As we have discussed previously, processes and systems are the backbones of your business. Without processes set up, you could lose your business if you had to be away for any length of time, especially if you are a solopreneur. Today I want to take that discussion a little deeper and talk you through the details of how to set up your processes.
Setting Up Your Processes
It is important that you have recorded your processes and the systems you use to accomplish your tasks somewhere. You could use a project management system, a program designed specifically for recording processes, or your digital notebook (such as OneNote).
“Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. They are too long; they are hard to use; they are impractical. They are made by desk jockeys with no awareness of the situations in which they are to be deployed. They treat the people using the tools as dumb and try to spell out every single step. They turn people’s brains off rather than turn them on.”-Process.st
Steps to Help You Set Up Process
Let me also say right from the top, that if you are setting up processes because you have a team starting to work with you, then I suggest you begin the processes for the tasks that they will be directly involved in soon.
[Mindmapping tools can be a great way to visualize and get started as well. Let’s take a look at how easy it is to get started setting up your processes.]
Step One: Identifying Tasks
Begin by taking it one task at a time. What is the first thing you do when you start your day? If that is turning on the computer then write it down (record it). You may find it easier to write it out with pen and paper first and then transfer it to your program.
Step Two: Each Step In Each Task
Each step in each task is important. Write each step it takes to do that task, whether turning on the computer or starting to go through your email inbox.
Step Three: Include All Program Used For Task
While recording your tasks include the programs you use to accomplish these tasks. If you use Gmail or Outlook for email you will want to include the program name and the login for each of these (unless your login is recorded elsewhere).
Step Four: Sub-Tasks
There will also be sub-tasks under the main name of the task. For instance, if you are starting with your email, then the name of the task may be “1)Email” and then underneath this, you will have to add a sub-task for the login. So you may label it “a) login to the email program ______” (Gmail for instance).
Step Five: Organization of Tasks and Sub-Tasks
Organizing your sub-tasks within your tasks is important so that whomever is following the directions knows what needs action first. The next step often speaks to how you organize them or go through them in the case of the email you may have a sub-task label “b)start with the email marked important” for instance.
Step Six: Decisions During Performing The Task
Decision Of Your Responses – You will then have to indicate how you make a decision about the specific emails under your sub-tasks. For instance, you will want to explain how you decide on the next action. So, you might label it “c)Responses:” then go on to explain what responses you take for each item. In case it may even be a sub-task to the sub-task. I would label it “i)Requires a Response:” for those that require a response – then I write out the decision I make for this one. I would indicate that “I respond immediately while the email is open.” Next, I would label another “ii) Junk email” – and I would respond by saying “If it is junk I put it in the trash”. Lastly, I would label one “iii) Delayed Response – if I need to come back around to it may leave it in my inbox for later in the day.”
Step Seven: Continuing To Document All Work
Continue to record and document each task you perform – Set up all the steps you take for each of these tasks and sub-tasks. I would start with the tasks you do every day then move to the tasks that are done a few times a week, once a week, and on to those done monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
Step Eight: Results
It is always important to know what results you want to accomplish by performing any specific task in your business. So, as you begin to draw up processes please be sure you can get the desired outcome.
We will discuss systems to use to help you set up your processes in a later article. If you are ready to jump in you could try your own project management system or an all-in-one program.
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