A change could do you good…

A change could do you good…

Posted by: suzanne on 13 June 2014

Ever got the feeling that the way you do things could be a little better? A little more cost- or time-effective? It is very easy to get into a routine with things and continue doing things as you’ve always done them because it’s what you know. It makes evolutionary sense, after all, to develop habits and structure in our lives as repetitive action is inherently quicker. And in a busy working day there isn’t always the time to sit back and ask – how could I be doing this better? But the beauty of working for yourself is that you are only restricted by your own routines and habits, and so have the freedom to change them! An extremely quick and easy place to start is to map out your processes for different tasks or pieces of work. This is a great way to visualise your way of doing things and you may very quickly see obvious ways to save time or money by making this more streamlined. 

 

Process Map

Below are a few simple steps to help you get started…

1 - Take the time

If you are going to review the way you do something, it is worth taking the time to do it properly. Making time for potential improvements is an investment. Allowing yourself half an hour/an hour during one day could mean greater rewards in the long run.

2 - Start at the beginning

This may sound obvious, but take a little time to consider where your process starts. Perhaps turning on your PC and waiting for it to load, or waiting on some information before you can start a piece of work may not seem like part of your process – but if it contributes to the overall time or cost of getting the work done, then it is, so make sure you include it!

3 - Be honest with yourself

Walk yourself logically through your process, being sure to include every step of what you actually do (not what you think you should do), even if it seems insignificant or silly -  remember, no-one else will see this but you, so you have nothing to lose by being completely honest!

4 - Keep it simple

Process maps don’t have to be complicated – use a simple method to distinguish between steps of a different nature (for example, a rectangle for actions, a diamond for decision points) and link steps with arrows to show the relationships between them and the chronological flow of your process. It is also helpful to try and attribute a realistic timescale or cost to each step, so that you can critically evaluate areas where the best savings could be made. Use a method that makes sense to you, and that you find easy to follow; it really doesn’t matter, but whatever method you use, be consistent!

5 - Consider the value that each step contributes to the end result

Could the order of steps be changed to increase their benefit? Or could you remove steps entirely without having a detrimental effect on your end result? Unless a step is adding value, then is it really worth doing?

6 - Consider external variables

Always think about external factors that can influence how you work. Perhaps simple things like the time of day, or your working environment, are affecting how well your process is working – and these are very simple things to change and may make a positive difference to several tasks at once!

7 - Above all, don’t be afraid to make a change

Process mapping will allow you to consider the effects of making a change before you do, allowing you to make an informed decision, so don’t be afraid to follow it through! Even a little change could make a big difference!

 

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”

- Charles Darwin

 


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