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What causes overwhelm? We never set out to be disorganized, undisciplined, or unprepared, yet sometimes the complexity of running a business catches up to us, and in those moments a color-coded labeling system is the lowest priority imaginable.


There is no shortcut to a totally stress-free work experience, but the good news is that adding strategy to your workflow will curb overwhelm on a deep and holistic level. Beyond the optics - though I do love seeing fancy office supplies in mason jars - an organized approach will help:


  • Maintain an orderly environment

  • Maximize your time

  • Ensure consistent work product

  • Accomplish more with a smaller team

  • Establish a blueprint for scaling your business (If that’s your goal)


A workflow is like a cookbook made up of the systems, tools and guidelines. Together, these structure your office ecosystem, trending towards calm productivity instead of frenetic spinning. If you are just getting started, keep it simple and realistic - the best workflow is one that you will actually use. There’s always room to layer on special features, integrations and automation when you’re ready.


Within a strategic workflow there’s a system - a sequence of steps to complete a task - for each recurring project in your business, whether they repeat on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If a workflow is a cookbook, a system is a recipe. The beauty here is that following the same specific recipe produces the same specific product every time for built-in quality control.



Photo by tslrlifestyle.com

These systems are likely supported by tools to save you energy and brain-power. Tools can be physical, like a calendar or planner, or digital, like Asana, Acuity, or Dubsado. Keep in mind that digital tools will require set up - maybe more than you’d expect - but it’s worth it to carve out thorough and intentional time at the beginning. A strategically employed tool can delay the need to hire an assistant until you truly require an extra person, not just extra help.


Workflow is beneficial to all stages of business, but it’s especially forward-thinking if you have plans to grow in the future. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you can no longer do everything yourself, and need to add team members or consultants to take over departments like administration, finance, marketing, etc.


If you’ve already been handling these areas systematically - if you have a cookbook outlining how to do the work exactly way you want it to be done - you can delegate responsibilities to other people without changing the experience or the quality. At that point you’ll keep for yourself the work that’s in your zone of genius - and outsource everything else.✨


2 views
  • Annika Robbins

Updated: Sep 19

To avoid drowning, set a time frame and goal for each pivot


YOU’RE RUNNING A MARATHON


I’m curious if your friends and family members reacted the same way mine did. When you told them about starting a small business - were they overjoyed? Did they congratulate you with starry-eyed affirmations about your eminent, viral-like success as if you were soon to take a long vacation on a pile of money?


I sure hope they did...

Despite what I’m about to say, that is the encouragement you deserve.


The issue with this optimistic scene is that it’s too easy to confuse creative talent with entrepreneurial success.



In practice, entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. No disrespect to your grandmothers, but it is rare to strike gold without first trying, failing, learning and adjusting, all while trying to support yourself financially. So, how do you navigate?


How do you make today’s time and energy count, while still staying light, nimble, and sane for tomorrow?



STAY SANE WITH SPECIFIC BOUNDARIES


The key for me personally has been to draw boundaries around a certain project or season. Here’s what I mean:


  • Start with general, open-minded research, but set a time limit upfront.

  • Narrow your focus to a realistic goal.

  • Give yourself a deadline.

  • Define how you’ll know if you’re on track or off track.

  • After you’ve committed to a goal and deadline, resist jumping back into the ocean of options and opinions (i.e. searching Google or posting in a Facebook community).


Don’t just go with your gut here, set specific boundaries.


Write them down, share them with your networking group, post them on social media if you want. Evolution is part of being an entrepreneur, but you will need a strategy to keep your head above water with all that change.



HOW IT LOOKS WHEN YOU'RE NOT GETTING IT RIGHT


Tense. Frantic. Dysfunctionally optimistic, as if there’s one magical shortcut to success and you’re going to find it by scrolling through Instagram.


I love you. But you aren’t going to find it on Instagram.



HOW IT LOOKS WHEN YOU'RE GETTING IT RIGHT


Flexible. Strategic. Mentally light. By setting boundaries along the way, you’re maximizing your creative energy, instead of sabotaging it.


You’re making space for the best idea of the moment instead of the first idea of the moment.


And last but not least, you’re setting yourself up for a proper marathon instead of easy, overnight success.


Which you do deserve, even if it isn’t in the stars right now.


9 views
  • Annika Robbins

Updated: Aug 30



Is your current system falling short?


Systems help you manage the never ending flow of business tasks, from billing to communication. It’s likely that you already know the benefits of having a system… you’ve heard the buzzwords… you believe the logic... you may even have the recommended tools in place. But your current system is falling short if you:

  • Don’t use it

  • Don’t know how to use it

  • Never finished setting it up

  • Hop from tool to tool

  • Feel intimidated


Wondering how to close that gap - without wasting time you don’t have?




TAKE THE 5-MINUTE ASSESSMENT💡


After you submit your checklist, I'll look it over and reply with personalized recommendations for your next steps.







Current strengths and weaknesses


A system you don't use is falling short!

The first step to improvement is an honest assessment. To help you identify common strengths and weaknesses, I've created a quick checklist that breaks things down by category.


A great overall system includes tools and processes in all aspects of your business: tasks, clients, communication, finance, content and innovation.





Target a system that sticks


Focused action steps save you time!

The goal is to have a system that’s effective, and tailored to your business. The best way to make that happen is with focused action steps.


It’s easy to waste time in the wide world of systems advice - even accidentally - when you don’t have a clear understanding of where you are and what you need.

By stepping back to assess and set a plan, you’re finally on your way to a system that sticks.



annika@actionplanhq.com


Based in Los Angeles, CA, USA

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