What do systems, workflows, and processes have common? They are just a few of my favorite things! Now if you are someone grossed out by these things then you’re probably a visionary CEO. And if you were like “Yes, I love processes too!”, you are probably the COO type.
But no matter what end of the spectrum you might be as far as visionary or integrator qualities, everyone NEEDS workflows systems and processes to grow their business. There is only so far you can get by winging things or living in overwhelm and disorganization. But I promise you, getting a handle of your workflows CAN be fun and exciting.
You wouldn’t even believe how many of my clients used to HATE the idea of using a project management system like Asana. They thought that systems and processes would box in their creativity or their flow, but that is not the case at all. Workflows and systems are crucial for teams because if the system guiding who is doing what and by when isn’t organized…well things just aren’t going to get done efficiently or effectively.
I also do want to mention, if you don’t have many systems or workflows in your business, you aren’t alone! I have clients, with pretty big businesses and revenue streams, that have come to me, who still didn’t have much going on in the back end as far as processes. So you are really not alone and it doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible business owner. But you CAN make a change and it doesn’t have to be hard.
Do you know what would really help? Someone on your team to MANAGE those processes and workflows! Guess what I spend more than half my time doing for my clients? Setting up tasks in Asana! Most of those tasks come from workflow templates I’ve already created. There’s a lot of tasking things out, assigning due dates, working backwards from the date the project needs to be completed by, and assigning tasks to specific members. But it takes a lot less time when I’m going off of a predetermined workflow that stays the same typically.
That brings me to WHY now is the time to set up a robust project management system for your business and to get into the habit of creating and using workflows and processes. Well for starters, as I just said above, it saves you a massive amount of time! Chances are you do a lot of the same things over and over in your business. Whether it’s the way that you work with clients or just sending an email to your list.
Even the simple task of sending an email has several steps: first decide on when you want to send it out, then pick the content or topic, next outline your points and draft the copy, after that you have to proof or approve the copy, then upload & format the email to your email platform, and lastly send it out. Now you might not even think about an email having that many steps, but it does! And every time you have to think about what the steps are and when to do them, you are wasting time you could be spending elsewhere in your business.
So if you already have a workflow for this, it’s easy just to copy that workflow or template, add your due dates for each step, and be ready to go. To save even more time you can batch the creation of these tasks. Stop reinventing the wheel each time you do something in your business.
Additionally, workflows make working with your team so much smoother because everyone knows what they need to be doing and when. You are no longer spending all your time managing your team and trying to remember who is supposed to be doing what and when. And if you have a great Digital COO, then you don’t have to worry about any of it! Your team shouldn’t have to try and read your mind as to what they need to do, and having gazillions of random email threads is not the best way to organize all that information either.
When all the team tasks are in one place, that everyone can access and see, then your team can become more effective at working TOGETHER, even without you! But there is an important rule here, it must be in Asana or it doesn’t count. On my teams, if there is not a task, we don’t consider it real. Once people start forgetting to make tasks in Asana or just saying “I don’t need a task, I’ll remember to do it later”, the train starts to derail off the tracks. It’s so important to have that accountability so everyone knows this is real, it’s happening, and there is now a task for it in Asana with a due date and assigned to someone.
This leads to the next reason why a project management system is so important: organization. Are you a visionary with 87 post it notes scattered around your desk or 13 notebooks with random thoughts and ideas laying around? Imagine having all of your ideas and thoughts and tasks and to-dos organized and living in one place. Nothing gets missed, no detail gets left out, and you always know exactly what you should be working on today.
Trying to organize information takes a lot of mental capacity. When you’re having to do it all the time because your information is all over the place, you are wasting a lot of that capacity. You know that feeling when you’re overwhelmed and it feels like you have 67 things swimming around in your head ? Whenever that happens to me, and it does happen to me on occasion, the first thing I do is open up a note in my notes app and just start brain dumping. Every tiny or big thing that is taking up space in my brain gets written down. And then I start to prioritize those tasks or todos and then I spend a few minutes adding them to the proper projects in Asana and giving them due dates. I immediately feel better. Why? Because each to-do now has has a time and a place and it will get done. I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything. It takes 10 minutes to make a brain dump. And that 10 minutes can save you hours or days of remaining in overwhelm.
But just the braindump isn’t enough. All those thoughts, ideas and to-dos need a home. That’s why your project management system is so important. Just having a list in a notebook isn’t going to make certain that you get that list done. But if you add each item as a task and assign it to yourself, therefore acknowledging your responsibility for that task, and then giving it a due date, now it has a true home.
This is how I’m able to manage anywhere from 5-10 businesses and teams at a time including my own. It’s also how I handle all of our personal and family to-dos and schedules - which is basically like having another team to manage. I would never be able to think straight if I let all those details and tasks live in my head or on post it notes on my desk or in notebooks.
So, what type of workflows or processes should I even have? Tune into Episode 091 of Planning For Profit to hear some of my personal favorites, as well as a tip for how to keep the process of creating workflows super simple.