Make a Plan. Develop a System.

A couple months back I went on a business meeting with a client and their entire staff. I got dressed up, spent the day in Orange County with realtors and loan officers, ate lunch, and headed back over the hill to my home office. It was a great day. I felt so grown up.

The lady sitting next to me at the meeting was a pretty gal; one of the partners in the loan office…she was clearly very bright, and had a wonderful professional demeanor. Now, at meetings like these I will be honest, I tend to glaze over and get overwhelmed with all the talky talk talk…but I worked hard to stay focused and connected to the group. Pretty lady to my left said something very astute that I have not forgotten, and it is now part of my daily work ethic. She said “To be successful in anything that you do, you need two things: 1. a plan. and 2. a system that works.

Good God. So simple, and so true.

I’m a pretty good planner, on some levels. I carry a to-do list on a clipboard with me most days. It helps get the noise out of my head and see it in black & white. But I’ve never really taken it past that point. I’ve never come up with a system that works for me, a developed plan that eventually automates or become rout…a system that helps me make money, or become successful. Somehow, that always seems to be the hard part. I only know how to work, and work really hard.

So, part of taking it to the next level for me is to come up with a system. I asked myself “what is a SYSTEM? How is that different than a plan?” I answered myself thusly…

A plan is comprised of the stages of putting a successful system together. For example, I plan my week on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, so that the rest of my week flows a little more smoothly. OK, so maybe I DO have at least ONE system that works for me. The system usually goes like this:

Monday – Grocery & errands. I make my teenage son drive because he has his learners permit and needs the practice. My older son likes to tag along when he’s not working; grocery shopping teaches them to budget, and I get to spend quality time with them both.

Iron Maiden

Tuesday & Wednesday are my “work at home” days. I service my social media clients, clean house, cook, and do laundry.

Thursday – Sunday I work my “day job” and in the evenings (typically Friday & Saturday) I play music with my band. Thursdays & Fridays I like to set up crockpot meals so we have some left-overs to snack on throughout the weekend. Sunday night I usually sit down with my grocery circulars and plan my shopping trip for the next day.

It has taken me awhile to get this system in place. When I first got my “day job” I was a mess. We were always eating fast food, there was never enough food in the fridge, I was always running late and feeling flustered with my schedule. The planning was hit & miss because my kids had crazy schedules too, but I just kept at it until I found a system that worked for us.

This is just one example of a plan and a system. What kind of system would YOU like to put in place? Do you need to save money? Start a business? Balance your lifestyle? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~ Jane

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