3 Ways To Streamline Processes

A process is a series of repetitive activities or linked tasks which occur in a specific order and end when a service or product is provided to a client. Streamlining processes makes things simpler and more efficient and leads to improvement in operations. The benefits to streamlining processes include minimizing costs, diminishing or eliminating lost time, and reducing wasted resources. Streamlining can also lead to increased engagement, efficiency, and communication.

To streamline processes, start by doing the following:

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17 Apps for Tracking Time

When bringing tech into my business, I try to select tools that will enhance my productivity. Below are tips for choosing a time tracking app, along with options for time tracking apps that should lead to increased productivity.

When choosing a new app:

Use the KISS method. Kiss stands for ‘Keep It Simple, Sweetie.’ Ease of use is paramount with any new software. If I can’t determine how to use something within, say, the first 5 minutes, I’m not going to use it at all. So, bring in tech that is transparent, fun, easy to use, and keeps things simple for you and your team.

It’s not a bug…It’s a Feature! The more bells and whistles the software offers, the more difficult it can be to use. When possible, choose fewer, stronger features, rather than a whole host of ‘hey, that looks fun!’ Apps with fewer features enable ease of use, better streamlining, and a shorter (and flatter) learning curve. Definitely get what you need, but consider limiting extras.

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Easy Ways to Save Time

Home office organized by Lisa Mark, C.P.O.

Time Blocking

Identifying time-wasters is the first step to maximizing productivity. When thinking of daily tasks, ask if there is a way to clump, or group together, tasks that are similar. This strategy for doing similar things at one time is called time blocking.

From ToDoist.com: Time Blocking is a time management method that has you divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task, or group of similar tasks. Similar tasks may include:

  • Processing email
  • Scheduling client appointments
  • Attending meetings
  • Returning phone calls

Try using time blocking and see if it works for you.

Searching for Supplies

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How to Choose a Productivity App for Your Business

Because of the time and learning required to implement any new software, I tend to be a software minimalist. I do not want to spend time implementing and learning new software unless the benefits of doing so outweigh the investment of time and expertise I’ll need to put in. If what I have works well enough, I leave it alone.

This minimalism extends to my relationship with apps.

There is no such thing as the perfect app. App-savvy consumers may spend time on research, set up, and debugging, only to find that the new app is not all that much better than the old app was. Apps, like anything else, are only beneficial when they move us closer to our goals. And as with anything else, less is definitely more when it comes to apps.

I engage two processes when deciding whether to move forward with any type of upgrade, the ‘Questions’ process and the ‘Line in the Sand’ process.

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Learn How You Can Do More with The Resources You Already Have

Poor time management leads to accomplishing less with the same resources. Declining to set aside specific times to work on projects may result in unmet goals. Under these conditions, it is easy to spend the entire day responding to urgent items and be unable to find the time to complete more important items.

Solution: Identify & Pinpoint time expenditure.

  • Use a calendar to schedule deep-dive project time.
  • When possible, schedule other, less important tasks around brain-intensive project time.
  • ‘Chunk’ similar activities like processing email and returning phone calls.
  • Keep detailed records so you don’t have to search for important items after the fact.

The custom half-day schedule management tool below includes time frames for regular daily activities as well as planned deep-dive project time. Extra time is built in for unexpected occurrences – a meeting runs late, heavy traffic, or a task takes longer than expected.

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The Best Time of Day to Work on Urgent Projects

It’s happened to all of us: you sit down to address a high-priority project at the end of the day and find you don’t have the necessary brain power. The best time to address head-to-the-grindstone deep brain work is when you are at your best. This might be earlier in the day if you’re a morning person; later in the day if you’re not. To take advantage of your best times, schedule other commitments around them as much as possible.

To determine when you’re at your best, ask yourself these questions:

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Top Time Wasters: Meetings

If you’re like most people, you’ve spent time in at least one meeting that went on and on with no apparent purpose, without an agenda, with minimal or no follow through, and without resolution. You might even have wondered why you were there at all. Certainly, there were far better uses of your time.

Meetings can be a huge time waster if not done correctly. Good meeting preparation is essential for productive meetings.

Effective meetings consist of the following:

A Tight Agenda: Ensure you have an agenda, with time limits attached to each agenda item.

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Top Time Wasters: Looking for Lost Items

Searching for lost items is one of the easiest time wasters to address. Not being able to locate what you need when you need it can result in purchasing duplicate items, having multiples of the same type of item in different locations, and spending time and resources locating your items. It can also result in purchasing things that you already have, but cannot find.

In order to ensure that you can find what you need, when you need it, consider these tips.

Organize like with like.

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Top Time Wasters: Saying Yes When You Should Say No

Recently, we wrote a series of posts covering file management, including paper reduction, file organization, e-file setup and maintenance. The goal in having a finely tuned file system is to be able to easily find what you need, when you need it. That is efficiency.

Our next series of posts will discuss some of the most common time-wasting habits.

Wasting time means “to allow time to elapse in an unproductive manner.” But how do we tell whether something will be a waste of time?

I ask 3 questions when determining how to spend my time:

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