In our previous blogs, we first gave a bit of a sneak peek about work simplification where we indicated the cost and source of work pain. We also gave a preview of why it holds such significance to simplify work, the measures you have to comply with in order to do so and the fruits you will be bearing once you get the hang of simplifying.
In the wise words of Steve Jobs, “If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution.”
The solution to the constant strain of your work is through designing and embracing a Simple Work plan. With this process, work becomes efficient and effective for ourselves, peers, and clients. You can adopt this process with the means to the application of systems, processes, and basically anywhere that you perceive work pain. You can achieve this entirely through five key steps:
The first ingredient in the Simple Work recipe is to eliminate. The process starts off by extracting workflow and system steps and elements that are wasteful, unnecessary, outdated, duplicated or irrelevant. Removing the unnecessary components in your work will revamp your productivity.
For example, your organisation might be utilising multiple channels for communication such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, your website and more. If some of these channels are not effective, necessary or outdated then they need to be critically assessed if they really should be used anymore or altogether archived and eliminated. In this case, it would not be logical to keep them. You can implement this step by beginning to see if there are inessential inputs or duplications through your processes. “Less is More” and in the context of producing effective outputs, this saying can truly do wonders.
The second step to simplifying work is by aggregating. This describes gathering all your data in one place and collecting all units or sources into one system in order to share the input. This can also prevent duplication within and between your systems.
For example, it is common to have multiple systems where files and data reside, photos uploaded on many devices, drives, and platforms (think email attachments – ouch!). When data needs to be located, a lot of time can be wasted finding a particular file because everything is all over the place and is disorganized. Commit to aggregating data in one location with a logical (and documented) structure for easy and consistent access.
Integration is syncing information and data in a seamless way between systems. In your workplace, it might be necessary to use multiple platforms that share the same data or information. To get around the problem of duplication between systems, direct and third-party integration tools help to link and sync them together.
It benefits you in a way that makes work more time-efficient because you are keeping the same data updated in various places or platforms. For example, inputting contact forms from a website form into a database and providing a notification to the administrator or manager. Traditionally, you usually go back and forth through different locations and copy that information which can be time-consuming and lead to human error. A smart and swift approach is to adopt an integration tool that automatically fills in your information so you don’t have to go through the hassle of copying and pasting.
This step is similar to Integrate. There are multiple tools and systems that have the capacity to automate. Typically, you set up a trigger for the process and then provide the action for automation. This provides convenience and is a true upgrade to workflow processes. Examples include updating fields in a database when a new form is submitted
Delegation is especially beneficial and necessary for managers and people in general who are engrossed with so much work. For a person in charge, there might be instances where they end up doing tasks that are beyond their role, pay scale, or genius to which they should appoint someone else to do the task. Once the task has been properly handed over to the right person, it’s pretty much a win-win situation. There will be more time and space on their hands and better outcomes because someone else is operating in their genius.
It’s important to note that managers do not just indiscriminately give tasks to random people. It is important to delegate people that are qualified and have a skill-set that is fitting for the job. Delegation is probably the hardest of the five steps but equally rewarding in the long term.
How to start your Simple Work plan
Before we evaluate which steps would best fit the job, prioritising the time we invest will help to know if there is anything that can be completely eliminated and what to address first. We do this by measuring the value of the tasks against the time spent and the end value for the recipients of the task. For example, this could be the productivity of the team, the bottom line, or the happiness of the client or end-user.
A simple lightweight audit tool to measure this is the Simple Work Kickstart Plan. The beauty of this tool is that it only takes a few minutes and will give a quick snapshot of your workload, clarity on what to focus on, and how to approach the Simple Work plan.
|Create social videos||9||6|
|Respond to DMs||4||8||X||Integrate
|Brainstorm next campaign||2||9|
|Follow up with editor||6||9||X||Aggregate
|Copy data between CRMs||9||9||X||Integrate|
It’s really simple!
STEP 1: List down everything that you have to do; pending tasks and projects, unresolved pressures, and recurring workflow issues.
STEP 2: For each point, give a rating on a scale of one to ten on the amount of INPUT is required; this can be in terms of TIME, EFFORT, or PAIN.
STEP 3: Then rate the OUTPUT in terms of VALUE for the end recipient of the task; the BENEFITS, end RESULTS or ROI.
STEP 4: Now that you can visualise all the tasks and issues, prioritise the top three based on which ones give the most value but require the most effort.
STEP 5: Finally, brainstorm which of the five Simple Work steps or combination of steps can be applied to each of these tasks.
We hope this will kickstart your process to removing the burden and tension that is present in your work with the Simple Work framework. We love seeing clients flourish and succeed using the Simple Work framework by gaining more clarity and creating positive grounded action. If this has been helpful to you, please reach out to us to discuss how we can help make Simple Work for your organisation too.