Every weekend, I send out the Sunday Systems newsletter. In it, I share a bit of inspiration, a story, and a link to my latest blog post about how to get the most of your business/money/life using systems.
But last week I didn’t have anything to share. No inspiration. No blog post. No newsletter.
It’s not that I dropped the ball or that I was being lazy. Quite the contrary; I had tons going on, but I decided to practice what I preach.
I committed to completing something that would pay dividends in the long run instead of taking the quick, easy win.
Sure – I could have dropped everything to knock out a quick blog post or two. But it wouldn’t have had as much impact for the site in the long run.
The Problem with Instant Gratification
Our natural inclination is to do the easy stuff before the hard stuff.
It is far more satisfying to chalk up a bunch of small wins than it is to labor away on a single project for month or a week or a day.
Do you know someone who is a “social media oversharer?” I feel like everyone does.
They’re the people who posts every link on Facebook, tweets 651 times, comments on every blog post known to man, and takes a minimum of 14 Instagram photos every 24 hours.
And they feel like they’re accomplishing a lot because, “Look how much stuff I’m doing!” All that production will eventually lead to success, right?
But probably not.
A Harsh Truth
Volume doesn’t equate to results when there’s nothing else in place to harness your momentum.
- Eight Facebook updates an hour mean NOTHING when you don’t have a place to send fans to purchase your product or service.
- Tweeting for 5 hours a day means NOTHING if you have two followers and one of them is your dog’s account.
- Driving new traffic to your website means NOTHING if you have no way to stay in touch with them moving forward.
That said, the goal isn’t to simply do things that take more time. No one likes a martyr. And just because something takes time doesn’t mean it’s more valuable. The goal is to do the things that can sustain themselves – or at least support other components that you have created previously.
An incomplete system is as useful as one that doesn’t exist at all.
Matthew Russo, Systems for Growth
A system that is 95% complete is as efficient as a system that was never started because an incomplete system cannot run on its own.
Sure, certain components that you’ve built might get some use or exposure, but since each element plays a specific role, the entire thing comes to a grinding halt when a portion is missing.
Imagine how useful a car would be without a engine, the lights in a house without an electrical panel, or a camera body without a lens.
My Completed System
Over the past two weeks, I spent my time completing a resource that has a much longer shelf life than a blog post: an e-book. I was ambitious and created a guide I’m proud of for something that I know a lot of people struggle with. I’ll be giving it away for free to anyone who wants to reduce the amount of unproductive time they spend on their smartphone.
I could have written and published the content as a blog post. But people would have read it, and then moved on. So I upped the production value, included some photo and screenshots, made it sharable, and converted it to a beautiful, downloadable PDF as a way to grow my e-mail list so that I can continue to provide value and get my ideas in front of a larger audience each week.
Stop Creating Islands, Start Building Bridges
Every piece of work you complete, each line of code or piece of software, every relationship, every blog post, every financial report, every direct mail campaign you create has very little impact in isolation.
The true potential exists in the spaces between, and your ability to bridge the gaps from one island to the next. In doing so, you allow people (or information or ideas) to flow freely and continuously without the need to maintain the momentum manually.