Systems Rule

When I first wrote this article I said:

If the technology gods have cooperated with me, you will be reading this post while I am floating on a cruise ship in the Western Caribbean.  You see, I used the “future posting date” feature of WordPress to write this article before I left.

That’s the beauty of systems.

I believe R&R is a lifeblood, not a luxury.  And, when I go away on vacation, I go away and disconnect entirely, and don’t want to have anything to do with my PC, cell phone, or other obligations.  I think it is crucial to disconnect in this way in order to avoid burnout and foster creativity and effectiveness, not to mention the benefits I accrue in being able to be 100% present with my partner away from the madness of day to day chores and routines.

That’s why I am a big fan of systems. By systems I mean technology, process, or any sort of support you can count on to get something done (people, machine, or otherwise).  Every successful business needs them and the woman entrepreneur and small business owner needs them even more.  The truth is that you can’t be everything to everyone and you can’t be “on call” 24/7.  If you think you can, you are on the road to burnout, exhaustion, and general misery (if not disease).  That’s where systems come in. People or things that can handle matters when you are not able to.

For example, remember life before voicemail?  The endless phone tag and yellow message pad “While You Were Out” notes?  Well, voicemail is a system we use for communicating with others when we can’t be there to pick up the phone. It simply makes things easier (assuming we know how to set boundaries around how often we check voicemail).

And, systems are not limited to our business lives.  To thrive in your personal life you also need systems.  Let me ask you, do you have a routine for getting ready in the morning or preparing for bed at night?  If so, that is a system. While it does require your involvement, it is a way of doing things to ensure successful and repeatable results (you are groomed and out the door to start the day and are not missing something crucial like your pants or shirt, for instance).  Another system might be a cleaning or lawn service to handle those chores so you don’t have to.

Take moment today and make a list of 5-10 systems you currently have in your life or business that serve you well?  What are 3 systems that are lacking that you could put in place in the next 2 weeks to make your life easier and ultimately make you more successful?

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