Understand key habits and procedures to implement that will help you stay on top of your information, including automated backups, accuracy checks, creating maintenance checklists and using reminders. Ensure your data and processes are maintained and free from error while using automated workflows.
- When systems and programs share information and complete functions automatically, they're performing automated workflows. These may be simple, such as when you enter a new contact in Outlook, it also sends the address and name information to your Quickbooks. Or it may be as complex as a string of actions that are launched in multiple applications after one simple action by you. Automated workflows require less time and effort than manual systems in the long run. However they do require regular maintenance and habits in order to ensure the integrity of data and functionality.
Here are a few habits and strategies that you can easily add into your work day to keep your automated systems running smoothly. Backups. Backing up your data is a vital part of ensuring your workflows are safe from data loss. Malfunctions can add hours of work, just recovering data. Set your backups to run automatically. And check that they're processing correctly every week to month. Accuracy and function checks. Information is only useful if it's accurate.
Periodically spot check the data in your dashboards, reports, and programs. Also make sure to check that your communications are performing as they should. Make a test call to your help desk, type a question into your support forum, sign up for your e-newsletter, and call yourself to hear your voicemail. Any process you set up, make sure to test it periodically to ensure it's running as expected. It's easier to proactively fix an error, then to hear from a client or colleague that a problem has occurred.
Checklists and process descriptions. Checklists can be an efficiency tool on their own. Using a checklist for routine tasks or processes with multiple steps has many benefits, including you're less likely to miss a step in the process, you save mental energy by seeing where you are and what's next in a process. You can easily hand over a task to a colleague, either as a whole or while it's partially complete. They immediately know how to complete the job and what's already been done.
You'll streamline communication and expectations with others. You'll have a record of completion of key tasks for compliance. And you'll instantly communicate with colleagues all that has been accomplished. Create a checklist for each repetitive task you perform on a regular basis. You can either use the checklist each time to keep a record of all steps completed and ensure quick hand off in emergency, or use only on days you're especially tired or distracted to ensure you don't miss a step.
It's best practice to keep detailed checklists of all repeating tasks including how to perform each task on the list. This can be used for training or in an employee or operations manual. Checklists are also beneficial when running accuracy and function checks on your processes. Whenever you add a new automated process, add a reminder on your checklist to verify that it's working properly. Reminders and repeating tasks.
Dedicate time to ensuring your processes are properly maintained. Create a repeating entry in your calendar blocking off the time to go through your maintenance checklist and testing. Don't let yourself reschedule this. Set location-based reminders for tasks conducted in a specific location and set repeating reminders for spot checks or to follow up with delegates. Create a habit of backing up, checking for accuracy, and ensuring everything is functioning properly.
By taking a little time to make sure your processes are functioning properly, you can save countless hours making up for errors. Consider the backup and maintenance systems in your business. Now is the best time to set up automatic backups and maintenance procedures to protect your most valuable information.
She discusses ways to simplify communication with autoresponders and response templates, and manage event and project communications, customer service, social media, and email marketing endeavors.
The course then explores outsourcing and delegation—including criteria for determining what can and should be outsourced. Finally, Suzanna explores top apps for simplifying and automating aspects of a business, including transcription and paper management.
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- Integrating business software for data efficiency
- Improving data analysis
- Simplifying communication with templates
- Automating customer service, social media, and email marketing
- Delegating and outsourcing tasks
- Finding the best software and apps to increase productivity