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A simple method to implement more systems in your life [#38]

Dominik Nitsch
3 min read
A simple method to implement more systems in your life [#38]
Photo by Adi Goldstein / Unsplash

In business, the key to operational excellence is implementing systems. We do this all the time in our jobs, but neglect it in our personal life. 

Today, I want to show you a simple method how you can implement systems in your day-to-day life - just as you would in a business. 

Let’s dive in. 

[1] Block out 30-60 minutes per week for a task audit

Systems don’t build themselves. They need to be carefully constructed. Which takes time. So the first step is to commit to wanting to implement systems in your life. 

You do this by blocking out 30-60 minutes on a weekly basis. 

In that time, you do an audit of all the things that you’ve done this week. Ask yourself: 

  • Which of these tasks do I repeatedly do? 
  • Which of these tasks add the most value? 
  • Is there anything I could automate, eliminate, or delegate? 

Make a list of these tasks. 

For example, one task I do regularly is to write LinkedIn posts and then post them. When first starting out, I didn’t have any systems for this. I just wrote a post and hit publish. 

Doing this repeatedly was a huge time suck; it’d take me up to one hour to get it out of the door. There has to be a better way. 

[2] Document the status quo of your processes 

Next, take a document or notepad and write down what exactly you do in the tasks you’ve identified. Kind of like writing documentation for a business process. 

This will help you visualize what exactly is happening. 

When I write a LinkedIn post, this is what the process looked like: 

  1. Open notes, write draft of post 
  2. Get coffee, review draft after a break 
  3. Create the necessary designs for the post (eg. Carousels, Images)
  4. Open up LinkedIn, copy&paste the post, then hit publish 

[3] Identify the high-leverage activities 

When you break down a process step-by-step, you’ll find that there are high-leverage activities and low-leverage activities. 

For example, in my LinkedIn posting process, the high leverage activity is the writing of the post. I aspire for them to be original, though-provoking, and inspiring. The writing and thinking behind it is something I can’t really delegate.

But often, I’d sit there, looking for inspiration to strike.  

[4] Build systems for high-leverage activities 

Once you’ve identified the high-leverage activities, try to make them as easy as possible for yourself. You do this by creating systems. 

For my writing, I started setting up a bunch of systems to make it easier for myself: 

  1. I created a backlog of ideas to write about so that I never run out of inspiration
  2. I built a swipe file with content formats that work so that I could write content in a way that is proven to resonate with readers
  3. I then matched the ideas with different content formats. Successful content creators find a few things and say them in a thousand ways

By building this content matrix system, my writing process became much easier. I had a framework in which I could move, providing guardrails for me to be creative within. 

[5] Eliminate, automate, or delegate low-leverage activities 

Once you know your high-leverage activities are, you want to spend more time doing them. Why do something that you’re not very good at and have no aspirations to get better at? 

The most friction in my LinkedIn posting process was caused by creating the designs. I’d spend hours on end creating stuff in Canva that then ended up looking okay at best. 

Thinking and writing are the things I’m good at; designing not so much. So I decided to implement two more things: 

  1. Eliminate the “design” step by simply doing more text-only posts 
  2. Delegating the posts that require design to a designer 
  3. Automate the creation of carousel by turning Twitter Threads into carousels using the Taplio tool 

For my designer, I wrote a clear guideline: what brand identity I want to use, what a successful post looks like. And then let her work her magic. 

I could even go one step further and use a scheduling tool to post the content for me. This would automate another rather tedious step. 

With these systems in place, I can write a month’s worth of LinkedIn content in about five hours of focused work. And what’s even crazier: the content is better, too. 

By using systems, you can both save time and improve quality. It’d be stupid not to implement them.  

Action Items: 

  1. Schedule a 30-60 minute task audit. 
  2. Identify at least one task you do repeatedly 
  3. Identify the high-leverage activities inside this task 
  4. Build systems for those high-leverage activities 
  5. Eliminate, automate, or delegate everything else 
  6. Shoot me a quick note (email, LinkedIn) about what system you’ve implemented 

PS: A related idea to the “task audit” is the “friction audit” - another system worth implementing. Read more here

Dominik Nitsch

Proud generalist: Entrepreneur, Athlete, & Writer.