Work can be stressful. That’s a pretty obvious statement that most Americans can agree with. Whether you work out of your home or on a construction site, communication breakdowns and endless to-do lists are big headaches. While different industries have considerations specific to their products and services, efficient processes can be time savers and stress reducers.
Here are three ways to streamline your work life and keep processes and communication running smoothly.
Minimize Back-And-Forth Group Emailing
Group emails have a lot of potential for inefficient time use and miscommunication. Let’s say you’re trying to find a time when five people are available for a lunch meeting. Your first instinct might be to send out a group email asking when everyone is available. The best-case scenario will usually have about seven responses over several hours before a suitable time is found. You could be in for more back and forth, with someone forgetting to hit “reply all.”
If a communication process seems time-consuming and inefficient, chances are there are software options to make things simpler. For meeting scheduling between multiple parties, you can use scheduling apps to automatically compile and display everyone’s availability. That way, each attendee can see times open for everyone instead of relying on tedious email flurries.
Another example of when group emailing can go wrong is with projects. Someone getting left out of the email list or unaware of their role can hold the project back. It’s generally better to use collaborative software instead. Doing so allows you to assign tasks to people within the program and keep a single board for all correspondence.
With a collaborative program, everyone knows what they’re doing and has a record of everything in a single place for reference. No more hunting for multiple email threads to find information from two months ago. That’s assuming that nobody accidentally deleted the email with the crucial piece of information, to begin with.
Templates Are Your Friend
While things about your company probably differentiate it from others, you’re certainly not the first to have an employee manual. You’re also not the only one that has a staff organizational chart. So when you’re creating internal materials or processes, it rarely makes sense to do it from scratch. If you’re making something like a performance evaluation checklist, you might find some useful content you hadn’t considered.
Templates may seem like cheating or stealing, but they can potentially be a massive time saver. Even if the template only applies to a small portion of your project, it can still give you a place to start. Perhaps even more importantly, it will likely have established formatting to build from.
Just be aware of where you get your templates from. If they’re a built-in part of other purchased software, such as Microsoft Word, it’s pretty straightforward. If you find a template online, there’s a good chance you will need to enter your email address to access it. By doing so, you’ll probably receive some sales or junk emails. It’s not necessarily something to avoid at all costs but something to consider.
Reduce Digital Clutter
Digital clutter isn’t just an email inbox loaded with 5,000 messages. Granted, that type of digital clutter is real and tends to bury important information in a mountain of junk. And everyone knows somebody with a desktop covered in dozens of old photos, screen snips, and other random files. It’s disorganization and disarray that causes important information to be lost or buried and can have very real negative consequences.
But sometimes digital clutter comes in the form of too many efforts to get organized and stay on task. That might seem highly counterintuitive, but it’s true. If your calendar constantly sends you notifications of appointments, tasks, and other reminders, you might ignore them. Alternatively, something will get missed if you have people sending you messages via seven different apps. At a bare minimum, you’ll need to spend much time checking multiple programs.
You can compare it to someone who lives close to a railroad line. The trains that go by send out very important whistles regularly. Someone driving and coming up on a railroad crossing will notice the noise and be alerted. People who live close to the tracks might be so desensitized to the constant noise that they no longer hear it.
Save notifications for really important things, such as appointments. Entire to-do lists can usually be checked once or twice a day rather than each task item having its notification. The less digital noise you have coming at you, the more likely you will notice essential things.
Tedious work tasks are often the ones people will cite as being their least favorites. Do you ever find yourself going through certain motions and thinking that surely there’s a better way to do this? Regarding communication or tracking procedures, there are almost always tech options to improve things.
So the next time you encounter a process that seems to take longer than it should, trust yourself. There might be an easy process solution that can save time and lower your stress levels.