What if you could save an hour a day starting tomorrow?
That’s 5 hours per week, or more than a half-day off. Imagine closing up shop at 11am every Friday without worrying about all the stuff that didn’t get done.
Better yet, imagine getting to take 4 days a week off, and only working 24hrs a week.
You can do that, when you put these 4 business systems in place, and you can do it right now.
Time saving business systems are one of the main pillars of my 4 Day Freedom Formula™, and it’s with systems just like these that you’ll be able to take time off for a massage, your kid’s little league game, or just to sit on the porch and read a good book.
System #1: Proper project management
If you’re still managing your team with email or Heaven forbid Skype messages, like one client was when she came to me, stop it. Things get lost, messages are forgotten (or never received) and balls are dropped. Not to mention, all the time you spend sifting through your endless list of emails for that one piece of information you need, is time that could be better spent on money making activities.
How to Start Project Management
First of all, you need somewhere to manage your projects.
Sign up for Asana today, and start putting all your projects there instead. You’ll have one place to look for tasks that are still outstanding, and be able to tell at a glance what needs your immediate attention.
Before you can start effectively using Asana, you need to get a good idea of what all your projects are. You can do this with a notebook, sticky notes, or my personal favourite — a giant dry erase board.
Document every single project in your business and all the steps that need to happen to make it a reality.
Next to each step, make a note of who is responsible for bringing it to life. This is often overlooked by entrepreneurs who are new to project management. But it’s critically important to figure out exactly what you need to do, what your admin needs to do, and what your designer needs to do.
From there, head on over to Asana and make a new project for every single project in your organisation. You can set these up as ongoing projects or one off projects. I have a project for all of 2019’s content, which is an ongoing project. I have one off projects for each product suite I am building out.
Your steps for each project — or tasks — live inside each project in Asana.
My favourite thing about Asana is the multitude of ways you can use this tool. You can use it kanban style with different boards, as a list, or as a calendar. I switch it up based on the project. 2019 content is setup kanban style, while product development projects are setup as a calendar as each item is tied to a hard and fast deadline.
System #2: Proper documentation
Do you find yourself reinventing the wheel every time you have to record a podcast or upload a video to your blog?
Take 5 minutes and document the steps, then next time you have to do it (or better yet, when you hand it off to a VA) you’ll be able to quickly work out what needs to happen. You’ll make fewer mistakes, and you’ll work faster because you won’t be wondering what exactly you need to do.
How to Document a Process
To get started documenting everything in your business, you can use a screencapture tool and video record you as you do the process. You can use Loom, Snagit, or Camtasia. Speak aloud as you go through each step, explaining as you go.
Next, take your recording, and send it off to Rev.com to get it transcribed. After you get the recording from Rev, go to Process Street and sign up for an account. They have a free account for 5 task templates, and they have a $15/mo plan for unlimited, which is what I use.
Take the transcription, and break out each and every step into its own item with a checkbox. Insert a link to the video, and add a text block, and paste in the transcription.
This way your process will be properly documented for those who like to listen, watch, or read.
When it comes time to implement your system, simply open Process Street, select the system, and click “run.” Process Street will walk you through the steps, document when you started, and when you stopped.
These analytics will become incredibly valuable over time as they’ll show you how long it takes for you to work through a process.
When you bring a new team member onboard, you can add them to your Process Street account, and over time see exactly how long something takes them as well. This will give you valuable information about their efficiency and skill at what you need them to handle.
System #3: Create a business organization chart
If you have multiple people on your team, this is critical. Rather than everyone coming to you for questions—or worse, asking the wrong person and getting the wrong answer—take the time to create an organization chart.
Then, add it to your operations manual and make sure your team knows where it is and what it’s for.
This way, rather than your inbox blowing up with questions all day long, you’ll have time for the more important tasks.
Make sure to include who is responsible for:
- Social media
- Graphic design
- Tech support
- Customer service
- Video editing
- Audio editing
- Web design
- Payment Processors
And explain what their duties are. You may have one person who is responsible for social media posting, while another is responsible for engagement, while another is responsible for reporting. They all need to be on your organisation chart.
System #4: Use time blocking
Time blocking is one of my favourite things to do.
A couple weeks ago I reflected on how I need to get back to having all my related projects happen in a block. My husband laughed and said, “You really like blocking, don’t you?”
YES! I do! Because it fucking works, regardless of your personality type.
All it takes is a little discipline (if you’re not internally motivated) and you can build that into your system.
How to Start Time Blocking
Get out your calendar and start making appointments with yourself. Decide when you’ll check email and when you’ll work on client projects, then stick to the schedule for at least 2 weeks. Use Toggl to track your time spent on each task to see how much time something is actually taking you.
Not only will these self-imposed deadlines force you to get the work done, but they’ll help keep you focused. As a result, instead of wasting time on Facebook, you’ll be working on your business.
After 2 weeks, get out your calendar and your Toggl report, and compare them. See where your time is really going. From there, pivot and refine your system until you’re operating at peak efficiency.
I know, the idea of using a schedule feels weird, and may be extremely uncomfortable. But when you follow a schedule, you’ll be able to work on the right things. You must be disciplined, and you must plan for emergencies, but your productivity will go through the roof.
Furthermore, if you aren’t internally motivated, give yourself a reward throughout the day. Maybe after 2 hour of content development you go for a walk (or check Pokemon, as I do). After a week of sticking to your schedule, treat yourself with a mani/pedi, for instance. Whatever your reward is, make sure it feel like a treat, or it won’t motivate you to use this system.
You can setup each of these systems in an afternoon—at least initially. But the time you will save when you use them consistently is phenomenal.
As a result, an hour a day is just the beginning, but you have to take action. You have to put in the work first, before you can earn the rewards, but the benefits are sweet.
In the end, you’ll wonder how you ever managed before you used these 4 systems to improve your business.
These core foundational systems make up one of the pillars of the 4 Day Freedom Formula™ I teach in Balanced & Bankable, a year long mentorship program to help you earn more, work less, and finally live in balance. Doors open in June.
For more information, head on over to balancedandbankable.com