if only you could prepare a How To guide for yourself, or someone else you wanted to delegate to – a step by step guide to the best way to get the job done to your high standard?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could record yourself doing an online task, that you or someone you wanted to delegate to could follow easily, to do the job to your high standard next time?
If only you could do that, eh?! How much time would that save you to get on with the fun stuff?
Making the way you do things in your business simple, logical and repeatable, gives you consistency and frees up your time to focus on growing your business.
Do one thing: Pick one routine task in your business and write or record a How To guide for it. Then let me know how you got on.