Although I love, no, LOVE, systems and strategies, I realize most of you may not. In fact, I have a feeling you may even grimace at the words. But, as boring as they sound, they actually can relieve your stress and save you time. So, I ask you to read on, my dear sister, and at least consider implementing some of these systems to help you lead with more ease and enjoyment. If you’d like a simple checklist, I have one for you here. You can create a system for just about anything. Here are a few areas that I think are the most essential systems for success for leaders.
Info & Resources
Leaders are learners. We research topics, archive ideas, and store information for later use. If you don’t have a system for organizing information it becomes like a library with no Dewey Decimal Classifications – what a mess! Some tools that I consider ‘must haves’ to keep your great ideas at your fingertips include: saving passwords, organizing computer files, bookmarking websites, filing research articles, and locating emails.
If you’re an action planner like I am, then you need a system of tracking your goals and progress. Whether you’re outsourcing or working with a team of staff or volunteers, you also need a way of managing your delegations. Good project management will help you to accomplish more in less time.
We all want to be productive aka ‘get things done’. I have found having daily through yearly routines essential to saving time which allows me to get more done in a day. Routines are just habits for repetitive tasks. Once you determine the way you want to handle something, you document it for your team if needed, then do it that way all the time…no need to perpetually reinvent the wheel. I use this planner everyday to stay on track with my goals and appointments.
So much of our communication is electronic which allows us to use some shortcuts without sacrificing quality interaction. Templates and autoresponders are timesavers for processing emails, training team members, and sending information to our clients.
One of my least favorite tasks as a leader is the money stuff. Planning the budget, tracking expenses, saving receipts, ugghh, what a chore! …and what a necessity! If you have to do it, you might as well make it as painless as possible, and a good system can do that for you. A few great apps that can help with money management are Scannable, Evernote, and Every Dollar.
A system for self-care? Yes. Most women place themselves last. I’ve often heard ladies say that they’ll get their annual physical or overdue mammogram ‘when they can get around to it.’ No, no, no. We have to take great care of ourselves so that we can take better care of the people (and projects) around us. Trust me. I learned this the hard way by exhausting my adrenal system. You need to create margins in your life to allow for rest, relationships and regular self-care if you want to give your best to your future.