Read in 17 min.
Listen in 21 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Mike Michalowicz


Designing a business that runs itself

The myth of productivity has permeated entrepreneurial culture in recent times, with the promise of helping us to find the best way to manage time, and get as much out of it as possible. Productivity, however, can be a trap, to which many entrepreneurs fall prey, and for whom hard work becomes the only reason for living, even when it means sacrificing every other aspect of their daily life. Clockwork is a book that will teach you to take back control over these aspects: it is not a time management manual, but rather an invitation to do more with less, to optimise processes, and turn your business into a perfectly functioning system, that runs like clockwork.

Read in 17 min.
Listen in 21 min.

The productivity trap: why businesses become blocked, and there is never enough time

Time management is a factor that can determine the medium and long-term success or failure of a business. Many entrepreneurs are imprisoned by workdays that never seem to end, they can’t disconnect (even when they are on holiday), and they have the feeling, day-in, day-out, that they never have enough time to get everything done. Moreover, despite all their efforts, their business is stuck and unable to grow, or worse, is actually losing money.

Working hard quickly becomes a habit from which it is impossible to free yourself: answering phone calls, emails, and micromanaging every aspect of your business feeds the illusion that this is the only way to find more customers and to be more productive. Making the most of your resources, including yourself, therefore becomes a way of life. 

Productivity, however, is a myth, as well as a trap, in which psychological factors also come into play. Anyone who finds themselves in a vicious cycle in which the only goal is survival, can liken their existence to that of a hamster, running on their spinning-wheel. To better understand this concept, you just have to think of all the entrepreneurs who continue to deal with only the most urgent action items, because by doing so, they get an immediate sense of satisfaction from having solved a problem. It is a trap, because this approach gives us the impression that we are being proactive, while actually, it is simply a case of reacting to external situations.  

What we should, in fact, be aiming for, is efficient organisation: it is not a question of working harder, but working more intelligently, in an environment where all of the different parts are working in unison, and each person has a role that puts their talent to the best use. Making a business run like clockwork means finding a way to make each process as efficient as possible, (rather than simply focusing on overall productivity), while at the same time learning to delegate certain tasks. This is the only way that you will be able to increase your awareness, and dedicate yourself to all of the things that are usually sacrificed in favour of hard work, such as loved ones or family, as well as time for yourself.


The key ideas of "Clockwork"

The productivity trap: why businesses become blocked, and there is never enough time
The 4Ds: Doing, Deciding, Delegating, Designing
Analyse how time is spent in the company
How to assign the Queen Bee Role
Protect and serve the Queen Bee Role
Putting working systems on paper: the ACDC framework
Finding a balance within the team
Know your audience, and make the best decisions to win them over
The final lesson: keep track of activity, at a distance
Persevere and don’t look back: the difficult task that falls to the entrepreneur
Take-home message
4books preview

Try 4books Premium for free!