5 Smart Strategies To Improve Processes
Heard of this “work-life balance” concept but feel like it’s just too far out of reach?
We’ve all been there.
It’s one thing when you’ve started a new job, you’re still learning the ins-and-outs, and you’re feeling mentally (and sometimes physically!) stretched too thin. It’s another thing entirely when, although you’re fully confident in your abilities, your day-to-day is stretching you thin and wearing you down.
YOU may not be the problem.
When was the last time you gave your full attention to the processes you’re completing at work? It’s time to solve some problems and start improving the processes that are leaving you exhausted, frustrated, and miserable by the end of the day.
1 | Ask For Feedback & Complaints
If you’re suspecting that a process could be better, ask around and see if others agree. When there are bottlenecks in a process, you will likely not be the only one suffering from it. You may also find other areas for improvement after gathering feedback and complaints from those around you.
Asking for feedback from co-workers, supervisors, or even customers could give you additional insight. Once you’ve started the conversation, you may find that the problem isn’t the process but it’s how you’re executing tasks. Maybe you were improperly trained or missed an update, but you’ll never know until you start talking about it.
2 | Review Processes In Place
When frustration is creeping up on you at work, take a step back and review the processes in place right now. Outline the steps you’re taking for your day-to-day responsibilities or map out the process to make the overall process visual. You may find that several steps are redundant, unnecessary, or skipping around which makes you inefficient.
Simply complaining about the issues in the process won’t make a difference. If you aren’t in a position to make changes to the process you’re struggling with, reviewing the process and having a visual model identifying the issues to show your supervisor will help you become a catalyst for change.
3 | Set, Track & Revise Goals
You know there’s an issue (or more!) with processes at work. You have the ability to drive change, but you’re overwhelmed with what you think needs to be done to improve these processes. You got this, but you need to get organized first.
Set your goals working backwards by asking yourself these questions:
What should this process look like in a month?
What can do each week to move closer to that week?
What steps need to be taken first to get the ball rollin’ on this?
Then check in on your goals every week to track your progress. You may find that certain milestones require more back-end preparations than others. You may even find that some changes eliminate tasks as you go. Just make sure you’re giving yourself flexibility to revise your goals if necessary.
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4 | Research Alternatives
Sometimes the best way to improve processes at work is to research alternatives used by competitors or others with the same needs. Shifting to a cloud-based solution can eliminate tons of redundant paperwork. Collaboration apps can streamline communications with your team instead of sifting through emails and replies.
The power of automation is unreal. Advocating for and embracing technology can improve processes at work, but some technology can pose privacy and security concerns. Researching the privacy and security measures of these tools and presenting your findings to a supervisor will help instill confidence in the changes you’re suggesting.
5 | Cut What You Can
When exhaustion takes its hold simply from your day-to-day responsibilities, sometimes the best approach is to streamline processes by cutting what you can. This could be trimming down some of the steps that are completely redundant or can be replaced with automation, or this could look like delegating some of the steps to others.
It can be easy to take on additional tasks that others are capable of helping with when you’re responsible for the overall results that you’re aiming for. Learning how to delegate work, even if you aren’t a supervisor, by simply asking for help when you need it may make all the difference.
I challenge you to take a step back, breathe, review the processes that are causing you grief, and identifying the steps you can take to make things better for you at work.
What aspect of your job is frustrating and exhausting you the most?