Process vs. Event

By Ron Rosenberg

What's Your Plan Concept

There are way too many areas that compete for your attention each day, and it can be challenging - if not downright impossible - to keep them all organized.

If you happen to own your own business, you know this all too well - you wear so many hats it can be difficult to even know where to start!

That's why it's important to understand and appreciate the difference between a process and an event.

It's Tax Time!

Every year my accountant sends me a reminder to get our information ready so he can prepare and file our taxes in a timely manner. Some years it's simply a matter of pushing a button on our QuickBooks software and, voila, it's all done.

Other years, I might have fallen a bit behind with some of the updating. When this happens, what should be a simple task of reviewing and submitting the information to the accountant becomes a marathon effort that can take several days to complete.

The problem in this case is that I've confused the concepts of "process" and "event."

Processes Are Good!

You see, I like processes. A lot. They make it easy for me to get things done quickly and consistently, and they keep me from forgetting important items when I travel.

According to my process, I'm supposed to update several different systems on a weekly basis to make sure they are all current and correct. When I do this, it avoids major problems down the line, makes it easier for people on our team to do their jobs, and, to be honest, it just feels good!

Almost without exception, when I fail to do this - for whatever valid reason there may be - it always ends up creating significantly more work later, and generally in a way that adds unnecessary pressure to an already busy schedule.

Can You Transform Events into Processes?

This is a trap you can and should try to avoid. An easy way to see if this is affecting you is to simply look at where and how you spend your time over the next few weeks. Identify the big blocks of time that put you in "crisis mode" and see if these could have been avoided by having a process.

I'm not saying this is easy - I'm as guilty of this as anyone I know - but I can tell you with absolute certainty that a little time spent on developing and working a good process can save you a lot of time over the long run!

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