9 Workflow Optimization Tactics to Boost Your Productivity

November 9, 2016
Archived, Productivity

Ever wish you could get things done in half the time, avoid hours of hassle, and impress those around you with your seemingly effortless capabilities? Following these workflow optimization tactics will have you well on the way!

Whether it’s to meet tight deadlines, impress a boss, or to build a sense of achievement – we all wish we could produce more results from our work.

However – in a workplace teeming with distractions, pressures, and unforeseeable circumstances, working at our maximum can seem like an upward battle.

But don’t fret! We can struggle up that hill together.

In fact, TeamViewer 12 (released this month) is all about being smarter, better, faster, and stronger in the way we work.

Following in this approach, let’s consider all the tactics we can employ to optimize our workflow for max output.

Optimize Your Workflow to Work Smarter

There are some measures you can take, that pay off straightaway.

Workflows can be optimized simply by the decisions we make – or the patterns of decisions we make.

Make Smarter Choices When Choosing Your Tools

When choosing a software tool to help with your daily work, in most cases you’ll be bound to that product for a specific period of time.

Even if you work with a free tool – the time investment spent on it can mean moving to another solution is painful.

So when it comes to choosing what software to work with, it’s well worth thinking ahead to ensure you buy software this is futureproof.

To find a tool that lives up to modern standards and your specific needs, consider these points:

  • What are your must have features?
  • Is there a business standard that everybody is used to working with?
  • Could compatibility with devices or operating systems be an issue?
  • Is there proper software support for the tool?
  • Is the price stable or not?

Write Smarter Emails to Customers

As an employee, you’re representing your company whenever writing emails to customers.

While it’s tempting to just rush through emails to save ourselves some time, with a few things kept in mind, your emails will excel in both effectiveness and content value.

This means:

  • Addressing your customer by their name
  • Always responding – even if it’s just in one sentence
  • Making sure they never feel like they’re wasting your time
  • Communicating that their feedback is valued.

Develop Smarter Processes for Regular Tasks

We all have tasks that we need to complete repetitively. Whether it’s multiple times per week or a few times per year.

To get smarter at these kinds of tasks, we need to figure out the most efficient approach.

Creating standard processes means you’ll always develop the most effective way to perform a task.

Once a formalized process has been created, it can be shared with colleagues, or exist as a map for your own use.

Processes should always be written by the person that is most involved with the task.

Make Better Use of Your Workflow

Workflow optimization also requires us to get the best out of our existing habits and environment.

Whether our desk is part of a large office space from 9 to 5, individual cubicle with flextime, or dining room table while burning the midnight oil – we must make our workflow work best for us.

Ditch Coffee for a Better Alternative

Drinking too much coffee is not good for you, as you’ve likely been told before. But are there any adequate alternatives? Fortunately, yes!

  • Water is always a good option. Although, you don’t have to drink eight glasses per day, as the myth goes.
  • Coffee is good for monotonous tasks, but not for creative ones. Keep in mind that you’ll experience an energy crash that overtakes the high after a few hours.
  • Soda is quite similar to coffee, but more ineffective.
  • Green tea gives you a caffeine boost without the hard crash of coffee. An almost perfect balance.
  • Soylent / Coffiest is a powder based food replacement with all of the nutrition your body needs. It can be a great substitution, but as always don’t go overkill.

Overcome Hurdles to Work Better from the Office

While every one of us has different ways of getting in a state of focus (“the zone”), there are some things you can do to get there easier and support your team in doing so.

Especially if you want to improve your workflow while working in an open space office.

Communication is Key

Take advantage of the open space office by actually talking more to your colleagues. Gain inspiration, a short break from stress or whatever they can offer.

Quick Meetings

These can help identifying problems and finding solutions together. On Mondays, it’ll serve to know what everyone is working on, and on Fridays to check what was achieved.

Organization of Office Space

Make your office a mixture of comfortable and practical. Consider making separate space, if you haven’t already.

The Zone in Open Space Offices

When it becomes quiet in the office, probably everybody is in the zone. This is when you might find it easier to get in the zone too, as long as the noise is at its minimum.

Improve Your Workflow Process to Be Faster

Few people ever complain about not having enough work on their hands. For the rest of us, a faster workflow is desirable.

Get the Best Out of Projects You Manage

Do you feel overwhelmed by a project you’ve been handed to lead? First off: don’t panic, just focus on the task at hand and keep cool. Next:

  • Set yourself ambitious but realistic goals with a clear deadline.
    • They should include requirements, milestones and dependencies. This is crucial to measure success on the way and map out a good plan to achieve exactly what you want.
  • Trust the people that work on the tasks you assign to them. They’re the experts on that topic and will coordinate their work accordingly.
  • With that said, make sure your team is always on the same page and up-to-date. Promote teamwork!
  • Use only the tools that you need. The most complex ones are not necessarily the best option.

Unconditional Approval for Your Proposals

To gain acceptance and understanding of your ideas, there are some strategies to overcome reluctance:

  • You should make clear how exactly the proposal matches your current needs.
  • In case you’re planning to implement new software or another product, check with the vendor if there’s a demo (which you can also give to your boss) and learn everything you can about the product.
  • Be patient with the decision process.
  • If your proposal is rejected, identify the cause and counter it to present a better plan.

Build a Stronger Workflow with Security Best Practices

Your workflow needs to be bulletproof. A fully optimized workflow will deflect any unforeseen issues that could potentially slow you down.

For this reason, security is crucial for your workflow.

Keep Your Network Clean of Viruses

Computer Viruses or Malware can derail workflows with disastrous consequences.

Beware of social engineering in emails that tries to convince you to click a link or execute a file by faking a genuine and urgent message from i.e. a bank or parcel service.

In general, default to never click links in emails. In any case, double check if the source of your link/download/file is genuine.

If you encounter a virus on your computer, turning to an IT specialist is your best option.

Avoid Data Breaches Affecting You

Data breaches of large social networks and email providers in the last few years has caused many knock-on consequences.

Should your account data be leaked because of a security breach within a service you use, all of your other accounts are at risk as well.

You should change all passwords immediately, inform your local police department and get in touch with the affected services.

To prevent data breaches from affecting you in the first place, max out your password security and only provide services with the minimum required data.

Also, check if the services you’re using live up to modern security standards.

Key Takeaways

Some of the strategies mentioned here may take a while to implement. Luckily, you now know how to get approval for your suggestions, if you want to implement them!

For the others, they are applicable almost at once and their effect will show quickly.

Your number one workflow optimization tactic was not mentioned here? Please share any thoughts in the comment section below.

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