Updated: Oct 9, 2022
What causes overwhelm? We never set out to be disorganized, yet sometimes the complexity of running a business catches up to us, and in those moments a color-coded labeling system is the lowest priority imaginable.
There is no shortcut to a totally stress-free work experience, but the good news is that adding strategy to your workflow will curb overwhelm on a deep and holistic level. Beyond the optics - though I do love seeing fancy office supplies in mason jars - an organized approach will help:
Maintain an orderly environment
Maximize your time
Ensure consistent work product
Accomplish more with a smaller team
Establish a blueprint for scaling your business (If that’s your goal)
A workflow is like a cookbook made up of the systems, tools and guidelines. Together, these structure your office ecosystem, trending towards calm productivity instead of frenetic spinning. If you are just getting started, keep it simple and realistic - the best workflow is one that you will actually use. There’s always room to layer on special features, integrations and automation when you’re ready.
Within a strategic workflow there’s a system - a sequence of steps to complete a task - for each recurring project in your business, whether they repeat on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. If a workflow is a cookbook, a system is a recipe. The beauty here is that following the same specific recipe produces the same specific product every time for built-in quality control.
These systems are likely supported by tools to save you energy and brain-power. Tools can be physical, like a calendar or planner, or digital, like Asana, Acuity, or Dubsado. Keep in mind that digital tools will require set up - maybe more than you’d expect - but it’s worth it to carve out thorough and intentional time at the beginning. A strategically employed tool can delay the need to hire an assistant until you truly require an extra person, not just extra help.
Workflow is beneficial to all stages of business, but it’s especially forward-thinking if you have plans to grow in the future. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you can no longer do everything yourself, and need to add team members or consultants to take over departments like administration, finance, marketing, etc.
If you’ve already been handling these areas systematically - if you have a cookbook outlining how to do the work exactly way you want it to be done - you can delegate responsibilities to other people without changing the experience or the quality. At that point you’ll keep for yourself the work that’s in your zone of genius - and outsource everything else.✨