How to Stop Your Business from Taking Over Your Life

from guest author natasha vorompiova

BACK IN THE DAY...

Back in the 1980s, when I was a kid in the USSR, we didn’t even have a landline phone.  If anyone wanted to know if we were home, they actually had to stop by.

I’d seen cell phones in American movies but didn’t want one.  Those bulky contraptions didn’t look lady-like at all!

Computers?  They didn’t excite me.  All I cared about were the stacks of perforated cards my mom brought home from work after huge mainframe computers spit them out.  They were great to draw images on and use as bookmarks.

It was a simpler world.

Now. . . .

FLASH FORWARD 3 DECADES. . .

I can’t imagine my life without Apple products, each one of which is eager to deliver all sorts of new communications.  For every event scheduled in my calendar, I receive 4 notifications—1 on each device. 

It’s pretty amazing how our devices allow us to work from anywhere—in  grocery lines, traffic jams, doctors’ waiting rooms, and on flights to our favorite vacation destinations.  

Unfortunately, they also make it too easy for us to work all the time.

Our work as entrepreneurs is endless.

THE BUSINESSES WE LAUNCHED WITH LOVE NOW FEEL LIKE A TRAP.

Our family members are upset because they don’t get to spend time with us, and we get irritated when they insist on pulling us away from our never-ending to-do lists. 

Deep down we know they wish us well.  We feel guilty about choosing our businesses over them, but we feel like there is no other choice if we want to build a successful business.

Or is there?

THERE IS ANOTHER WAY!

We need to reconceptualize what we consider a successful business.

Sustainability is a crucial factor that we overlook when we think of what it takes to create a flourishing company.

You can’t really sustain working 14-hour days and neglecting the burnout signs your body is sending you. 

STREAMLINE YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS. . . .

Streamlining your business by establishing routines that are uniquely suited to your personality, strengths, company, and personal relationships is absolutely essential.

A single woman living a nomadic life is going to have very different routines from a mom of 2.   In fact, even 2 different nomads and 2 different moms of 2 would have different routines. 

I want you to concentrate on how you can improve your daily routines.  

Strict schedules aren’t necessary. 

Find a rhythm that allows you “fall in” with the regular activities… a way to compartmentalize the tasks to run and grow your business.

Once you’ve done that, some of these routines will happen on certain days of the week/month.  Others will be triggered when something happens.

CASE STUDY OF OPTIMIZED ROUTINE

Here is a simple blogging routine we created for one of my clients, who couldn’t find time to write posts for her own blog but wanted to publish twice a month:

  • First Monday and Tuesday of the month—research the ideas for 2 blog post
  • First Wednesday of the month—do Google keyword search and write the posts
  • First Thursday of the month—format, upload and schedule the posts
  • Second and forth Tuesdays of the month share the posts on social media

Having this routine was liberating because she no longer had to think about her blogging.  She just had this streamlined approach and fell into the rhythm of taking care of things.

IMAGINE YOUR FREEDOM

Imagine how much freer you’d feel if you created a rhythm where you were doing bookkeeping every Thursday afternoon for 30 minutes, blogging every Tuesday for 1 hour, Twitter for 20 minutes a day 4 days a week.

These recurring items would magically appear on your calendar.  You’d be clear on what you had to take care of every day.

But what if things pop up that aren’t recurring?

For example, what if someone wants buy a 90-minute consultation with you? 

That’s a case of a “trigger” routine that you can have mapped out and automated ahead of time.

Here is an example of a trigger routine we created for another client:

  1. When a client requests a consultation, send them to a relevant webpage (unless they do it themselves).
  2. The client books the consultation by following the online scheduler instructions.  The scheduler requests the client to make a payment before confirming the appointment.
  3. The client makes the payment.
  4. In the autoresponder, the client is thanked for the payment and is asked to fill out a questionnaire so that you can better prepare for the consultation.
  5. The day before the consultation, the online scheduler sends the client a reminder about your meeting.
  6. You meet with the client.
  7. After the call, you send the client the audio recording and a checklist of next steps for her to follow.
  8. You schedule a check-in/follow-up e-mail.

What made my client especially happy about that routine is that most of the steps in the above lineup were automated.  All she needed to do was review the client’s questionnaire before the meeting, meet with them, and send them after-the-call deliverables.   

Clear.  Predictable.  Simple.

Creating rhythms for yourself will not only give you peace of mind, but also help you define the beginning and end of each routine, which means that you’ll be in control of your schedule and your business.  Not the other way around.

Trust me, it will make the biggest impact on your productivity and profitability.

BACK TO YOU

What do you do in your business on a regular basis that you’d love to create a routine for?  What routines would you like to have help with?  Need more guidance on where and how to begin?  Want your assistant to systemize your business FOR YOU?  Check out Systematic Success..

from karen: natasha is seriously THE systems chick. she is my go to resource for anything to do with creating systems & routines for business that save time, save sanity, and make your biz run better. plus she is a freaking awesome person. i love her. if you have "get better at running my biz" as one of your 2014 goals please do check out her systematic success program. it is fantastic.