Knowing what to do is half the battle. The other half is doing it well.
Consider cooking a new recipe. You have to know what the ingredients are, how they should be prepped, and then each step in the cooking process and how to tell when it is time for the next ingredient. That takes up some of your brainpower.
Imagine if we could remove that first half: the part when you need to know what to do.
Then all of your time and attention would be dedicated to the “doing it well” part only: all of your brainpower on the execution of the plan.
In case you haven’t guessed: we are praising processes and workflows today.
What is a workflow
A workflow is the sequence of activities required to complete a larger task.
It is how you get work done.
Every type of work has repeated activities, and every time you do the same work, part of your energy is used up by remembering those repeated activities.
Stop trying to memorize them: write them down. In a workflow.
The secret to good workflows
The truth is that the actual activity isn’t always the hardest part to remember.
It’s all the surrounding details.
Make sure your workflow includes, for each step:
- What has to happen
- What tools or resources are required
- Who has to do it
- When it is complete
- What information is captured
- And what happens next
- If the activity now passes to another person: to whom and how
In some cases, this information will be naturally baked into the activity itself.
But you should always know this information about each step.
Because all of it is important to what you have to do. And the less you have to rely on recollection, the more your brain is free to focus on good work.
Find the opportunity to update your workflows: when you are trying something new, you have a new hire or any other point of change. Assign the person doing the work to write the first draft, and ensure all the information above is accounted for.
Here’s the secret: the action of writing it out is where the magic happens.