Step Nine: Systems, Processes, Forgiveness

Well we made it.  We are at the end of our Hey Toad Project.  You’ve accomplished the 8 previous steps and you feel great and organized as hell.

But here’s the real question…

How in the world are you going to keep at this?

A lot of people start a project (like getting your life organized) only to quit it when it gets rough, tedious, boring, complicated, or backed up.

The key to making sure you stay organized are these three things: Systems, Processes, Forgiveness

Systems:

Taking the time to create systems for yourself is paramount.  There are plenty of areas in which you already have a system.  Let’s take a very simple example.  My pantry is organized in a clear system to make up the pantry as a whole.  One shelf is for snacking items, another is for canned goods, another is for tea and coffee, etc.  I’ve set up all the parts, now I just need a process to make sure I keep it that way.

Processes:

Let’s continue with our pantry example.  In order to keep my pantry stocked and organized, I created a process to do so.  Here’s what it looks like…

–make a grocery list every Saturday including items in the pantry that are low/out or I need specifically for a recipe I am making this week

–go grocery shopping on Sunday

–stock all items in their designated spot

–every other week, remove expired, forgotten about, or disliked items

A system is a set of components you have set up for yourself.  A process are the steps you take through your system to keep it up to date.  Let’s take another example.

Financial stuff.  I can hear you groaning already.  I certainly did.  However, one thing I knew I needed to get handled right away when I start any new business is the financial aspect.

Here is my financial system:

On my computer…

Folder #1: Year (2016)

–Folder (Recorded)

–Folder (to Record)

Label template for each file: Date (of transaction)_Description (of purchase)_How (it was bought/charged)

Example:  2.12_BluehostDomain_BizVisa

Example: 4.01_ConferenceFee_BizCheckingAcct

Now here is my financial process:

  1. When I receive a digital receipt (via email or website), take a screen shot of it
  2. File each screen shot of digital receipt into Expenses (To Record) Folder
  3. Printed receipt: store in envelope (hanging on office wall) until scan day
  4. Every Friday, scan all physical receipts and store in Expenses (To Record) Folder
  5. On last Friday of every month, record all expenses into Business Spreadsheet
  6. Once finished, move all files into Expenses (Recorded) Folder

Your Systems and Processes can be as elaborate or as simple as you want to make them.  If you look around at your life, you will find systems and procedures already set up there.  Maybe like your getting ready for bed routine (brush teeth, floss, wash face, moisturize, kiss the cat) or your morning routine.

Routines are nothing but systems and processes turned into habits.  The more you create and follow through with, the more you will have organized habits in your daily and professional lives.

Here are some categories or places where you can insert Systems and Processes:

-Financial

-Email

-Office Start of Day and End of Day

-Paper Clutter

-Brand

-Frequent Projects

Some of the most successful people I know create Systems and Processes and write them down.  Many professionals have Manuals not just for their businesses, but for their personal lives.  For example, do you have a cat or a dog?  What happens when you go on vacation for a week?  I bet you ask a friend or a neighbor kid to come and take care of them for you right?  In order for them to be successful at their job/favor (and for you to feel good about leaving your hairy babies in their hands for a week) you need to relay the timeline in which the cat or dog should be fed, where they go to the bathroom, how to clean the water bowl, where the treats are and how often should they get one, etc.  You can certainly relay this information verbally, but just think how much better organized (and how better you’ll feel) if you have a written document.  That way you can make sure you aren’t forgetting anything and the caregiver can reference this sheet to make sure they aren’t missing anything either.  And Fluffy will be one happy pup thanks to your system and process.

And lastly…

Hey Toad Project wouldn’t work if you didn’t have Forgiveness.

Listen you guys, life is going to spin you around at times.  You will be forced to create new routines, forced to take a step back, forced to go even faster, or forced to simply lie down.  All of these steps aren’t created for you to become a tyrant in your life.  Where’s the fun in living a rigid, systematic life?  The Hey Toad Project is for you to set up some structure for yourself.  It’s for you to build yourself a sturdy wagon to help take you down the road of life.  But there will be days when you want to hop off the wagon and go roll around in the poppy field, or lay in the shade of that massive tree, or feed the zebra on the side of the road! (Because happiness isn’t happiness unless you have a herd of zebras on the side of the road) Life wouldn’t be rich without being able to hop off the wagon.

But the beauty about getting life handled?

Is that the strong and sturdy wagon will be waiting for you to jump right back on.  And together–corny as it sounds–you’ll be able to travel down the long road of life together.  That way you can look behind you at your success and accomplishments and say to yourself:

“Man, I sure handled it.  Boom!”

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