Do you actually have a systems problem?

by | Sep 15, 2021 | Entrepreneurship, Systems

You know by this point that I love systems. They’re one of the most powerful tools in our arsenal as entrepreneurs.

But over the years, I’ve had to learn something the hard way.

Systems could make me more efficient. They could help me accomplish the things I set out to do. They could silence the “what am I missing” loop that used to run through the back of my mind.

But they couldn’t do what I most wanted them to do.

My systems wouldn’t turn me into a productivity superhero.

It was almost like buying a car and getting mad it wouldn’t help me teleport.

I ultimately realized that I didn’t have a systems problem…

I had a volume problem.

My list was just too long to be realistic, and making my systems more efficient would only take me so far.

I knew, of course, that no amount of systemization would allow me to write a high-quality 200-page book in one day. But I would create very ambitious to-do lists every day and blame myself for failing to achieve them.

I hear this a lot from my clients too. They’ll come to me saying they need to get a better process, but when we dig in, we discover that while a better process will definitely help them, we’re going to need to do something else too…

Shrink their list.

I like to call this human-sizing our expectations.

You’re a tough entrepreneur, no doubt. But that doesn’t mean you need to carry a horse on your shoulders every day.

So next time you think you could totally ‘get it all done’ with a more efficient process, be sure to ask yourself….do I really have a systems problem? Or do I have a volume problem I should solve first?

The good news is that solving a volume problem doesn’t require any fancy skills. As painful as it may be, the secret is simple – writing out your list and then crossing out a lot of tasks. Once you do, you’re actually giving yourself a chance to win.