Transcription of the Systems For Sustainability episode of the podcast Doers Shakers Makers with Sierra Bailey.
[00:05] Are you in a place where you are repeating tasks that you know are time wasters or maybe you’re ready to hire help but are overwhelmed on training someone to do the things for you? Well, today we’ll talk about systems and how creating them will create sustainability in your work and life. My name is Sierra Bailey. Welcome to Doers Shakers Makers, a podcast for go-getters to inspire you in your business and life. So before we even jump into today’s topic of systems, I want to give a big thank you to all of you Doers Shakers Makers who made it out to our Austin meetup this past week. I know it’s sad. Many of you are not in Austin, but as I do live here, I’m going to have meetups locally. That’s very exciting for those of you that do live here, and when I travel, I will try to do them there.
[00:58] So it’s been requested that I aim for monthly. The stay tuned to find out when the next day is. I will announce it both here and in the Facebook group, which if you’re not in the Doers Shakers Makers Facebook group, come on over. We’d love to have you. Speaking of groups, there’s also a Doers Shakers Makers membership group. You can find that in the show notes or at Doers Shakers Makers Network. It is similar to the Facebook group in that we have conversations and a community and a lot of people that are passionate about helping each other succeed. But in addition to that, there are monthly courses, there are habit and productivity challenges and a lot of cool stuff that are only available in that group. So have a look at that if you’re interested. And now let’s get to systems. So let’s start off with what systems are. Systems basically solve consistent issues through the breakdown of tasks into documented repeatable step-by-step processes.
[02:01] Now if you have ever worked for a very large corporation that wants to recreate what their output is over and over and over again, anything from let’s say preparing taxes for H and R block, to working in a restaurant or something like that. You are familiar with what a system is like in operations, there are systems for everything from preparing the service or the food maybe or the product to marketing it, to you name it, there is a system created for that. And that is done for a reason. One, it’s done so that every person that comes to that business gets the same service no matter where they are or who is serving them. And two, because it saves on time and productivity for the employees. So if you have a business that’s quite obvious why it’s important, we’ll get to that a little bit later though. So a system addresses a specific problem or an issue. Once created a system does not require intensive thought or effort.
[03:11] A system is a process or a routine and a system is usually automated, although I think there are great systems out there that are not necessarily automated things, but they are still systems. So what can be systemized? How do you know what to systemize? Well, look for areas of friction. The first systems that you should be creating are probably those that are going to make your life a little bit better in some way. So look for issues that happen regularly, like invoicing. Look for issues that take a lot of time, like tax prep. Look for issues that frustrate you, like your daily commute. And look for issues that are outside your core competency, cleaning perhaps. Let’s go through some very specifics so you can start to understand a little bit of what can be systemized and to maybe strike a chord of what in your life can be systemized.
[04:08] All right, so systemizing your finances. These really are specifically with finances. Looking at also the automation, so things like paying bills by doing auto-pay, depositing money in your savings or retirement accounts. You could have it set up that every time your paycheck or a deposit hits your account, a percentage goes into your savings and retirement. Your investing can be systemized. If we look at systemizing your meals, you could have meal prep, you could have auto-delivery of regular items. I mean a lot of services offer that nowadays, but you could have things like your dry goods automatically delivered, your milk every week. You know, all of these things are creating systems. Systemize your content creation in the writing of your blog posts, the creating of your videos, recording podcasts, the marketing of all of these, the launches of each every week, quarter, or a year. These are all ways to systemize your content creation. Saving for your retirement is something that should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds when planning for the future, your social security payments from the government that you’ve paid into over the years will come into play with this too. If you haven’t thought about how it will factor in, you may want to check out sites like Simplywise and see what they have to say about retirement financial planning.
[05:08] Some of these you’re probably doing and didn’t even realize you had systems in place. Systemize housecleaning chores. Use a scheduled list-maker, have certain days where you’re doing activities, have certain schedules where you’re doing you’re cleaning tasks in a particular order or completely delegated. Systemize your morning and nights. There’s a lot of talk about morning routines and nighttime routines. I have a whole episode on morning routines. I think it’s like number 3, you just look back in the Doers Shakers Makers episodes and you’ll see that. Systemize your email. Ugh, email is a tough one for a lot of us. You can auto file, you can have a policy or a system in place where you’re touching it once and have specific times to check your email and then take action immediately. You can use schedules to check, write and file and create systems in your email. You can systemize any routine work tasks and these, can be done by entrepreneurs or employees.
[06:06] You don’t have to own a business in order to systemize your work tasks. A lot of the things that you do as an employee can completely be systemized as well. You can systemize any repeatable tasks. Those are the ideal places to create systems. Systemize your hiring. Follow a consistent process for finding screening, hiring, and then onboarding your new hires. Systemize your scheduling. If you’re somebody who schedule’s a lot of one on one appointments with people, using an automatic calendar that people can book time with you is fantastic. I do that. I love it so much. It saves so much time. You can systemize the actual meetings, have a plan for taking notes, create actionable steps and for followup and executing those steps. You can systemize travel. Scheduling, finding tickets, having an airport drop off and pick up, reserving rooms, accommodations, cars, packing. All of that can be systemized.
[07:01] And lastly, systemize your wardrobe. Eliminate the need for time-consuming shopping or for choosing your clothes each day. There are a lot of ways that you can systemize your wardrobe. Now that you have an idea of what systems are and where you can have systems, why our system systems so great? Maybe you started to understand a little bit in those lists about the time saving, but they can also help grow your business, increase your productivity and decrease your time working. They can make it so that instead of reacting to crisis in your work, you are proactively addressing growth hurdles. You’re creating time and mental freedom and you’re making outsourcing easier. So now that we understand a little bit of what systems are and why they’re great, let’s jump into the meat of the issue, creating systems. So first we’ll talk about creating the systems, but I don’t want you to say, Oh my goodness, I need to create systems for my entire life and try to take a week and sit down and document all of your systems.
[08:07] All right, so we’ve talked about some of the places that you can be creating systems. I want you to take inventory of the actions that you do on a regular basis. Maybe some of the things that I’ve already said struck a chord. So you’re already thinking about where the areas are where you already have systems and maybe you want to delegate those or of where you can create them to make better use of your time. So I want you to think about your day and take a look at all the different parts that make up what you get done each day. That’s everything from getting ready in the morning, getting the kids ready for school, community to work, answering emails, responding to phone calls, writing reports, managing your company’s social media accounts, going running or exercising, making dinner, doing maybe a side hustle like writing a blog post or an eCourse or something at night or continuing work, getting ready for bed.
[09:03] Go through all of these and start asking yourself the following questions. How are you currently getting these things done? Do you feel that you’re being as efficient and effective as you can be? Where are you losing lots of time? Where are you losing money? What activities frustrate you the most? What is not currently getting done as fast or as well as it should be? What’s falling through the cracks? What needs to be streamlined? Now on the basis of your review and all the questions you asked yourself about your daily activities. Choose one activity to systemize. And I want to say that not only are there show notes for each episode, but the episode is transcribed so you can actually go back and download the transcription and have these questions that are listed out for you because more questions are coming. All right. The next step, step one was to take inventory.
[09:58] Step two is to analyze what you’re currently doing so you’ve picked the activity that you want to systemize. Now, do the activity using exactly how you would normally do it. Like just do your activity as you currently do it. Think about what steps you are taking. What tools are you using? Where are the bottlenecks? What’s frustrating you? How much time does it take you to complete the activity? How much does it cost you to complete the activity? What type of results are you getting? The second thing we’re going to do is to analyze. The one activity that you have selected to systemize. You’re going to do the activity that you are trying to systemize and as you’re doing it, I want you to write down the following things. What steps are you taking right now in this system? What tools are you using? Where are the bottlenecks?
[10:55] What’s frustrating you? How much time does it take for you to complete the activity? How much does it cost you to complete the activity? What types of results are you getting? Now, once you have written down all of this about the activity, we’re not, like I said in the beginning, we’re not writing down your final like this is how I’m going to do it. You first have to analyze how you’re doing it before you write down like the final plan. So this is like a rough draft to work with on what you’re doing. So sit down with everything you just created and look at it. And now we’re going to plan in step three, your new process for your system. So a system as we talked about in the beginning is a process that you create in order to streamline tasks and improve efficiency.
[11:38] So look at everything that you just wrote down about that one activity that you want to systemize. What is the result that you’re looking for when you carry out the activity? What is the goal that you’re trying to achieve? What’s the ideal outcome? Are all of the steps that you’re currently taking necessary can some of these steps be eliminated? Are you taking the steps in the most effective sequence? Would you get better results if you changed the order of the steps? How can this be done faster? Can you create a checklist? Would a chart be helpful? Would a mind map make things clearer? Can you create scripts such as a script for welcoming new clients or a script for answering questions that you get on a regular basis or a script for following up with clients and so on? Can some steps or the entire process be automated?
[12:26] Is there a machine or an app or something that you can use and if so, what app would that be? Can someone else do this? Can the system activity that you’re trying to create be outsourced or delegated? If the entire activity can’t be assigned to someone else, are there certain steps of the process that someone else could take care of? Let’s say hire someone to edit your blog posts, have the kids make their own beds or have your groceries delivered? Do you need to upgrade the tools that you’re currently using? Now, write down the new process that you come up with by enumerating each step. Make sure that each step is well documented and clearly explained. Now we’re getting to the part where you’re writing down your system and now we’re going to move on to step four where you execute your plan. Once you have a plan that is once you’ve created your step-by-step system, you need to put your plan into action.
[13:21] This can mean that you need to hire people or purchase software or an app or upgrade the tools that you’re currently using and so on. You’re going to put in all of the steps for the system into action. It’s now time to do a dry run. Carry out all of your steps that you have created a system of and apply the process that you’ve created to the thing you want to systemize. Now I want you to pay attention the first time through this dry run and notice the results that you get and ask yourself the following. Did you get the desired results? What’s working? What’s not working? How much time are you saving? How much is it costing you and given the results that you’re getting, is the cost acceptable? Are you achieving your goal in the simplest way possible? Are there any gaps in the process.
[14:11] Can the process be optimized even further? And then go ahead and make any necessary adjustments and modifications and tweak your new system until you start getting the results you want. The final step is that you should continuously be improving this system. In theory, the idea of creating a system is to create it and forget about it, but in reality, every so often you need to check and make sure that it’s still working and that all of the steps that you have in place are still part of the system. Because if you have realized that step five is useless and you have removed step five and you go from four to six, then you should adjust what your system is. This especially makes it easy when you need to delegate the whole system to somebody and you don’t have to create systems for somebody new that is coming in to help you.
[14:55] So make sure to review maybe quarterly or yearly. Is the system still working as it should? Can you lower the cost of the system? Can you make the system even more efficient and effective? Can you improve this system so that you start getting even better results? So just like when I talk about planning and goals, your systems should be something that you make a regular part of your reviewing process and made sure that they are still working for you, which in the long run saves you tons of time still and gives you that little bit each quarter or year when you need to analyze. Well, I hope this episode helps you understand the importance and the how-to of systems. So what systems do you currently have in place? What’s going to be the first system that you work on creating and implementing. I’d love it if you’d join the Doers Shakers Makers Facebook group and let us know if the systems have worked for you.
[15:50] I am recording and releasing this on Monday, October 7th and I will put a post up on Tuesday, October 8th so if you are listening to this later, you can go find the October 8th post and if you are listening the day it actually comes out. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow, so put some good thinking into it. But thank you so much for joining me today. My name is Sierra Bailey and this is Doers Shakers Makers, a podcast for go-getters. If you enjoyed this podcast, please subscribe and if you’re listening with Apple podcasts, well the most important thing that you could possibly do is to give me a written review. A simple sentence is all that needs to happen, stars and ratings are fantastic too, but that review really makes a difference. And if you don’t listen with Apple podcasts, maybe tell one person that you know about this podcast and help it reach more people. But thank you again and I’ll be back next Monday to keep you inspired and get you doing shaking and making.
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