Let’s face it. We are all too busy.
Ask any friend or colleague how they are and chances are you’ll hear “I’m just so busy…”.
To cope with our never ending to-do lists, at work and in our personal lives, we look for ways, apps and tools to get even more done and in less time. We attend time management seminars to learn how to be more productive and take our smart phones and laptops to bed, so we can squeeze every minute out of our day. Despite the fact that we’re getting so much done, we aren’t feeling any happier. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
It’s a vicious cycle and for many of us there seems to be no way out.
I must confess, this is pretty much a description of the life that I was living for quite some time.
Until I learned about a simple principle. The principle of leverage.
The Principle of Leverage
By applying the principle of leverage, or the law of the lever, we are able to move heavy objects with a lot less effort. This simple technique has been known for thousands of years. The earliest remaining writings regarding levers and the principle of leverage date from the 3rd century BC and were provided by my old friend Archimedes (kidding, we never actually met).
So, since growing a business has little to do with lifting large rocks, how can we apply this to our everyday life and our to-do list?
Simple. The key is not to get more done, but to focus on getting the right things done.
We all have tasks that we need to perform on a regular basis.
Let’s say you have a particular task that takes you an hour to finish and you had to do it three times per week. This task then would take you three hours every week, or 156 hours per year.
To make better use of your time you could instead take one hour to write a system for this task. A step-by-step guide that you can pass on to someone else to perform the task for you.
What would you do with an extra 156 hours per year?
Now you might think, hang on David, that would mean I have to pay someone to do it? That money is coming out of my bank account!
Correct. But let’s assume you paid someone $20 an hour to perform this task. That would cost you $3,120 for 156 hours.
Wouldn’t you agree that, with 156 extra hours per year, you could easily recoup this expense and so much more?
Exactly. I’m glad you agree.
Do this for all repetitive tasks (unless you REALLY love doing them) and you will literally transform your life – and your business.
If you have employees or work with a team, you might even want to take it one step further.
Instead of writing a system for each task, write a system on how to write a system and let your team help you with developing your systems.
Having systems in place will not only help you and your team to be more productive, but will also add a significant amount of value to your business, should you ever consider selling it.
Good systems are the reason why large companies pay millions of dollars to buy out smaller businesses. They understand the value of having these systems in place and how much time and money it will save them.
I have got my systems ready. Now, where do I put them?
A while ago, Tracey, whom I’ve been working with over the past two years, shared one of her biggest frustrations with me.
“David, my staff keep asking me the same questions, over and over again. It’s driving me crazy, having to answer those exact same questions EVERY day! I wish I could have my own ‘Google’, where my staff could simply enter a question and receive an answer instantly, without me having to be there!”
Two weeks later I got back to her with a system I had designed for her. We simply called it ASK. She now has all her systems in one place, stored securely in the cloud, which can be easily accessed by all her staff. Every system outlines exactly how to follow a procedure and where to find things. After a little over a year, she now has over 200 of her business systems documented. Even checklists now reside in that same system to ensure processes are followed correctly.
Staff members can simply grab one of the iPads provided and find anything they would ever need to help Tracey keep her business running, even when she’s away for a week or two, without having to call or email her.
I have since helped a number of business owners implement that same system, which saves them not only time and money, but more importantly, there sanity.
What’s your approach to increased productivity? Do you have systems in place that help you make the best use of your time? Or do you still do most of your tasks on your own? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts, what your challenges are and any tips you’d like to share.