Obsessed with the need for more time?

I know you are.  We all are.

It’s kind of crazy, but not surprising.

Here’s what happens.

We leave our corporate jobs to escape the prison-like 9-5 routine only to find out that our little startup needs every free minute of our time.  So, instead of working less, we work much more.

In addition, because of the extraordinary number of distractions bombarding us and redirecting our efforts, it can take us forever to finish something—even a small thing.

Running our own businesses becomes a frustrating juggling act!

There’s no magic wand I can wave to banish the madness of the first few months of starting up.

But. . . .

There is a special set of tricks I can teach you once you’ve found your way of doing things on a regular basis.

Tired of getting thrown off track every time even the smallest of distractions (even a random thought) pops up?

Want to stop relying on your memory and running the risk of something falling through the cracks or having to start all over again?

Ready to stop losing vast amounts of time?

Download everything from your head into a physical or digital document!

Use your creativity to make this exercise exciting and fun.  Rely on your inclinations to pick the routes of least resistance.

5 Creative Ways to Document Your Processes

  1. Play with Post-Its – Take a bunch of post-its and write out the steps you take to accomplish a given task. Find a large surface and arrange them in chronological order.  Look at the picture and see which actions are redundant and which will get you the best results— the fastest. Can you get rid of some of the post-its?  Can you substitute two old ones with a single new one?  Can you visualize the new course of action? This method will work especially well for processes that involve more than one person, like client intake (you and your client), content creation (you and your editor), or online magazine production (you and your designer).
  2. Shoot a Video – For repetitive tasks that you do on your computer—uploading and formatting blog posts, scheduling social media updates or filling out online standard nonconfidential forms—record your screen as you do them.  Narrate the steps. Demonstrate what you do as if you were explaining to someone else how to do it.
  3. Record an Audio – For repetitive tasks that don’t require visual directions (e.g., the steps for signing up a new client, putting together a gift basket for a client or ordering instructions), you can record audio instructions and then turn them into a checklist.
  4. Role-Play – You can streamline activities that require your soft skills (e.g., holding introductory sessions with clients, handling phone inquiries or closing sales) by role-playing with someone, noting the questions you ask and recording the process.
  5. Have it Done for You – Have your assistant help you create systems by explaining to her how things need to be done and having her put the details together in a document. Save the material in Google Drive or any other database you use so that it’s easily accessible to your team member(s). Encourage your team to make suggestions if they come up with a better way to accomplish specific tasks.

I realize that when you are on the go, these are the last types of things you *have time for.*

But I urge you to spend an extra 15 minutes on this today to save yourself 15 hours tomorrow!

These outlines will become reference documents for your (future) team when there is so much happening you can’t think straight or have no time to explain how something is done.

Instead of wasting time trying to remember what comes next or fixing mistakes that happened due to missed steps, you will be able to gracefully navigate event the rockiest of waters.

Your Turn

Which one of the suggestions above feels easiest to implement to you?  What process are you going to document this week using that technique?

{Featured image via Pixel This}