The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today.

Chinese proverb

The saying above is true for many things in life. But there are a few areas it rings more true than others.

If you’d invested in stocks or funds 20 years ago it would have been better than now. But now is better than tomorrow. Or next year. If you look at the interest rate over time, it’s obvious that it’s better to start early (but note that historical results isn’t an indicator of future results).

For me, the saying isn’t just a reminder to begin now, it’s also a reminder that patience and discipline are crucial ingredients to success. Things rarely happen overnight, and if it appears so, it’s usually a long sequence of events the preceded that spark.

I would say that it applies to less measurable things in life, too. If you start learning about a topic, you won’t become an expert overnight. But if you keep educating yourself, over time you will gain deeper knowledge which you can use to make better decisions.

As boring as it may sound, systems and processes will make or break your success. Whether it is about building a business, developing better habits, build up your personal finance, or mastering any new skill, your success will depend on whether you can develop systems that you use patiently over time.

As a project manager, processes that work inside strong systems are the way to make work run smoother. Even if you can’t automate everything, you can set up frameworks to work with – which can make things semi-automated.

The goal for every business should be to be independent from a single person in the organization. There should be systems in place to help the business replace any person – even the founder or CEO.

It may sound like heavy work to set up these kinds of systems. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. And what’s more important – you can start with a very simple system, which you then can adjust and develop over time.

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the next best time is today. Let’s get started and get some momentum.