How To Stop Your Business From Sucking Up All Your Time

How To Stop Your Business From Sucking Up All Your TimeOnce upon a time, I got cranky about a book I read. I responded with How To Double Your Revenue and Profit. Really. The fifth of five steps in that article was “Get a ****ing system already”.

If you don’t have systems, your business is pandemonium.

If your business is pandemonium, it eats your life.

I’m sure you have experienced this to one degree or another.

For some people, systems are easier said than done. I am one of those people. For other people, even saying the word out loud causes them to make a sort of hacking noise. It sounds a little like throwing up.

Over the years, I have honed in on a handy way to make a Kinda System. It offers similar results to Real Systems, without those pesky… um… systems.

Granted, Real Systems are better, but here are your choices:

  1. A Kinda System started NOW.
  2. A Real System started NEVER.

Exactly.

Let’s take a few steps today to stop the pandemonium.

First, start respecting your time already.

This is a great first step. It can potentially allow you to avoid ever having a system in the first place.

Decide that you’re not going to give away your time for no good reason. Decide to value and respect your time because it is COSTING you something. Generally, we are not aware of the cost of our time relative to the value we’re getting.

If you’re doing pointless stuff, you are not respecting yourself.

It’s like kids and money. They want candy every time you go to the store when they’re spending YOUR money. But if it’s their money, look how fast things change. “Well, I don’t want to spend MY money on it!”

Indeed.

When you’re spending your own money, you don’t waste it on stupid stuff you don’t want.

Not so with time. We’ll throw that stuff out the window like Big Mac wrappers on the freeway.

Until!

One day you realize that all that time is coming out of YOUR pocket. You can’t do the OTHER things you want to do because of the way you run your business.

That’s a lot of unpaid overtime. It’s keeping you from going to the movies. It’s keeping you from spending time with your kids. It’s keeping you from snuggling with your Schmoopie Schnookums.

No one can make you value your time. But when you finally decide to do so, you tend to create your own “systems” pretty fast. Even if your new system is “The hell with Facebook.”

(One tip? “The hell with reading IttyBiz” is a BAD system. Just saying.)

Second, work on stuff that leads to real money before you do anything else.

In the Emergency Turnaround Clinic, we talk about “closest to cash” a lot. Things like running promotions. Following up on invoices. Cold calling or cold emailing. Finishing that 90% done product. Getting that damned sales page up already.

We do this for two reasons.

First, if you work on the things that are closest to cash, you get money in your hands. This is a stellar use of time.

Second, when you do things that lead to cash, you have less patience for things that don’t. You stop goofing off and use that time to write newsletters. You stop reading all those junk blogs and pick the three that are actually useful to you. Things like that.

When you work on closest to cash, you tend to stop the time drain without even thinking about it. So do that.

Third, work on stuff that fixes your weaknesses.

This is completely in line with the profit leaks we talked about earlier.

Fix the weaknesses on your website. You’ll get more people on your list.

Fix the weaknesses in your sign-up process. You’ll get even MORE people on your list.

Fix your random content strategy. Put a real strategy in place. Then you won’t have to spend so much time hustling for traffic. And backlinks. And retweets and Facebook likes and God knows what else.

Fix your vague branding. Make it specific enough to be identifiable and relevant to new visitors.

Fix the typos on your About page. Get help on making your sales pages better. Find out where your traffic is coming from. Get a more cohesive email signature. Fix your customer follow-up so that you’re actually following up. Get those outdated posts off your blog. Clean up the sloppy formatting on your auto responders. Etcetera.

Your weaknesses are costing you sales that you SHOULD be getting.

“Picking up the money you are already dropping” is a very good system.

Before you run toward the next hot webinar trend, focus on fixing your weaknesses. That’s what we could call “second closest to cash.”

Mmmm. Cash.

When you’re done with that, you can do anything else you feel like doing.

Sometimes that will be more work stuff. Sometimes it will be snuggling with Schmoopie Schnookums. It’s your choice. Either way, your business no longer eats your life.

Thus ends the official IttyBiz almost-like-a-system-system.

Start respecting your time.

Work on closest to cash.

Then work on fixing your weaknesses.

Don’t shell out business time for anything else until that’s done.

That alone will show you every system you’ll ever need to create.

(Or close enough to it.)

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.