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Chapter
1

Maximizing productivity through effective processes

In today's fast-paced business environment, time management is often touted as a key skill for success. However, the truth is that time cannot be managed consistently and sustainably. There are simply too many variables that can impact how much time we have and how we use it. Instead, the focus should be on managing other things — things that live within time.

The first step of this playbook will focus on the ability to maximize productivity through effective processes.

Effective processes allow for consistency and predictability in the way work is completed, which leads to repeatable and successful outcomes with clients. It also allows you to to manage you time and resources more efficiently, allowing you to take on more work and increase your income.

When you have a clear process in place, you know exactly what steps need to be taken to complete a task and can anticipate any potential roadblocks. This allows you to work more efficiently, and you can focus on the task at hand rather than trying to figure out how to accomplish it.

Write out the steps to build your effective process

Following these steps, you’ll turn one of your tasks into an effective process:

  1. Identify a specific task or project that you currently work on.

  2. Write down all the steps that are involved in completing the task or project. Be as detailed as possible.

  3. Look for any steps that can be combined or eliminated to make the process more efficient.

  4. Organize the steps into a logical sequence, from start to finish.

  5. Create a checklist or flowchart of the process to use as a reference.

  6. Implement the process and track your progress. Make any necessary adjustments to improve the process.

  7. Review the process regularly and update as needed. Use tools such as Process Street, Lucidchart, or Creately to map out processes, visualize workflows, and collaborate with team members. Revisit processes at minimum every quarter to see if they need updating.

Focus on creating a process that is efficient easy to follow and brainstorm ways to automate or streamline certain tasks to save time. There are a variety of specific apps and tools that can automate tasks and save time. Here are a few of my recommendations:

Email management

Email filters can be set up in Gmail or Outlook to automatically sort and prioritize incoming messages

Task management

Apps like Asana or Trello can automate task assignment and reminder setting

Scheduling

Calendly or Doodle can automate meeting and appointment scheduling

Social media management

Hootsuite or Buffer can automate content posting and analytics tracking

Data entry automation

Zapier or IFTTT can be used to automatically populate data fields

Customer support

Chatbots can be created with tools like ManyChat and Front to automatically respond to customer inquiries and provide support

The goal is to come up with a process that can be easily replicated, which will help increase productivity and achieve better results.

For example, Sarah runs a small graphic design agency and struggles with managing her time effectively. She often finds herself working late to finish projects and never feels like she is making progress. One day, she takes a step back and assesses her workflow. She realized that she’s constantly switching between tasks and isn’t using her time efficiently. When you switch between tasks, there is a "switching cost" - a time and mental effort that it takes to get into the mindset and context of the new task. This cost can add up quickly, and you may end up spending more time switching between tasks than actually working on them. 

Sarah writes out the steps for each task and creates a system for tracking her progress. Previously, when creating a branding package for a startup, she spent hours researching design concepts and found herself frequently distracted by other tasks. After creating a clear process for this task, including defined steps and a system for tracking her progress, she was able to work more efficiently and effectively.

Sarah found she was able to get more done in less time and felt less stressed. She was also able to take on more projects and expand her business. By creating an effective process, Sarah was able to maximize her productivity and achieve better results than she ever had before.

Managing processes is different than time management

Trying to manage time itself can be a constant struggle and can lead to feeling overwhelmed and unproductive. Time management techniques such as creating to-do lists or blocking out time for specific tasks can be helpful, but they don’t address the underlying issue of how work is being completed.

Managing processes is a more effective approach to maximizing productivity and achieving success than trying to manage time itself.

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