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Episode #5

What does ‘Clockworking’ your business even mean?

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What does “Clockworking” your business even mean?

3 Easy Steps to Get Started


What exactly does it mean to Clockwork your business (as described in Mike Michalowicz’s book of the same name)?  

You’ve probably noticed, we at Run Like Clockwork use “Clockworking” as a verb. It means getting you to a point where you’ve designed a business that can run without you.

That’s when you get your coveted four-week vacation. 

Essentially, Clockworking means getting the systems and the team to a point where you become the least important person in the day-to-day operations. 

Now you might not even be close to that yet, or you might be so close you can taste it, depending on the current state of your systems and team. 

So the question becomes: to Clockwork your business, how do we get the systems and the team to a point where you become the least important person in the day-to-day?

This is not a quick fix.

We have a system in our Run Like Clockwork Accelerator that we take our clients through, which typically takes about a year.

They go through three different test vacations before they get to the four-week vacation — which is our litmus test to see if the business can run without them.

When they work with us, we focus on:
– improving the systems
– creating more efficiency
– getting the team up to speed
– rebalancing the team
– establishing metrics

… and so much more!

But here’s the short version of how to get started with Clockworking:

1.  Read the book, Clockwork


If you haven’t read Mike Michalowicz’s book, I absolutely recommend that you do so. The book goes step-by-step through how the system works and how it breaks down. 

But let’s be clear: It’s not enough just to read the book. When you’re deciding if Clockworking is your next step, you have to commit to the work. And you have be OK with the idea that this is not going to be easy.

Clockworking is a process, but it’s very worth it, because it creates a paradigm shift in thinking not just for you, but for your team, helping them to become more autonomous in their thinking.

That’s going to save your company resources, whether it’s time, money, or energy, all of those things cost you something as an organization.

And so if we can all be thinking through the lens of efficiency, your business is going to grow your life is going to become more freed up to do the things that you need to be doing in the business, as well as the things that you want to do with the other areas of your life whether that’s relationships, hobbies, et cetera.

2. Track your time with the Clockwork Time Tracking Spreadsheet


The next step is learning how to track your time and analyze it. We call it the Four D analysis. The four D’s are different work types, so I’ll give you just a quick glimpse of these and we’ll talk about them more in-depth in a moment:

  • Doing
  • Deciding
  • Delegating
  • Designing 

We have our students start by tracking their time for at least three days; I advise five.

If you’re not even sure how to start tracking your time, we have a simple time tracking spreadsheet that we use that makes it easy to track what you do each day and categorize each activity as one of the 4Ds.  You can grab it here.

3. Look for the low-hanging fruit to Clockwork you out of tasks


Tracking your time can be so enlightening to understand where your time is going and where you need to shift it to improve and to grow the organization. 

Understanding where that time and energy and money is going is the baseline metric that we use to start shifting things.

The time tracking spreadsheet helps us identify where the easiest, lowest hanging fruit is. Where’s the opportunity for you to just shift 30 minutes a day towards a more valuable work type for yourself over the course of this week? It might mean delegating a task, finding a way to make a task more efficient — or even trashing it all together. 

As you start to free yourself up and your company starts to grow, you’re going to sleep better at night, you’re going to feel the stress start to drip off of you, and you’re going to get that much closer to your four-week vacation. 

This is how you’re going to start Clockworking your business.

Looking for your next great beach read?
Check out the Clockwork book — now Revised and Expanded!


Learn how to take a 4-week vacation in the next 12 months.