To most audiences what I’m about to share with you would sound dry, boring, and totally nerdy. You aren’t just any audience though! You’re my kind of people, assistants who are always seeking to improve themselves and increase the value they add to their executives and organizations. You’re the movers, the shakers, and the get-things-done-ers so I know you’ll share in my excitement and enthusiasm regarding today’s topic, systems.

Utilizing Systems to Increase Performance

I LOVE a good system and I actually enjoy walking through the process of developing them as well. There’s something about proceeding confidently and intentionally, knowing you are handling tasks and projects as effectively and efficiently as possible. Systems, by design, also help you maintain consistent performance because, once in place, you no longer have to reinvent the wheel.

This is the first of a 2 part series on systems. Next week I’ll be sharing a few systems every assistant should have in place. 

If you are on the fence about how systems can help you then check out this video where I go into 3 amazing benefits of building systems.

Check out the Video:


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Check out the Transcription:

Hey guys, I'm Annie of wholeassistant.com. And I'm really excited to be talking to you today because I’m going to be covering the first half of a two part series all about systems. I love a good system, especially for us assistants, especially for those things that we do on a regular basis because it has so many amazing benefits.

Today we're going to be talking about the benefits of building a good system and how to actually do that. And then next week I'm going to go into a little bit more into which systems we should all consider building for ourselves and our workflows.

I love a good system because it helps us to externalize what it is we do on a regular basis. So the first step in building any system is to take a step back and to actually take a look at what it is that we do on a regular basis and if there's a system we can create around it.

For  me, this looks like just literally removing myself from any situation, from the work that I do and getting a bird's eye view and then I really just hone in on a specific thing. Maybe something that's giving me trouble and I analyze it a little bit. And I ask myself if there's any way that I can automate the way I do things or anything that will help me be more efficient at my job and to do things one certain way. So that I can actually make a system the amount of it, which will just make it easier for me to go through my days.

I know it can be hard because we're so in the weeds with our jobs to take a step back. I like to do this when my boss is traveling because when he's here it can be a little nutty sometimes. But I'll do this two or three times a year. I'll take a big step back, I'll get a bird's eye view. I'll ask myself, what is working in my job, what is not working in my job? How can I support my executive better? And I will really just try and think outside of the box and take myself out of the weeds for a little bit to get that bird's eye view.

Once you do that, it makes it a lot easier to see, "Oh, there's a hole here. Or oh, I could create a template for this email so that every time I send an email of this nature, I've already got a template built up and set aside." I put that in my Trello board. And so that I know whenever I have a scheduling email, this email template is the one I'm going to use. That way you don't have to reinvent the wheel every single time.

That’s what I love about systems too, is that you can create them to where you do not have to recreate the wheel every time. And your brain will automatically go once you train it to, it will automatically go to that place of efficiency and that system, because I've already created the neuropathways to get there.

And so another way that... Let me see. Oh yeah. So like I said before, another great benefit and what I'd really like to emphasize is that when we create systems and those systems become habit, it really does reduce brain fatigue because our brain goes on autopilot. I know for me when I start a new position or a new job, I can be overwhelmed with how we do things in this new job or new position.

A good example of that is our expense reports that we do. Tracking all those expenses and managing credit cards, the work credit card for my executive. That first time or two in doing that is a real challenge and it takes me a long time because I don't necessarily have it down yet. I don't know the system of the company. But there again, sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.

I'll go ahead and create a system around that and the next time it takes even less time. And then three or four times down the road it takes me an hour or two. It's not a big deal. And that is what I love about any system is that it really does take less brain power in order to actually implement and to see it through in the long run.

I know it can be difficult and a challenge to slow down now, but the payoff will be great and it will be really significant moving forward.

Last but certainly not least, I would just like to say that a good system will save you time. It'll save you mental energy, but it will also save you time. So as you can tell, and because our brains automatically go to where they need to go with the system, it is just very time saving as well. So I will set a time parameter on my Trello board for each task. And I've noticed that as I do the task more and more, or as I automate or really think strategically about the system behind the task, that, that time frame will go down and down and down. It will take less and less and less time over time to do it when we view our work through this systems model.

Okay guys, that is all I have for you for this week. I hope it was helpful. I will be back next week to share a few suggestions for how you can systematize your work and a few systems that I would recommend all of us put in place as assistants. But until then, I will see you later. Have a great rest of your week.