Systems and routines may sound like the most boring topic in the world. However, these regular practices are what help you go from hard worker, to being an efficient operator able to optimise and make the most of your skills and abilities.
Read on to learn how to super charge your journey to success.
Systems and Routines for success
Do you ever feel like there’s just too many things that need to get done?
When you start to imagine, the mind boggles. We need to take care of us, the people we love, our work and our colleagues, and the extended family, and try to build for the future and try to find fulfillment. Add the side hustle and the difficult questions and major problems that many of us have.
We can see how people get stunned into inaction.
It’s way too much.
Especially for those of you working towards success. Those pushing themselves that little bit extra to get the promotion, build the side hustle and who are dealing with epic questions that influence fortunes and legacies.
There is an answer.
The simple answer is to hire people to do the work.
But until you can get your mind around ‘your’ job, ‘your’ responsibility, and you know exactly how you want things done, you are not ready to simply delegate your life to others.
Also, adding the management of staff and decisions of hire/fire, compensation and insurance and so on, it all gets even more complicated.
No, before you can get to that level, you need to take control and learn how to go from hard worker to the manager of your own routines and systems.
What are routines and systems:
Routines are the activities that you maintain and do on a regular basis. The problem that arises is that many people never think about their routines. And therefore, their routines become bad routines, like Friday night beers, Sunday night junk food, lazy Sunday, missed meeting Monday, and so on. These are the routines that people fall into. They fall into them because they are not mindful or organised, and so these behaviours become routines that continue to repeat and become safe, secure and normal.
But these behaviours are not helping you to succeed.
A Mindful Routine
A mindful routine is a chosen pattern of behaviour that forces the short term to maintain progress towards long term success.
For example, the routine of working out, maintains the healthy body in the long run. Working out once, one Saturday after you watched the football, does not improve your health. But an established routine of going to the gym 4 or more times a week will.
Behaviours become routines when you stop having to think about them.
For myself, I now go to the gym 5 times a week. There’s no thought process involved, there’s no motivation or decision, it is simply my behaviour. I go to the gym and I do my workout, and year after year, I maintain my health at that level.
Take time to think about your long term goals. Then think about what little thing you can do every day, every week, to get towards those goals. And then start building the routines.
- Gym 5 times a week
- Get up at 5
- Get to work early
- Take my son for a walk straight after work
- Read every night
- Work on my novel every day (even just one page)
- Write one blog post a week
These are just some of my routines.
I have massive long term goals and I have a very hectic life, especially now with a child. But by having these types of routines, I keep doing the little things consistently that make sure I get things done. I keep getting better, and I continually work towards my big goals.
To learn more about winning habits, read: How to be a Success: Have Successful Habits.
Systems are the repeated patterns you use to complete regular activities.
When you have a regular task you do, you work out your way of doing it, to your level of satisfaction, and you repeat it over and over again.
McDonalds. McDonalds doesn’t just make hamburgers. They make McDonald’s hamburgers.
Every single hamburger is made exactly the same, by workers who follow exactly the same process, and who wear exactly the same uniform, in a restaurant that is laid out and run exactly the same as every other McDonalds.
There’s a system. It works and it gets repeated to achieve exactly the same results. (Pretty much.)
Value of Systems
A good system is valuable because it ensures optimum performance. The designer works out how to get the best result from the resources and that best result is replicated.
And for those that feel this is a bit mechanical and artless, well even artists must use a system.
From experience, if I write only when I’m feeling artistic, then I wouldn’t get much writing done. However, when I made it my system to write 10 pages a day, I got a lot of writing done. And when I developed the system, I worked out writing first thing in the morning, with some music to set the tone, was when I wrote the most artistic verses. And then I worked out when I needed to take the breaks to be more productive, and so on. I worked out my system and it helps me to improve my work.
The Problem of Poor Systems
Many people have developed poor systems. Their system is to dive in and work really hard on the menial tasks that have minimal return. Or, their system is to eat a bad breakfast, check the emails and then turn on the TV, every morning – that’s a system that ensures bad results.
Advantage of Good Systems
If we can look at our key jobs that need to be done, and then work out a system for doing them, we can improve our results. If we work on that system, we may find ways to improve our results. Then the system becomes more productive than just doing the job.
After that, anyone can do the job by following the system, and then you can hire someone to do your job, the way you want it done.
When you get to this level, then you can scale up.
Putting Systems and Routines Together
So, if you want to level up, and go from the hard worker, to the efficient, effective, productive powerhouse you need to be to be a super success, you need awesome routines and systems.
We know that you can have good and bad routines, as well as systems.
How to develop good routines and systems?
If you want to achieve success with routines and systems, you need to make sure you keep your eye on the big picture. You need to have big long-term goals that you are very clear on. Then you take those big goals and break them down into micro goals that are achievable, and that will add up to overall attainment of the big goal.
The problem when you don’t have big goals is distraction and overwhelm.
Distraction is easy to fall for – you are going well, you suddenly catch onto something exciting and new and you loose track of the big picture. You end up developing routines for jobs that don’t really help you achieve your goals. Then you systematise those jobs, and you feel like you are working well, but you are completely wasting your time.
That’s what happened to me. I got sucked into the routine of checking my stat’s on Medium. I would check my stat’s religiously. Then I worked out that I could get more reads by writing poetry. So I wrote lots of poems. Then I developed my system for consistently writing lots of poems. And my stat’s went up and I started to get paid. And the routines and systems started to become my mode of operation.
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with writing poetry, or wanting lots of readers, or wanting to make money. But for my long term goals, that whole period of writing was less than efficient, effective or worthwhile, in terms of long term achievement.
So avoid distraction and keep your eye on routines that build towards the big prize.
The other problem of Routines is Overwhelm.
Overwhelm is the feeling of being drowned by all the things we need to do. We get stressed. And we make things bigger than they actually are. And if we are disorganised we make things too difficult to control.
Then the routine may become avoidance, or making massive unworkable to-do lists, or it may be to stress and get sick, or it may be to give up, and so on. And the systems that go with these reactions do nothing but compound the overwhelm and ensure failure.
I’ve done this.
We’ve all done this I’m sure. For me, it’s stressing about all the things I need to get done, freaking out and diving into drinking and eating to calm myself down.
Now I’m getting much better at taking a breathe and remembering that things are never as big as we make them in our head. And it’s never that serious. Then I take the time to just start with one little thing. Before you know it, I realize it’s not that big, I’ve knocked off a few jobs and I’m back to chasing the big dreams with confidence.
If you keep your eye on the big picture, set out the important things, find small amounts of time and get organized, you can keep doing a bit of all those jobs regularly, then you can overcome the overwhelm. You can find ways to focus things together, or to prioritise, or to abandon the non-essentials.
The Routines solution
You need to take the time to think about what you want.
For example, I want to write a novel, write books, move up the tree at work and start my own business.
That’s huge! And that won’t get done if I wake up each day and look at that list.
So what I did was look at all those goals and found a way to make them all work together. So for me, if I am looking at an education business, then the writing works as part of that, and my time at school, working, is valuable training and networking for my own future venture.
So they all work in line together.
Then I plan out my time: And I need to make time.
So, my routines need to be about efficiency:
School work needs to get done at school – so I need to develop systems that allow me to do the work at school and leave my thinking about school work at school.
To do that, I need to make my thinking time at school minimum. It needs to be more efficient; less thinking and more enacting. To do that, I need to work on a system. Instead of getting to school in the morning and spending an hour planning individual lessons and trying to think about all those particulars, I can put in place a regular system. For example, having a regular schedule of types of activities, like Monday is listening, vocabulary and discussion day. The kids know where the resources are, and I can direct them through the resources and make adaptions on the fly. This is much more efficient.
Then if I add the routines of a time to prepare all my resources and a regular time for marking and moderation and so on, I can run through the activities and improve my efficiency by forcing myself to stick to time frames.
My Routines need to be about Quality
I need to have quality time with my son – so the best free time of my day needs to be used with my son and I need to develop systems that maximise our interactions. (I fail here, cause he always steals more of my side hustle time – but I can’t put a price on that.)
My Routines need to cut out the Fat
I need to make my night time – my side hustle time. I need to allot time for my novel, then time for business. And my systems need to make these tasks quick and relatively ‘thoughtless’.
I need to cut out the drinking routine and the Netflix routine and make my ‘free’ time hustle time. And I need to get to the point where I don’t question or procrastinate; it needs to be a thoughtless activity – the clock hits 8 and I’m putting in the work.
It’s a work in progress, but it’s getting there.
Final thoughts on Routines and Systems:
Routines are all about discipline. The great advantage is they take decision out of the process. This helps to avoid weakness and thinking. You simply get into the habit of doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and that builds towards successfully achieving your goals.
Systems are the way you scale.
Instead of solving individual problems or approaching each task as unique. You develop a systematic way of dealing with problems and tasks. This ensures you are applying best practice and improving your probability of achieving optimum results.
Again, it takes the thinking out of the process and it improves discipline and efficiency.
Mission to Success
The mission for success is to take our life to the level of awesome. We are actively learning the lessons that will bring us more success, that will improve the future for our children and will help make the world a better place.
If that’s something you want for your life, feel free to come join the mission for success by clicking here: Mission for Success!
All the best, and remember to keep striving for success.