Busy…? Create Systems and Drop that Nasty Word from Your Vocabulary

Have you  ever apologized for not following through on something because you were “so busy”? Be it a family member, friend, business associate or customer… it conveys to them that perhaps they aren’t that important to you… and you have other things that come first.

Yet we’re pretty sure that we’ve all been in this scenario… family time, important time-sensitive projects, and day-to-day business activities… all at once! So we’re not lying to others when we say we’ve been busy, and the stress of it can be totally overwhelming.

The cure for this situation? Systems!

While you are working to get your project completed, the other activities in your business start falling behind. But they don’t have to. If you set up systems to handle your regular business activities they can happen almost automatically.

Write down the activities you do in one day, then do it again the next day, and the next, and so on. After a few days you should be able to discover which activities you do over and over again… on a regular basis. These are the activities that you can and should systematize.

If these activities can be completed automatically for you, or if the time to do them can be cut to a fraction of the normal time, wouldn’t that be beneficial? We believe it is.

Some activities that we’ve developed systems for:
<ul>
<li> Blog Posts – We write a few when we have time and then have them scheduled to come up in our blog on specific dates.</li>
<li> Twitter – We schedule certain Tweets in advance to be posted at a later time or date.</li>
<li> Article Writing – Our system for writing articles at times also involves outsourcing, which is another way to get things done faster, better, and with the least amount of effort on your part.</li>
</ul>
These are some of our examples. Think about it… what can you systematize?

Pat and Lorna About the Authors

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Pat and Lorna Shanks deliver the "COOL" Goods and connections to "COOL" People. They provide tips, tools, education and informative sessions with knowledgeable people that enable entrepreneurs, independent professionals and small business owners to attract more clients and make more money. For more "COOL" tips, tools, knowledge and people, go to www.TheCoolestCouple.com or follow us on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Hi to The Coolest Couple :-)

    I truly believe that having a system for how you go about your business are essential in this crazy-busy day & age we live in. I have found that the systems I have implemented (and used!) have actually allowed me to get more accomplished than I probably would have otherwise. Thanks for sharing…you guys rock! ;-)

    Christine
    Christine Casey´s last blog post ..The Power of Networking – Share the knowledge…

    [Reply]

    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Christine,

    Isn’t that so true? Progress is so very hard if we don’t have the simple tasks done for us… either automatically or by someone else.

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

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  2. These are cool tips that you are sharing here. I will make sure i implement some of those. We all have the same 24 hours in a day but sometimes it seems that other people seem to have more time than others. It is simply because they know how to properly manage their time. Great post
    Loic´s last blog post ..Outdoor Dog Kennel- 3 Best outdoor dog kennels you can choose from

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    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Loic,

    Managing the tasks we have at hand is a huge key to being one of those that seems to have more time than other people.

    Thanks!
    ~ Pat and Lorna

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  3. I need to learn more about automating my content and posts. But of course if you are too busy to talk to Aunt Sally then you probably didn’t want to talk to her to begin with. Right? Hope you don’t actually have an Aunt Sally. LOL! You make a good point here. Thanks for sharing this. Got me thinking.

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    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Nicole,

    Very good point on Aunt Sally (no, we don’t have an Aunt Sally :)). There are things we would never do anyway even if we did free up some of our time. Then of course, there are some things we would…

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Pat and Lorna,

    great suggestions. Thank you.

    It seems to me that people need to justify their existence by talking about how busy they are or have been.
    Some people even start a conversation with “Have you been busy?”
    What happened to enjoying life and going with the flow?
    Do we really need all those ‘things’ that people are busy for nowadays?
    I don’t mind being busy with something I enjoy.

    Cheers,
    Yorinda
    Yorinda´s last blog post ..Blog Website WordPress

    [Reply]

    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Yorinda,

    Great point. Many people feel that they need to be busy just to prove a point. Choosing what’s important to us and focusing on that is what gives us purpose and joy. Being busy just for the sake of being busy is the road to being unfulfilled and regret. And yes, we do need to enjoy life and go with the flow a lot more… after all, it’s not a race.

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  5. Hi Pat and Lorna,

    Great advice. It’s so true that we can save a lot of time by creating systems and support to help us get through our workloads. I also outsource some of my work, which is a big time saver!

    Mindmapping large projects helps keep you in touch with where you are and what still needs to be done, which can get confusing and bog you down just by trying to figure out what’s next.

    I also use a time tracker that pops up to remind me to record what I’m working on so I can see where my time goes. This helps greatly when it’s time to invoice, especially considering that it can automatically produce my invoices from my reports.

    One more tip is to create folders for your incoming email so it doesn’t all go to your inbox and overwhelm you. I get hundreds of emails everyday and without this system I would go crazy!

    I’d love to read what others are doing to get more done in a shorter period of time!
    Deb Augur´s last blog post ..The 1 Tip for Free Traffic

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    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Deb,

    Outsourcing and mindmapping are two great strategies for freeing up a lot of our time. We have a count-down timer to schedule in key productivity times. It keeps us focused on what we need to get done. Focusing is another key element of creating more time for ourselves. If we are focused rather than all over the place, more get done in a lot less time.

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

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  6. I’m trying guys. Hard to change after a lifetime of routines. If I had my old “Underwood” I’d probably try to use it. But that spell check is really nice and I would force myself back to the computer. I’m intrigued by your comment….. “Article Writing – Our system for writing articles at times also involves outsourcing, which is another way to get things done faster, better, and with the least amount of effort on your part.” Not knowing what this means. If outsourced then does this diminishes your “Authority” on the subject. Or am I (of course I am) so inexperienced to not understand what Article Writing is. Anyway, as always I come away from you place with a noggin full of stuff. Thanks guys for nudging me to expand my envelope.
    Nelson Schroeder´s last blog post ..The Tree Surgeon

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    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Nelson,

    We totally understand about the Underwood… once we get used to something, it’s not so easy just to let go. Aaahhh, spell checking… does save our butts a lot doesn’t it?

    When we outsource article writing, we give the person specific topics and content ideas to write about, and when we get them back we tweak them a bit… keeping the key points and making them speak more from our way of writing. It still saves us a bunch of time.

    Thanks for asking…
    ~ Pat and Lorna

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  7. Hey guys I had not thought about doing the post is advance and then schedule them. I’ll put that into action. One thing I’ve utilized over the years is when someone ask you to commit to something always say I’ll check my schedule and get back to you. If you have it with you at that moment fine, but write it down.

    Thanks,

    Michael

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  8. Belinda,

    That “I’m too busy” excuse has gotten pretty old, hasn’t it? And you are so right… perfectionism sure has a way of slowing us down. Most of the time something a little less perfect would be fine… and take a lot less of our time.

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

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  9. Great tip. It is sometimes hard to see the forest through the trees and this helps. And I have been thinking of hiring a personal assistant. This will help with their job description and duties.
    Gary Young´s last blog post ..China Sourcing and the Agent of Change

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    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Gary,

    A personal assistant sounds like a very cool idea. They would be so helpful in clearing a lot from your plate to free you up for the parts of your business that you need to focus on.

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  10. Robin,

    You have some wonderful ideas! And we totally agree… getting started on blog posts when we feel inspired and then saving them as drafts is a great way to avoid writers’ block.

    We’re guessing you’ve already freed up a lot of time for your important things!

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  11. Hey guys, I could not agree more. I you don’t have systems in place it is going to be very easy to be very busy!
    The other thing that has helped me a lot is to have a routine. E.g. I do my social media first thing in the morning and at night. I also do my TSA duties at the end of the day. If I have them in my routine they will get done, no matter how busy I am.
    karin@social bookmarking´s last blog post ..One-way backlinks from CommentLuv Comments

    [Reply]

    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Karin,

    Great idea! That way they do get done, and there is time left over to work on the important things.

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  12. Pat and Lorna,
    I have not yet set up blog posts or tweets in advance. In fact, I have not really systematized anything. No, I take that back. As Miami Relationships Examiner and West Palm Beach Healing Examiner for a site called Examiner.com, I have collected photo images and placed them into categories. That way, when I write an article I can often access an image I have already saved to insert into the article.

    My other time-saving device is outsourcing, especially some of the technical things I get stuck on (like extracting my EBook pdfs and reinserting updated pdfs). One of my tech people did it in just a few minutes. It took him so little time that he didn’t even charge me. And I had already spent a lot of time trying to figure it out and struggling.

    Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone´s last blog post ..Pulling Together in Love

    [Reply]

    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Erica,

    Looks like you’ve got a great start on setting up systems.
    Isn’t it great when you can find someone who plays at what you work at… especially when they don’t even charge you for it. Bonus!

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  13. Pat and Lorna – You both are 100% correct. Creating systems has never been an issue in my business. But ensuring that I follow the system – that is something I learned the hard way I have to stay focused on. Systems without follow through are not worth very much. But, systems executed on will save us time, money and lots of stress. Thanks for the reminder! Scott Pollov
    Scott Pollov´s last blog post ..Flirting With Business Continuity

    [Reply]

    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Scott,

    Thanks for the reminder. Systems are like anything else, if there is no action taken then the best systems will be useless. Great point!

    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  14. Pat and Lorna – Very COOL tips form the Coolest Couple:) There is so much to do and so many things to juggle that we have to have systems in place to help us out. Thanks for sharing this great info
    Glyna Humm´s last blog post ..Make Them Smile With Appreciation Marketing

    [Reply]

    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Glyna,

    Thanks so much! Feeling like part of a circus (a juggler) isn’t how most people want to feel when it comes to their business, is it ;)

    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  15. I swear, I don’t think I would ever get anything done if I didn’t have systems in place. It’s amazing what a difference just getting one routine thing into automation mode can do for one’s productivity. You could even take it a step further and link your social networking sites so that you only have to update one and that one starts a domino type effect in updating the others – i.e. Link YouTube to Twitter, Twitter to Facebook, etc. You can post your content across your social media empire with less effort. Brilliant!
    Beki Dunmire´s last blog post ..The Key to Success – Chances are you already know what it is

    [Reply]

    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Beki,

    Sounds like we’re speaking to a guru… good for you in clearing up routine items into an automated system.

    Thanks so much,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  16. Great tips! I have to confess that I haven’t done well with systems. This is something that I will be working on now though. :)
    Kevin Martineau´s last blog post ..3 qualities of an encourager

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  17. Scott Manesis says:

    This is a great post. Many times it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially with taking on a large project. Your post explains quite beautifully the importance of organization. Having your own system to getting things done is a very good idea. My philosophy is to KISS Keep It Simple Stupid and that keeps me from getting overwhelmed. I have daily tasks that I must complete and then I work on some longer term projects that I have written down as goals to accomplish and certain tasks I must complete to get the goal accomplished of course leaving room for when life gets in the way so that I don’t disappoint myself because I have set unrealistic goals. I also set it up as minimum and potential so I can shoot for the stars, but if I only hit the moon I don’t beat myself up too badly.
    Scott Manesis´s last blog post ..The Only One Accountable For Your Success Is You

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  18. Having just outsourced my new system, I feel top of the class right now!

    But there is much to learn from each other and I think being conscious of your daily actions is absolutely a must. To organise yourself minimises wasted time…time that could be spend on R and R rather than having a reactive, disorganised life.

    I get used to juggling all the balls and enjoy it…but my life would be so much easier if I had someone or something else juggle for me!
    peter chapman´s last blog post ..Global Elite System – Launch Day Today!

    [Reply]

    Pat & Lorna Reply:

    Peter,

    We all totally need our own persona juggler :) And having time for R & R instead of crumbling under a pile of “To Do’s” sounds so good.

    Thanks,
    ~ Pat and Lorna

    [Reply]

  19. Good post and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you on your information.

    [Reply]

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