Four Workflow Strategies Everyone Should Implement to Increase their Productivity
Workflow optimization can be easy and save you time, but it requires addressing long-standing practices.
The first of these has to do with organizing.
A manager at a Fortune 1,000 company told me, “I think my team wastes half the day dragging files into folders.”
And he’s not wrong. According to McKinsey, knowledge workers spend nearly 5 hours per day managing, communicating, and making sense of information; it’s overwhelming. The moment we need something, we struggle to find it, and when we have a question, we have to wait for an answer.
At bundleIQ, our methodology gives you the structure needed to manage the madness. With these four simple strategies, you will save time and energy throughout the workweek from searching, organizing, and asking.
Strategy number one — Store All Files in the Cloud
Cloud-based storage systems like Dropbox and Google Drive are great solutions for file management. Storing files in one of these file-management systems help you and your peers stay on the same page regarding one thing, version control.
Version control means that everyone is always viewing the most recent file when changes have occurred. Nothing is worse than referencing an asset that isn’t the latest and most recent edition or worse, using an asset that is the wrong one.
What are files? Anything that can be saved and stored — .jpg, .pdf, .eps, .ppt, and so on.
As a rule of thumb, filing assets in folders is not a scalable practice, which means it’s mostly a waste of time. If I give you 100 files and give the same 100 files to someone else, the odds of you two organizing them the same way are slim to none. Why? Because you both think differently.
When filing assets away, keep the hierarchies to a minimum, use one primary folder per topic, and forget about the subfolders (if you’re a highly organized person, you may be cringing at this sentence). Instead, reference strategy number four and make good use of those directories.
Strategy number two — Leverage a Knowledge Repository*
Having access to information is often the difference between success and failure. Consider any mission-critical question that you might not have the answer to at that moment.
In everyday life, what happens when you don’t know something? You Google it. What about in a corporate environment? There is no Google-like option, which means your company needs to build one by enrolling people within the organization to document and share their knowledge.
bundleIQ is that repository for many companies. If you have a question, the answer is just seconds away from, “How do I fix the printer?” to, “Who’s our property manager contact for XYZ real estate plaza?” or, “Where’s the link to the latest presentation?”
bundleIQ is a knowledge repository — an online database that allows you to create and categorize the information you and your peers need to perform.
Strategy number three — Organize by Context
Back to the files in folders example — organizing is so much less about hierarchy and more about context. The human brain is not meant to function as a database. Context is where you were, who you were with, what the weather was like, and other things you could easily remember about an experience.
Let’s say you are in line at a coffee shop writing a note about something you don’t want to forget. Write the essential data, followed by what you ordered or who you were with. At some point, you’ll be interested in finding that piece of content, and you may not remember what the title was or what exact keyword you need to search, but you will remember what you ordered, that’s context.
Strategy number four — Create Directories
This rule is one of my favorite time-saving hacks because a simple directory can prevent loads of frustration.
For example, instead of emailing attachments, create a directory that links to the relevant Dropbox files. By doing so, you offer a cohesive experience and allow those receiving the message to focus on the content rather than wasting time downloading, saving, and organizing files somewhere on their machine.
Lastly, remember what I said about subfolders?
When you have a knowledge repository like bundleIQ, your team never has to guess where to look for an answer. Combining a list of resources with context can provide insights much faster than digging through folders.
Read two specific examples of how directories can increase productivity more than 5xs a typical workflow, “Take the Headache Out of Finding Files: An Incredibly Easy Method That Works For All.”
Using bundleIQ has saved me a significant amount of time in my day-to-day workflow and communication with my team. From at least half a day to 1–2 hrs a day searching for information. I’ve also lessened the number of to-do lists thrown around my desk and compiled my tasks all into one clean and easily accessible space. — Executive Director of weare1909.org