Workflows 101: The Hidden Concept to Get More Work Done

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Everyone is approaching productiveness flawed. Tactics comparable 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 really earning money.

I’d work seven days every week for a number of months. Inevitably, I’d burn out and head to the Caribbean for every 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 uninterested in these weeds. I simply ordered a weed whacker to assist me kill them quicker.

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 ceaselessly. 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 strategies to do the work quicker and quicker.

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 programs for undertaking 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 try to be engaged on, and HOW you resolve to do them. It’s about analyzing issues and creating programs that do away with 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 pays 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 quicker?

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 quicker.

The outcomes?

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

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

Let’s sort out the identical drawback from a workflow perspective.

Remember, workflows sort out the WHAT and the HOW.

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

Do the shoppers need quicker 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’re proper now. Categorize all of the emails you recover from the span of every week. Create some graphs to provide help to visually analyze the most typical issues.

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

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

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

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

People robotically get updates by way of e-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 frequent 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 type in your web site.

I bear in mind one instance from The four Hour Work Week. Tim Ferris was pissed off 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 have the ability to reply them inside two days as a substitute of three.

Taking a Workflow strategy means you’ve put an infrastructure in place to minimize down on the work. Instead of getting 100 emails a day, now you’re getting 25 emails. The clients are happier, and also you release assets to deal with greater 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 whenever you’re not being interrupted. I’ve a 15-minute assembly day-after-day at 12 p.m. referred to as the Daily Huddle.

It asks what we’re engaged on and what bottlenecks we’re going through. 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 offers me a number of hours a day to do “deep work” as a substitute 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 most typical duties was reserving flights. The greatest concern was that they’d maintain asking me for various data.

That’s once 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, however 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, however it’s far more practical to work out the foundation trigger.

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

You perform some research on the potential causes, and also you see that poor posture is one. You notice 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 instrument 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 explanation for oversleeping for this particular person is melancholy. That’s the lead domino that may repair all different points.

2. What would issues seem like 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 wished to achieve muscle. It was a ache within the ass for me to sustain with my macros and exercise packages. So, I requested myself what would it not seem like if it have been simple?

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

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

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

Good well being is a drive multiplier, and I’m positive 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 activity, the higher.

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

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

In the early days, I might delegate it, comparable 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’ve gotten a SkyMiles quantity?

Email: The flights are usually $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 potential, so I don’t have to maintain coping with it?

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

Vision:

I’m happening a enterprise journey with my good friend. I want you to ebook a flight.

Depart: from ATL to SLC October 10th Morning

Return: SLC to ATL October 14th Afternoon

Resources:

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

Definition of Done:

I need the flight booked as quickly as potential.

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

Once booked, please be sure it’s in each JourneyIt and my Google Calendar.

If you’ve gotten any questions, please ping me within the feedback part of this activity.

By investing all this upfront time in delegating, there are fewer questions. Fewer questions imply that I’m not interrupted once I’m attempting to do extra useful 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 enhance your outputs.

I need you to develop a workflow strategy to any issues that you simply encounter. Having a workflow strategy will lead to you engaged on greater issues

Photo by Startup Stock Photos from Pexels.

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