Workflows 101: The Hidden Concept to Get More Work Done

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Everyone is approaching productiveness flawed. Tactics equivalent to Pomodoros and blocking distractions solely scratch the floor. A more practical strategy is to enhance your workflows.

My profession exploded beginning in 2009.

The cash was nice, however my soul was taking a beating. I couldn’t sustain with the numerous emails. I assumed workers have been the reply, however managing them took time away from me truly making a living.

I’d work seven days per week for a number of months. Inevitably, I’d burn out and head to the Caribbean for per week to recuperate.

This wasn’t sustainable, however I didn’t know what else to do.

One day, I used to be strolling my canine and overhead my neighbors chatting about weeds of their yards.

Neighbor #1: I’m bored with these weeds. I simply ordered a weed whacker to assist me kill them sooner.

Neighbor #2: A weed whacker? They’re simply going to develop again irrespective of how briskly you kill them. Buy your self some Roundup, and also you’ll kill the weeds perpetually. Do you wanna spend each Saturday reducing weeds?

Something clicked in my mind.

I had an effectivity strategy to conquering the countless quantity of labor. That meant I stored attempting to discover new methods to do the work sooner and sooner.

I’d maintain attempting out new productiveness apps attempting to discover that “magic bullet.” But I by no means took the time to zoom out and analyze my techniques for carrying out work.

My analysis led me to uncover a much more efficient strategy referred to as Workflows. (Credit goes to Cal Newport for this phrase)

Workflows ask WHAT you need to be engaged on, and HOW you resolve to do them. It’s about analyzing issues and creating techniques that eliminate sure work completely.

I’m going to share some examples of optimizing workflows and a few concepts on how to strategy your issues.

These upfront investments in workflows can pay dividends.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels.

Optimizing Customer Service Emails Through Workflows

A ache level for e-commerce shops is coping with buyer emails.

Let’s say you’re getting 100 customer support emails a day.

If you’re utilizing the effectivity strategy, you’ll be asking, “How can I reply these 100 emails a day sooner?

Some options are:

Every day at 2 p.m., you’re going to block out one hour to reply C.S. emails.You rent a brand new customer support consultant to assist out.You create totally different templates to reply sooner.

The outcomes?

You’re in a position to lower down the customer support response time from three days down to two.

This is a win for most individuals, however is it the perfect answer?

Let’s deal with the identical drawback from a workflow perspective.

Remember, workflows deal with the WHAT and the HOW.

The first WHAT is… “What do the shoppers need?

Do the shoppers need sooner responses to their emails? Sure. But they’d be happier in the event that they by no means had issues within the first place, or by no means had to contact you.

Next, get readability on the place you might be proper now. Categorize all of the emails you recover from the span of per week. Create some graphs to enable you to visually analyze the commonest issues.

Remember, you need to take an 80 / 20 strategy and deal with the commonest issues.

Most Common Email #1: People Keep Asking Where Their Order Is

This is a kind of issues that may be automated with the best software program.

You perform some research and set up the AfterShip Order Tracking system into your retailer.

People mechanically get updates by way of electronic mail or textual content on the place their order is. There’s now an enormous monitoring hyperlink in your navigation bar.

Most Common Email #2: Instructions for Using the Product Aren’t Clear

People obtain your widget, however they do not know how to use it.

You can create an tutorial booklet and put it within the packaging.

Your crew creates an in depth video on how to use the widget. The video is emailed just a few days after the particular person makes a purchase order.

For different widespread questions, you construct a Frequently Asked Questions web page. People have to scroll by way of the FAQ earlier than they attain the Contact Us kind in your web site.

I keep in mind one instance from The four Hour Work Week. Tim Ferris was annoyed with the variety of questions his customer support reps would ask him on what to do.

He created a rule. The customer support reps may spend up $100 to make the shoppers completely satisfied. This one rule eradicated so many backwards and forwards questions from his workers.

Taking an Efficiency strategy means you’re nonetheless going to have 100 emails a day. You’ll find a way to reply them inside two days as an alternative of three.

Taking a Workflow strategy means you’ve put an infrastructure in place to lower down on the work. Instead of getting 100 emails a day, now you’re getting 25 emails. The prospects are happier, and also you liberate sources to deal with larger points.

Other Workflow Examples

Here are another examples of workflows I’ve carried out in my life.

Dealing with Co-Workers: You get your greatest work accomplished while you’re not being interrupted. I’ve a 15-minute assembly daily at 12 p.m. referred to as the Daily Huddle.

It asks what we’re engaged on and what bottlenecks we’re dealing with. If anybody has any questions for me, they’ll ask me then. Any different points could be left as a remark in our Project Management software program.

This provides me a number of hours a day to do “deep work” as an alternative of getting interrupted with Slack messages.

Booking a Flight: I began working with Executive Assistants a number of years in the past. One of the commonest duties was reserving flights. The largest situation was that they’d maintain asking me for various info.

That’s after we labored on making a Standard Operating Procedure only for journey.

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There was an upfront time funding in creating this doc, nevertheless it has saved us countless hours of backwards and forwards.

Three Ideas to Help You Create Workflows

1. Ask the 5 Whys

Most folks deal with the signs, nevertheless it’s far more practical to work out the foundation trigger.

Let’s say that you simply’re experiencing complications daily. You may take an Advil daily, however that’s not nice on your long-term well being.

You perform some research on the potential causes, and also you see that poor posture is one. You understand that you simply’re hunched over your desk to use your laptop computer.

You resolve to put money into a correct ergonomic work setup. Your complications magically go away!

It’s not simple to work out what the foundation causes are. I take advantage of a software referred to as the 5 Whys:

Because I maintain oversleeping. Why?Because I maintain hitting snooze on the alarm clock. Why?Because I’m not getting sufficient sleep. Why?Because I’m staying up late watching Netflix. Why?Because I hate my life and watching Netflix at evening is the one factor that makes me completely satisfied. Why?

The root reason behind oversleeping for this particular person is melancholy. That’s the lead domino that may repair all different points.

2. What would issues appear to be in the event that they have been simple?

People have a tendency to overcomplicate success.

I like to ask myself, “What would this look like if it were easy?”

In 2016, I needed to acquire muscle. It was a ache within the ass for me to sustain with my macros and exercise applications. So, I requested myself what wouldn’t it appear to be if it have been simple?

1. I’d have a private coach. He’d monitor my metrics and design exercises for me daily.

2. I’d used a meal planning service. Every day, I’d get my day by day meals delivered within the morning. Those three meals + 2 Scoops of protein would hit my macros simply.

Think about how a lot psychological area I freed up by not desirous about this anymore. It wasn’t low-cost to create this setup.

Good well being is a pressure multiplier, and I’m certain I made again my cash by way of higher focus and vitality.

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels.

three. Touch it as Few Times as Possible

It’s mentally draining to maintain revisiting the identical duties.

The much less you revisit a job, the higher.

If you delegate work and there’s a ton of backwards and forwards, usually it’s since you didn’t clarify it nicely sufficient.

Let’s return to the instance of reserving a flight.

In the early days, I’d delegate it, equivalent to:

“Can you ebook me a flight?

Depart: from ATL to SLC October 10th Morning

Return: SLC to ATL October 14th Afternoon”

Slack: Is this a enterprise or private journey? Which bank card ought to I take advantage of?

WhatsApp: Hey, I discovered the flight on Delta. Do you have got a SkyMiles quantity?

Email: The flights are sometimes $300, however I see proper now it’s $500’ish. Did you continue to need to ebook it?

Do you see how a lot time is wasted?

Let’s use the contact it as soon as mentality. How can I delegate this as greatest as attainable, so I don’t have to maintain coping with it?

I take advantage of a framework referred to as Vision / Resources / Definition of Done.


I’m happening a enterprise journey with my buddy. I would like you to ebook a flight.

Depart: from ATL to SLC October 10th Morning

Return: SLC to ATL October 14th Afternoon


You can discover all the data you want within the Travel SOP.

Definition of Done:

I would like the flight booked as quickly as attainable.

We’ll work out the lodging and analysis issues to do later.

Once booked, please make certain it’s in each JourneyIt and my Google Calendar.

If you have got any questions, please ping me within the feedback part of this job.

By investing all this upfront time in delegating, there are fewer questions. Fewer questions imply that I’m not interrupted after I’m attempting to do extra precious work.

Where to Go From Here

It’s not simple to create these Workflows. There’s an upfront funding in each time and pondering capability.

Yet, specializing in constructing these workflows can improve your outputs.

I would like you to develop a workflow strategy to any issues that you simply encounter. Having a workflow strategy will lead to you engaged on larger issues

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels.

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