When all the shiz in your biz starts to get super overwhelming, our instinct tells us its time to set up systems for our business. But where the hell do you start? How do you know where to start implementing systems for what you do day in, day out?
Process mapping is the procedure of documenting a process or workflow from absolute beginning to definitive end.
You simply can’t change how you’re delivering your genius to the world if you’ve never had a clear picture of what that delivery looks like from the outside.
Start with the very first step in one of the many workflows in your business. It may be an email enquiry from a potential client. It may be an idea for a blog post. It could be sitting down at your computer to start your day.
What is the action that triggers this workflow? That’s step one in your process map.
… and then what do you do?
… and then?
… and then?
Continue listing each step specifically and clearly until you’ve reached a definitive end to that workflow.
- If it involves you opening a new tab in your web browser, it’s an individual step.
- If you need to switch screens, it’s an individual step.
- If it feels far too obvious, then you’re doing this right!
Don’t be fooled. The process might sound too easy to be effective, but it will uncover some truths about your productivity, your values and priorities.
Here’s an example of a process map I created by documenting every step on a particular morning:
- Sit down at my desk.
- Open my laptop (five browsers still open from when I closed my laptop last night).
- Refresh Facebook to see if I have any notifications.
- Click on Gmail tab to check emails.
- Scroll through to see what’s urgent.
- Open emails that need action.
- Open Asana in a new browser tab.
- Flick back to Gmail tab.
- Copy and paste information into Asana from emails requiring action.
- Repeat six times.
- Set due date for tomorrow to follow up on tasks entered into Asana.
- Click on Facebook tab to scroll through feed and see if there are any articles I can add to my social media scheduler.
- Open Feedly in a new browser tab to read my posts from my favourite bloggers.
- Go to Pinterest to add pins to my scheduler boards to be re-pinned throughout the day.
- Open BoardBooster in a new tab to see yesterday’s report on pins and how they’re performing.
- Close BoardBooster.
- Close Pinterest.
- Refresh Facebook.
- Close Facebook.
- Click to Asana tab to start on today’s task list.
Ouch! What an unproductive kick in the guts it is to see, right there in black & white, that I’m already twenty steps into my day when I actually start looking at doing my work.
While I don’t wish for you to feel disheartened or even mad at yourself, I do want you to identify with beautiful clarity where it is that you’re leaving your productivity on the table.
Your process maps are never set in stone. You have the power to change your processes and procedures as often as you like and align your methods with the vision of your business.
Yes, this is more effective if you complete a process map for the multiple workflows in your business operations!
Every time I’ve done this process with someone, they’ve realised the extra work they’re creating for themselves by double-handling tasks or putting system upgrades in the “do it later” basket.