Habits and routines are KEY in maintaining your data management. Do you constantly forget to brush your teeth in the morning? Probably not, because it is part of your morning routine. Habits can be a bad thing, but, they can also be good when implemented consciously! Intentionally create routines and processes that your future self with thank you later for. Let’s review some suggestions for routines to help you create your processes:
I cannot understate how much time and money these intentional and simple things can save! It only takes 10 seconds to put the receipt into a folder in your car instead of tossing it in the back seat and having to search and gather all your paperwork later on. So make this a habit. You may find that entering your expenses every week only takes about 30 minutes for your business once you begin to get quicker at it. If you leave it until it is a large pile, sorting through all the papers will end up taking exponentially longer. Reconciling the bank every month, and clearing the bank feed every week, helps if there is a transaction that is missing a receipt. You will have a much better chance of remembering what that transaction was and was for. Set up and start these processes, routines, habits, and rituals now, and your business will be humming along later instead of careening off the rails.
Make these routines your own, but make them. I call it “Setting Up Your Success Routine”. Studies have shown that it takes about three weeks to create a new habit. Also, keep in mind that changing Systems is Easier Than Changing Behaviors. If your system fails, don’t try and change your behavior; try to change your system.
Pill boxes marked with the days of the week is a good example of changing a system instead of a behavior. We often have the best intentions, but we often forget until something is worked into our routine. Even routines are systems that may need changing. If you forget to take your medication each day, simply trying to change only your behavior is often a failing challenge. Change the system, change the routine. Maybe you could put your medication bottle next to your coffee maker and take your pill every time you make your morning coffee. You may find that then the question becomes, ‘did I take the medication’? Tweak the routine, buy a pill box marked with the days of the week, and refill it for Sunday to Saturday the moment you take your Saturday pill.
Use this perspective as you develop your business routines. If they are not working, change them. It is easier to change a routine or process than to try and change just the behavior. If Friday nights do not work for you, try a time that does, such as Monday mornings.
Work with yourself. There’s the phrase “Don't change your habits, change your habitat.” For example, do you constantly leave your socks on the floor in the living room? Put a hamper in the living room. Do you constantly leave paperwork on that side desk in the hallways? Put a folder there specifically for the business documents. Willpower is hard to control. We have more control over our environment, so set up the environment such that these processes are easier to put into practice. Our brain has less bandwidth than we think, and we will forget things that we were confident that we would remember. But we rarely forget to brush our teeth! Similarly, set up habits and routines that need no brain bandwidth to maintain, and you will set yourself, and your business, up for success.