Growth / Productivity

A system approach for doing more in less time

M. Rafiq

Updated: Mar 24, 2020 · 6 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

growth productivity automation system

You’re always on the move.

You wake up at 5 a.m., grab a cup of coffee, power your laptop, and start working—replying to customer emails, connecting with a prospect on LinkedIn, attending a conference call with your marketing team, the list goes on and on.

And the work won’t end until—maybe—5 p.m.

You know you need a system for working smarter not harder. But these days, there are torrents of tips offered by “experts” on how to do more business without getting burnout. Do the difficult tasks first, delegate, work only on seven tasks per day, batch your tasks—the options are too many. Worse, most of these tips don’t make sense.

  • Are you supposed to follow all of these tips?
  • Should you even try some of them?
  • If so, which tips are better?

It’s so confusing, but here’s the good news: In this blog, I’ll answer those questions and offer you practical tips for doing more business while doing less work. The tips have worked for big companies. In other words, everything is about to get a whole lot easier.

So, let’s jump in.

Create a system

When you launch a digital business, your next line of action will be to employ more workers, double your performance, and get more marketing tasks done in less time, right?Wrong.

Beginning start-ups don’t have the resources to employ more workers. Even veteran start-ups with big budgets are cautious. They always try to operate smartly. They don’t just spend money to increase their performance. They, instead, create a better strategy that helps them do more in less time. At Amazon, for example, CEO Jeff Bezos sets up his two-pizza rule: He only assigns tasks to a tiny team that won’t eat more than two pizzas.

So, what’s the best, free method for getting more business tasks done in less time? Create a system a set of processes and strategies that work together to help you accomplish your business tasks. What's the starting point for creating your system? Here are two tips:

1. Take inventory

Make a list of all of your business activities. If you’re in the content marketing business, for instance, some of your business activities might include:

  • Writing blogs
  • Uploading blogs on WordPress
  • Promoting content on social media

2. Create a process

Here, you will design a system that will streamline how you’ll efficiently get your business activities done. The idea is to create a process so simple and follow it every time you want to execute a specific task, so you won’t get burnout and waste your valuable time.

One of the major factors for success, especially for ecommerce businesses, has to do with the installation of a powerful, efficient system. At Amazon, for example, once a buyer places an order, the Amazon machine gets to work. From confirming the payment to packaging the order to delivery, the system ensures that the buyer gets their product on time—thanks to the smart system that Bezos creates.

Moreover, it’s important to note that automation is the secret behind every successful system.

Let’s talk more about that next.

Automate your tasks

The popular opinion, when it comes to automation, might be to set up some robot to act on your behalf.

This is not what we mean by automation. To automate is to ask yourself: “What tasks can I systematize using software, apps, or other digital tools?” For marketers looking to achieve their marketing needs, using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is essential.

You need, and here we’ll quote Benedict Evans of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, “a machine that makes the machine.”

Rather than wasting time to connect with lost leads, you can catch up with lost clients in less time—through an automated-empowered CRM. Marketing tools like CRM “allows you to keep an organized history of prospective and lost leads,” Entrepreneur’s Shaun Hasse said. “Which is critical in increasing sales funnel visibility and shortening sales cycle—and over time, it provides clarity on potential roadblocks in the process.”

Doing more business in less time is about being smart. It’s about knowing what to automate and having the tools to do it. It’s about working harder to improve on your previous successes. In other words, it’s about continuous improvement and evaluation.

Continuously improve

Creating a system for doing more in less time doesn’t happen effortlessly. It’s not as easy as clicking a button to send an email. In addition, it doesn’t end with automating your business operations either. Planning everything on paper won’t work.

It’s only after you have tested the system that you’ve put in place that you will know how effective—how fast and stress-free—it is. Until you evaluate your processes and systems, you won’t know if it’s good for you or not.

To continuously improve your business system, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Can I make the system more effective?”
  • “How can I lower the cost of the system?”
  • “Can I improve the system so that I can start getting even better results?”

Your task, in this stage, is to continuously revisit your systems, especially those business tasks that you’ve either delegated or automated. That’s because, over time, you’ll be paying less attention to them. It’s important, at this juncture, to follow motivational speaker Brian Tracy’s advice:

“Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement. Get a little bit better every single day.”

The bottom line

The secret to doing more business, performing better, and satisfying your customers is not about working harder from 5 a.m. until 5 p.m. It’s about working smarter.

Therefore, all those common productivity tips—waking up early, executing the difficult projects first, and delegating tasks—are great but they’re not the priority. Creating a system that streamlines your work is priority.

Every successful company works on systems—the systems that they design for themselves—and they follow it, and achieve tremendous success. McDonalds works on a system, Tesla works on a system, Amazon works on a system.

You have to build your own system and use it to do more in less time. Fortunately, building your own system is not difficult. You start by:

  • Analyzing your business activities
  • Automating your tasks
  • Working to perfect your system

Building a system takes time. It needs constant testing and evaluation. But in the end, you’ll love every part of it.

About the author

M. Rafiq is the brain trust behind multiple ecommerce start-ups, and has become a thought leader in the entrepreneurial space by providing wisdom and advice based on his decade of start-up success. The digital age has opened opportunity to everyone, and M. Rafiq is passionate about providing opportunity to anyone willing to work both hard and smart. He’d like to thank InventHelp for its help with this blog.

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