There seems to be a trendy belief that to reach your goal you must put everything else aside, sit down, and work, work, work.  That’s really not true.  Nor is it the most effective way to reach the end of your To-Do List.

Here are four clear-cut actions that will help you boost efficiency, scale down your frustration, and control that task list:

(1)  Implement simple systems.

I think sometimes the word “systems” can be intimidating.  It may conjure up a 37-step process to implement a funnel or the infinite steps for building a website.  But, a system that works for you could also be just a simple 3-step process that you put together to help you get your invoices sent out on schedule.

Your repetitive tasks are screaming for a simple system so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time. And it just makes sense to build out a system or “template” for the things you frequently do.  Think writing blog posts, sending email blasts, scheduling appointments, or preparing invoices – those tasks that pop up repeatedly.  You don’t need a big complicated system, just a template or format for getting from start to finish without the fear that you’ve forgotten something.

For instance:

Scheduling appointments: 

Why waste time going back and forth with phone calls, voice mails, texts or emails?  Sign up with a scheduling tool (I LOVE Acuity!), block out your available time, put a link on your website and email, and it’s done.

Writing Blog Posts: 

Make a list of all the steps you use to get from start to finish.   For instance:  design a content outline so the posts are consistent, schedule your research, create your graphics, draft and edit the post, post to your website, link to your social media accounts.  Add or subtract from this example with steps that work for YOU.  Then, pull out this list (your new “system” or “process”) each time you’re ready to write a post.

Sending Email Blasts:

Use the same type system here – with a slightly different “list” or process:  research your topic, find appropriate images, cull your list, draft and edit the content, check the links, schedule it for release. Done!

You see, none of these require big complicated systems.  Just a system (or process) YOU design that works for the way YOU work.  These are the same steps that you’ll take every time you do the task.  You don’t have to waste time and angst remembering each step or worry that you’ve forgotten something.  And, if it’s a daily, weekly or monthly task, put it on your calendar, so it’s almost automatic.

(2)  Establish Your Own Breathing Space.

Setting aside time for rest and relaxation is critical to your success.

Yes, this certainly means protecting your 8-hour nightly sleep, but it also means establishing frequent breaks throughout the day:  a 20-minute walk, a trip to the gym, or a bike ride with your kids.  (For me, it’s the shield I’ve placed around my 20-minute power nap — one of the BEST things I learned in college. 😊) Frequently stepping away from your work improves both your physical AND your mental well-being.  And who couldn’t use a little upgrade in either/both places?

It also means taking the entire day off AT LEAST once a week.  Step away from your laptop altogether.  It gives your brain a chance to reboot and provides space for creativity, insight, and perspective.

(3)  Accept the fact that you’ll make mistakes.

You’re HUMAN – you’re gonna make mistakes!  Own them, fix them if you can, and move on.  That is all.

(4)  Ask for help.

If you’re working under the premise that everything must be perfect before showing it to the world, or that asking for help is a sign of weakness, you’re doomed before you even get started!

There’s no way you can stay sane or happy and do it all alone.  You need the camaraderie and the additional brains for bouncing ideas, finding alternative paths, and general support.

Recognize your strengths AND your weaknesses.  Your business will grow – not to mention your happiness! – if you can outsource the tasks that challenge you.  Then, you can spend your time working on those things that you enjoy.

Acknowledging your mistakes and asking for help is a strength that shows you’re invested in success.  Know your Zone-of-Genius and use it to your advantage.  Don’t hide behind the façade of seeking perfection.

Which of these will you do first:  Design your simple systems?  Carve out a non-negotiable time for your brain to reset?  Ask for some help?  Comment below with your plan.

“Failure is not the deterrent for the next try. Rather, it is information that empowers the next step.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

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  1. Kim says:

    Cindy, this post was exactly what I needed today. I’m feeling overwhelmed and I think, “I need a system.” Of course it needs to be elaborately designed! You are the sound of reason. Thanks!

    • Cindy says:

      Oh Kim, I’m so glad it was helpful. I’m one of those people, too, that thinks it all needs to be perfect and elaborate. But when I make it simple, it seems to work better, and I get more accomplished. Let me know if there’s some way I can help you. Support is essential.

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