DIY -v- GMI  . . . This is a big one.  Seriously . . . it’s huge.  We hear so many people are struggling to let go of doing things and passing them over to someone else.  ‘No-one knows how to do this like I do'; ‘I’m not confident of someone else doing it right/the way I want it done’, etc.  You’ve heard it too, I’m sure.  In fact . . . you might have even caught yourself saying it in the past . . . I know I have!

There’s a very simple reason you’re not delegating . . .

You haven’t worked out how much it’s costing you.

Yes . . . it IS costing you.  And you might be surprised to know just how much it’s costing you.  If you are doing something as a business owner or leader, that could be done by someone else for £10, £15, £20 an hour (or whatever figure you know you could get it done for!) it is stopping you doing something more valuable.   And it also quite possibly means that you are not valuing yourself and your time highly enough.

Punch in the ribs

Ouch! . . . that hurt when I first realised it.  Then the digging in the ribs got much worse when I realised just how long I’d been getting in my own way.  I think I was mentally doubled over by the time I realised the opportunity cost to me . . . while I’d been busy doing mundane, routine or repetitive tasks, what had I been missing out on?

And there’s another reason you’re not delegating . . . you don’t trust someone to do it right.

OK, if that’s the case for you I’d ask how clear you are on the system for doing it.  If it’s in your head then it’s your job.  If you write it down – literally document it step by step – then test it, you can edit it and tweak it and turn it over to someone else.  You HAVE to do let some stuff go to be able to move forward.

At one point we had most of our systems written by a part time Admin Assistant who came in a couple of times a week.  Sam was brilliant (she still is but she’s moved on).  She would ask ‘Have we got a system for it?’ and if we didn’t, she would write one.

Then she would present it to me to check . . . could I do it without help, just following the system?  If I could – great, it went ‘live’.  If I couldn’t we would both check in minute detail ‘where do I find this?’, ‘what do I click now?’ etc. etc. until it was foolproof.  And I was the ultimate tester ;-)

Fantastic – and life changing!


Recommendation 1 – Instant Systems by Brad Sugars

Instant Systems cover - Brad Sugars

Quite simply, this is my ‘go to’ book.  Part 4 – The Nine Steps to Systemising your Business is worth buying the book for alone.  It is superb and – if you put it into practice – it WILL free you up.  Get it, use it.  I promise it will give you heaps more time in the future.

Work out the time you spend doing a repetitive task now, how many times a day/week/month that you do it.  How long you’ve been doing it for and then . . . and then . . . work out how long it would take you to write out the steps next time you do it, then test your notes the next time you do it, refine it and pass it on.

If you’re feeling really brave – compare the two and see how much a small investment of time will give you in return.

Recommendation 2 – How To Get Control of Your Time & Your Life – Alan Lakein

How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life - Alan Lakein

I was introduced to this book on a training course at Hambro Life (as it was then) back in the early 1980s.  My copy looked like this one . . . well creased seams, and there was a great deal of highligher inside it!  I loved it and it was a game changer for me.  Then, sadly, I loaned it out to someone who promised to return it to me.  I never saw that book again . . .

Many years later I searched for it and found it (pre-online fast ordering!) and ordered a copy in at my local bookshop.  I picked it up and paid £25 for the hardback version in the late 1990s when I first set up my own business.  I thought it would be a good one to revisit and put back into my Personal Development Library.  It was, and although I was on the receiving end of a lot of criticism for ‘spending’ £25 on a book (worth every penny and more!) I’m happy to say it is still in my collection and gets displayed at our 90dayplanning sessions as a great resource.

Also . . . My friend Mike Gardner has a great Facebook group called Time Management Academy in his role as The Time Doctor.  He (and the group members) share some really interesting tips and give each other support.



Are you asking yourself these great questions . . . . regularly and frequently

  • What’s my highest priority?
  • What’s the best use of my time right now?
  • Do I DIY or GMI?

And do share with us your stories and examples (good and bad) of systemising and DIY v GMI.


The Prologue . . . (also known as ‘real life getting in our way’)

I just nipped over to Facebook to check the name of Mike Gardner’s group so I could add the link above and noticed a post from a good friend of mine (who was one of the very people who prompted me to write this piece).  We had talked at some length about asking ourselves the above qustions, and he was determined to embed some daily and weekly disciplines into his business.  Then within 24 hours something external happened and he was off in major distraction mode and not just that but then sharing his DIY activity on Facebook.    I did smile ;-)

Beware of our patterns . . . they love pulling us back into DIY.  This stuff is simple, I didn’t say it would be easy to overcome the habits of a lifetime.  Have fun and invest in yourself by systemising and streamlining and outsourcing.


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