So I set up and documented all the systems that run my business last fall, created a whole document of lists and processes…my team spent time compiling the “how we do everything” lists and links to documents.
I was soooo serious about setting up my systems. I even consulted with an expert on the matter who literally got us going with a simple call.
But since then – the team has changed A LOT. So, I decided to dive back in and see if things were still going according to plan. I took some time over the weekend to peek into the systems documents…to see exactly how things had changed over 6 months.
Now – I fully expected things to change, since the way I've worked has changed big time.
But what I was really interested to see was if the systems had changed, was I getting more done, less time and able to hand off projects with ease.
Did we get better sticking to our systems?
Today, I want to share the impact of two daily systems changing…
Let's start with my scheduling system.
I took a major hiatus from Asana. Not sure that was so good because now I can't seem to get back into it. I do love it. I think that launches make it a great place to schedule out everything that has to be done.
But I have been using my paper planner to schedule out when I need to get certain things done.
Has that really worked? Yes and no.
It's easier for me to erase something and not see it as a hard deadline or deliverable.
By the same token, it allows me to open a book and see at a glance what I WANT to do and start doing it.
There's no way for me to “check it off” in a satisfying way — and man do I miss the unicorn flying across my screen when I finish a few tasks at once!
I'm on my computer every single day and those notifications that remind you when things are due…well, they aren't there if everything is inside my filofax.
I wonder if I'm forgetting or cutting things out simply because I don't see everything in one place.
My Weekly Ritual To Get Back On Track
Syncing my digital and paper schedule/plan/tasks every weekend. This is a good practice to do no matter what tools you use, so I'm pretty happy with having a weekly ritual to revisit the plan and the goals for the week.
I have about 5 different places to sync into one….so this isn't something I leave for more than a week. If you'd like to see a video on how to do your own digital sync, check out this video that helped me!
And what about my blog publishing system:
I publish to my blog about 2x a week now…no short order if you've got a skeleton team and need to meet deadlines in order to get things done more than a day before the post goes up.
The original system included me writing posts inside a specific templated google doc which included all social media, headline options, social media ideas, images, people to contact about the post. My template had everything, thanks to this program right here and also this one right here.
After the template was complete, the next step would be handing off the doc to my assistant who would then format, schedule, and finish off the process.
We used to really try to get things done far in advance, but it just didn't work for me most of the time. I would do a few months super far ahead, get kinda lazy and then end up back on the one week in advance delivery.
Template worked. Timeline failed.
What's changed is me still using the google doc and yes often putting the post in WordPress myself. YIKES — I know I know. But when I'm doing things on the spur of the moment, I feel like formatting and tying a bow on my post is part of the flow. (So Wrong).
I'm not doing all the writing now and I do have someone who creates beautiful images whenever we need them or she discovers an ugly one on my blog. Yes, thankfully, I didn't start combing stock photo libraries again and wasting loads of time.
But I did revert to writing social media, scheduling it in coschedule even. YIKES YIKES YIKES. Did ya get that? yikes.
You can see that this system uses way too much of me. I should literally show up, write, hand it off and then be on to improving my marketing campaigns, networking, and deciding where I want to take the business. But nope, I've made myself a new job. Professional blogger.
What I'm doing to make this work: I'm simply adjusting my system.
First things first. No more unrealistic delivery expectations. I'll always aim to batch blog posts, get them done in advance, but knowing that it will likely NOT happen is probably safer all around.
Second thing – the template (as it was created) was helpful but felt distracting in a weird way for me.
It trained me what to do every time I wrote a post, but I had to be in google docs in order to use it. If I continue to use it – I need to make it linkable in every single Asana task so it's super easy to continue using.
Also, the additional things needed to complete the template will be taken off my plate like social media, graphics, tweetables can become separate subtasks for blog posts.
Third and finally, I've created a mini-system within the system to help promote the posts by creating my standard list of social media for each post, how often to post, and a little formula for creating “variations” on my standard social media. (Tell me if you want to know more about this and I'll share the details in a future post!)
Now, all I do is write the post, spend extra time futzing with the headline (using a tool like headline analyzer which I love) and then creating standing social media messages that will always go out for new posts.
Here's the system before and after inside my Asana template:
What things looked like before – honestly, when I went back in and saw this, I was like wow, too many steps. I get there are additional reminders to check things and to get approvals along the way, but I do think it's a little too much, plus my social media strategy has changed.
The after: It's not like it's so different, but to me, it's easier to see where the post is in the process. I will be able to see at a glance what needs to be done and if anyone is assigned to it. And the only 2 tasks I'm giving to myself are writing and noting the link to my google doc in a spreadsheet. The remainder of the tasks will be (ideally) with someone else! Also, one main thing that's gone is that I do not email out now every time I have new content.
Want to see more inside Asana?
Here's a recent video where I talk more about how I use Asana and sometimes Trello, though even by the end of the video I'm even realizing that as much as I like how it functions, it doesn't have everything that I need to work with multiple people, track what's done, and that sends a unicorn across the screen when I complete a bunch of tasks.
So, as you can see these two daily systems weren't really broken, but they sure felt like it. In fact, I had a little system shame thinking I'd created systems that worked and then just ignored them.
Not so at all – systems gotta change if they aren't working anymore.
Additional resources you might find useful:
Systems To Save Your Launch Cheatsheet (free download)
5 Systems That Must Be In Place Before You Launch (article)
Setting Up Your Business Systems Can Be Fun & Beautiful (podcast)
Amy Porterfield & Anne chatting about systems (podcast)
Worried you've broken a system in your business?
I'd love to hear about the systems in your business…the way you do things. Have you ever decided, “This is the way I'm going to do it from now on” and then promptly did it ANOTHER way?
Leave a comment below.