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Sometimes 24 hours just doesn’t feel like enough. Especially when your days are filled with repetitive or taxing tasks! That’s why I was so glad to have Jenny Blake join us for Coffee and teach us how to create time-saving systems. The rockstar author of Free Time, podcast host, and CEO is a pro at moving people from friction to flow. Keep reading to copy her homework to learn the easy way to create time-saving systems for more free time in life and business.
Feeling overwhelmed by your never-ending to-do list? Want to create time-saving systems but don’t know where to start? Jenny says the first step is to pin repetitive tasks. For example, buying paper towels. You know you’ll run out, so save the hassle of stretching the last roll before a grocery run and put them on a subscription! Now you’ve freed up a corner of your mind for bigger, more creative, more strategic thinking. “Repeat the process of nailing down small tasks and ask yourself what steps could I take today to generate free time far into the future?”
A great way to generate free time far into the future is by employing software. Jenny considers these tools her first employee as there’s so much customization available!
Here are her go-to apps and sites used to create time-saving systems:
1Password (for passwords)
Notion (to replace google docs, asana, etc as your main hub)
Zapier (for automating tasks)
Circle (for memberships)
Loom (for creating videos for your team)
Slack (to communicate with your team)
Because Jenny is the queen of systems, I was curious to know her process for creating new ones. She explained she doesn’t always write out a plan on paper but does take time to think through her pain points. Some plans come from brainstorming and others are inspired by the systems friends have in place.
“Start with what’s annoying to you and try to eliminate it altogether. If you can’t, ask yourself ‘How can I save myself or someone else time next time we have to do this?’ Put in 1.5x the work upfront, then follow up with the other .5 or .25 thereafter.”
Your process to create time-saving systems will be unique to you. But the thing about a great system is that it’s harder to not use it.
Jenny says one of the biggest roadblocks to having more time in life and business is time clutter. Your time is consumed when you say yes to too many little things and no one is that important. Avoid feeling all over the place and drained of your creative or strategic energy with this easy step. –
“In Stolen Focus, Johann Hari explained that by design many apps we use steal our focus. Reclaim your time and energy by discovering what’s draining, what’s neutral, and what’s motivating. Give yourself permission to eliminate what may have worked at one time but isn’t working anymore. Try this annually or semi-annually to do away with clutter and pinpoint where you need to create time-saving systems.”
Having more free time is most people’s motivation to create time-saving systems, but “free time” means something different to everyone. Jenny says that’s the best part about it!
I could say free time is an opportunity to build my side hustle while you define it as more time with family.
“I see free time as a choice where you get to work on what you want. Also, as a skill,
because you’re creating structures that take your time and autonomy back. When you’re filling your free time, be sure to give your best energy windows or “golden hours” to yourself to do your best work.
According to Jenny, there is such a thing as procrasti-notioning or procrasti-tinkering when you sit down to create time-saving systems. You can be sure your system is actually working and you’re not wasting time when the problem or process is off your mind completely.
Alternatively, when something needs fixing, you can feel it. It’s negatively impacting you, you dread it and procrastinate on doing it, or you’re drained by it.
For example, having to prepare dinner was a pain for Jenny and her husband so they started using Territory food delivery service. The burden of meal prep was removed and now that time could be used for something productive. In short, all roads lead back to annoyance! You know when a good system is in place when it brings relief.
What are your favorite social media accounts to follow? Puppies, piglets, and bunnies on Instagram and Lezap on YouTube
Homework: Ask yourself, ‘what could I stop doing?’ Then drop at least one thing, large or small.
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