How to set boundaries
Life can feel like a lot sometimes. I don’t know about you, but every once in awhile I’ll have a moment of total overwhelm; I feel like I’m going to drown in a sea of to-do lists and family calendars.
Have you ever felt like that?
For women especially, we’re expected to do it all. Be the best mom, wife, employee, worker, businesswoman, friend, daughter, sister… but there are only so many hours in a day! Luckily, Stacy Tuschl of the Foot Traffic Podcast has cracked the proverbial code on reducing overwhelm in life and work/business by utilizing systems and processes.
Stacy is a multi-talented entrepreneur who owns 2 dance studios, a consulting company, and dabbles in real estate on a daily basis, in addition to running after her two adorable little girls. As Stacy puts it, “I like to be busy.”
How does she juggle a million different things? She has a system and process for everything.
Time is always the answer
Before you run off and think you can start 5 businesses right now as long as you have systems in place, pause for just a moment! A successful business doesn’t happen that quickly.
Stacy started her first dance studio twenty years ago. Despite having expanded to two locations in Milwaukee, she still runs both studios as one. For the first 15 years, she was all in on just her dance studio.
During that decade and a half, Stacy devoted all her extra time to ensuring her dance studio ran smoothly. She developed systems and processes and began to delegate work to managers and teachers. Now, her dance studios only take 1 hour of her time each week. What you don’t see are the 60+ hour weeks she worked during the beginning of her business.
Only after those first 15 years in business did she feel her dance studio was running like a well-oiled machine — then it was time to set her sights on adding a second business to the mix, and Foot Traffic was born.
Even if you’re not a business owner, you can appreciate the time it takes to build a career before expanding into something new or seeking that “highly coveted” position within your company! Stacy is proof that good things take time.
Systems come first, hiring comes second
“Lots of people come to me and ask how to find their dream team. I tell them it starts with their systems.”
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner or professional growing a team can make is delegating too early, before having amazing systems in place. There’s an idea that often floats around: if you hire the right employees, they’ll create perfect systems and structure in your business.
That is a recipe for disaster. And if you want to lose your mind, hiring employees without systems is one of the best ways to do it!
If you’re like me and want your life to be as easy and painless as possible, there are a few ways to get systems put in place.
Examine your frustrations
Anytime you’re having a frustration in your corporate job or business, Stacy wants you to look at it like a clue. Every frustration simply means you have a gap that requires a great system to fill.
For example, if there’s nothing to eat in your fridge and you’re getting frustrated about it… that’s a lack of a system. You haven’t systemized and planned your grocery store trips, so they’re not getting done, so you have no food.
Once you’ve built a grocery system into your everyday, you’ll always have food. Bye-bye, frustration! The same goes for your business or work or home life. Implementing and building systems into your day-to-day will save you those frustrations up front.
Overcome the system intimidation
Flexibility and freedom thrive off systems. In fact, there is not a single person enjoying the flexibility and freedom you crave that doesn’t have absolutely unbeatable systems in place.
Put systems in place for everything.
It doesn’t matter how small or large the task feels. The more systems you have in place, the less intimidating they’ll become as you reap the benefits. In fact, you don’t even have to be the keeper of the systems. Once you’ve successfully set up systems, you can delegate those tasks and leave more space in your mind for personal and work things.
Always be open to improvements on those systems, but never expect others to create systems.
Give your systems a home
There is no way you can keep track of all of your systems without keeping them somewhere. And, no, the compartments in your brain don’t count!
You need to have a place to write down everything that each system encompasses. For this, Stacy uses project management software for her work. It doesn’t matter which one — but you DO need one. Whether you’re the sole person in your business, you have a hundred employees, or you just stepped into a management role in your job, a project management system is vital. Great options include: Trello, Asana, Monday, and Clickup.
Why? Because it’s the system for your systems. And you know by now how vital systems are!
How to start crafting your systems
Start with the now. What’s most pressing for you today or this week? For example, if you missed a really important appointment earlier this week, your first step should be to analyze it.
Why did you miss the appointment? What went wrong, and where? Did you miss the email? Forget to put it on your calendar?
Don’t create a system for your vacation in nine months. Create a system for what you need now. What was the last thing, in life or business, that made you frustrated?
If you’re a business owner, don’t start with systems for marketing. Start with your fulfillment systems — what is the client experience like from the moment they purchase from you? How can you systematize that?
Once you’ve placed a strong system and your client fulfillment flows with ease, you can start thinking about the accessories (the marketing systems).
Regardless of whether you’re a business owner, working a 9-5, or you’re home taking care of the kids and house, ask yourself how you can put systems into place that will bring more — more money, more time, more ease, more joy.
What got you to this stage won’t get you to the next
Not all systems are infinitely scalable. Sometimes, a system that works amazingly well to get you to one place (like 6 figures or a new project that runs smoothly), won’t work as well to get you to the next level (like 7 figures or starting the next project). Or maybe it’s a system with your children — what worked when they’re 3 or 4 won’t work when they’re 10 and 11.
Every system has an inevitable tipping point. This is the point where a system is no longer adding value, but it hasn’t broken just yet. Your goal should be to predict the tipping points of each of your systems and evolve them before they break.
Don’t wait until your system is causing you to lose time, clients, or opportunities to fix it. Refine your systems as you go, and stay one step ahead of their tipping points.
Systems are not set-it-and-forget-it operations. You must constantly analyze them and ask yourself honestly if they’re still working.
Keeping things interesting
Setting systems in place for every aspect of your life might sound a little boring. If you have a plan for everything and a repeatable process, how can you keep life interesting?
“Life will always throw you curveballs,” Stacy points out. For example, the systems in her dance studio were working effortlessly… and then a pandemic hit, and it was back to the drawing board.
The truth is that there are seasons. Enjoy the moments when things are working smoothly and simply because eventually life will come out of left field and shake things up. But the more systems you have in place, and the more adept you become at refining these systems, the less overwhelmed you’ll be when things do get shaky.
If you’re just starting out, the best thing that you can do is begin finding routines and rhythms you can put into place to build the foundations of your systems and processes.
Loved what Stacy had to teach, and want to learn how she can help you implement systems in your own life? Go here to check out her consulting business!
In this episode, we talk about:
- Why you need systems and processes
- How to apply systems to every part of your work and life
- Where to start when creating systems
- What happens when life changes and your systems don’t work
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
- Stacy Tuschl
- Foot Traffic Podcast
- Project Management Software
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
- Living The Dream: How Setting Up Systems And Workflows Can Change Everything Featuring Jess Aiken
- Why Your Time Management Isn’t Working
- When You Work Full-Time And Run A Business: Productivity & Sanity Tips
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