I used to be under the impression that putting systems in place was only necessary in high technology businesses, engineering firms, production facilities, etc. However, over the years I have come to realize that implementing a system can be as simple as creating an efficient morning routine, or a simple predictable method in the way something is completed. One way to maximize your efficiency and productive capabilities is to systematize as many things as possible so your energy is focused on new tasks and not focused on how the same things should constantly be done.
For example, the late Steve Jobs would wear the same black mock long sleeve t-shirt every day so that his energy and focus was on how to take Apple to the next level, not on what outfit he should wear that day, how long since it was worn last, etc. Now to be clear, I’m not saying to wear the same thing every single day. I think this is an extreme example of putting a system in place in your life, but the principle is clear: we spend too much time on meaningless tasks that will not get us closer to what we are trying to achieve. Take your phone for example. It has a 100% battery capacity (or 60% if you have an android 😜) and what you do on your phone determine’s how much battery you have to do other tasks. How often have you spent a lot of time scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest and realize you burned through 15% of your battery? This may seem insignificant, but when your phone dies as you are out training for a marathon and you can’t listen to music or track your run, you probably wish you had that 15% back that you used wastefully.
I recently read a book called Turn the Page. The entire focus of this book was to teach you how to read (I’m still laughing 3 weeks later at the irony of reading a book to learn how to read). All kidding aside, the goal of the book was to teach reader’s how to get the most from their time spent reading. Little things that you can do as you read to get 3x more out of a book. I won’t give away all of their tips, because it is worth a read, but one thing the authors taught is to dog-ear pages or put post-it notes in pages that would be beneficial to you down the road. Their example was that when they are preparing for a talk and want to pull something out of the book, it will save them a lot of time if the pages they will use stand out from the other 140 pages. Even simple things like this can save a lot of time down the road.
Last week I was having a meeting with a fellow entrepreneur and after chatting back and forth for awhile he asked me a very simple question. He said “From what it sounds like, you run a successful 6 figure business, what differentiate’s yourself from the rest of your competitors in the industry?” My answer, which sparked this blog post, was that I have learned to implement systems in the business to reduce my time input to 10-20% without sacrificing profitability, quality, or effective execution while many of my competitors can not step back from their business and must be involved in the execution phase of their projects.
Now please don’t think that I say that in a boastful way, but as an example of how systems can make or break a business owner. When talking about systems I always refer to the McDonald’s business system. When someone purchases a franchise for a McDonald’s, they don’t do it because they want to be a burger and fry retailer. They invest in it because of McDonald’s proven predictable system to kick off cash flow on a monthly basis. If you’ve never paid attention in a McDonald’s, everything is set up in a systematic way, and all of their restaurants have the exact same layout (fry machine by the drive through, menu board above the cashiers, bathrooms in the back right corner, etc.). This allowed Ray Kroc to franchise their restaurants and have them all run in the same systematic manner as the original store. If you have $1.5 Million laying around, I would strongly suggest opening a McDonald’s franchise. For those of you like myself that are just a tad bit shy, I’d suggest finding a business you can implement your own system into.
To me, the definition of a system is: something that can be put in place to reduce the amount of time necessary to complete a task, to complete a task in a more efficient manner, or to allow others to complete a task without needing input from you. As we approach 2019 and new goals and resolutions are made, focus on systematizing things in your day to day life to allow you to spend more time on the tasks you enjoy and that will put you closer to these goals. Many of the examples in this post involved business, but don’t have the same limited view I had about systems, implement them in your daily and personal lives also.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!