Establishing A System

Joe Collins, CPA, CA
May 10, 2021

Affiliate disclosure

Creating structure and routine in your business by establishing a system can improve productivity and efficiency for you and your employees. Learn our tips for establishing a strong and successful system here.

To create structure and routine in your business by establishing a system is extremely important. It can massively improve productivity, organization and efficiency for you and your employees. You will be able to manage more effectively while making sure your clients are receiving a consistent level of service no matter who is serving them. Basically, planning and establishing systems is an essential part to help your business run as smoothly as possible.

Avalon are followers of David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. It’s the system baked into most task management applications today and for good reason: it’s an amazing system.

Essentially, you find ways to capture absolutely everything that you need to do and then you;

  • Clarify the tasks by adding the detail you need to complete them,
  • Organize them into your prioritized to-do list,
  • Review them to make sure your next steps are clear, and
  • Attack them one by one during periods of execution

Any system you choose should allow you to:

  • Create tasks from anywhere with one (or maybe two) clicks.
  • Add additional detail to your tasks for clarity
  • Drag and drop those tasks into priority order.
  • Create sections on tasks to hide anything you are not currently working on.
  • Allow you to check-off your task without deleting it (for reflection purposes)

Capture Your Task

Once you have your central system, you’ll want to list out all the ways that tasks come to you and create a system to capture them. Really think about these. Here are a few you can set-up:

Verbal (someone tells me to do something): Voice memo that creates a note on iOS. Check these before completing tasks.

Email: Deploy an IFTTT recipe that forwards the email into my task management software when I "star" an email in Gmail. The email creates a task.

Phone call: Create a task immediately while on the phone

Repeating: Create recurring tasks within the software.

Text message/Slack/Other instant messages: Really tough as these happen rarely - have to be disciplined and hold these in your brain to enter when you get to my task management software.

There are definitely more, but you get the general idea. Make sure that you have an easy system to get tasks into a centralized place, especially for the avenue you get the most to-dos from.

Identifying Important Tasks

When trained as a CPA, time pressure is a huge element. The general requirement is to do an adequate job of a task in an ungodly short period of time. Still, the advice is to dedicate a third of our allotted time planning. Tasks are framed out and organized - only then the real work can begin. Planning may not feel productive, especially when you have urgent tasks that need attention, but taking a moment to identify your priorities for the day is critical to true productivity.

Not all tasks are created equal. Certain tasks can be marked as important because they’ll allow you to accomplish more for the time spent:

  • Planning your week (including delaying or deleting unimportant tasks)
  • Creating a process document
  • Automating a task
  • Learning a new skill
  • Replying to a meeting request with an agenda request

But alas, everyone still has to get their work done and often have more in our to-do list than is realistically accomplishable in one day. That’s when a framework comes in handy.

The Rule of Three’s

Three is a magic number. It’s a number large enough to have complexity and meaning, but small enough that we can remember and recite pretty easily. That’s why it’s effective to create your to-do list with 3 tasks in mind. It takes 3 legs to make a table stand too!

Batching your to-do list: When you are creating your to-do list, it can be useful to batch your list into larger categories and stick to three broader accomplishments each day. This is especially useful if you have many small tasks of a similar nature.

Lists of this size are easy to remember and know when they are complete. There will be enough there to have a productive day, but not so much that you will feel overwhelmed.

If you ever feel like a headless chicken and you are struggling to get organized, come back to establishing a system. Remember planning and organizing yourself is essential to completing work and running your business in the most efficient way.

If you would like more information on how to boost productivity in your business/work life, look no further than our full “Productivity Guide”. You can get it here.

Work With Avalon

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Thanks for reading!
Article by
Joe Collins, CPA, CA
Originally published
May 10, 2021
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