When a task is a frustration and takes more time than necessary, it's usually because the process has become complicated and inefficient due to circumstances over time. The series of steps you do to complete a task or achieve an outcome is often referred to as “workflow process”. Our goal is to optimize that process to save both time and money – to make it more efficient.
Workflow process is especially important in business for improved productivity and cost savings. Whenever possible, it’s key to have routine steps for activities such as payroll, invoicing and collections. However, standard processes are just as important in the home to be more efficient and preserve our personal time. We have processes for managing our finances, processing our mail, doing our laundry or maintaining our homes.
Perhaps you don’t have a routine process for some of your personal or business activities, or the ones you have no longer serve your needs. Here are tips to optimize them to make your life easier and free up your time.
Set your goal. Identify what tasks are consuming your time and causing you the most stress. This is a good place to start.
Determine the challenge point. Analyze to figure out what is causing the issue. Are you lacking information? Is physical proximity causing the problem? Do you have technology issues?
Automate. Choose the right tools. There are endless software products and apps to accomplish almost anything you want to do.
Standardize. This is the key to improving an activity. Create a standard process for routine tasks you do more than twice.
Simplify. Do onlythe steps that are necessary and no more.
Delegate. Assign parts that can more easily be done by others.
Document the steps. This is especially important in business. Make sure to write down and share the steps for important activities. It will be appreciated by others in your absence!
The goal of optimizing processes is to reduce stress, improve productivity and free up your time. Go ahead and try it out for something that has been nagging at you. I would love to hear your results – please share!