3 Steps to Optimize Your Office Workflow

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We’ve all been there before: a cluttered workspace, files in disarray, chaos encroaching on our work. Once this scenario takes hold, it becomes more difficult to get some quality work done and the result can be catastrophic. You may be wondering how other people do it and how they seem to find their Zen in the office. Unfair!

Well, it’s not unfair and the solution isn’t a game changing, revolutionary thing either. It’s a rather elementary set of rules that anyone can do, you’re going to be wondering why you didn’t do it in the first place! If you’re ready to optimize your office workflow and get more things done, the following steps will allow you to find your own Zen.

 

1. Prioritize

In order to run a tight ship, you have to prioritize. You just can’t be all over the place, starting tasks and abandoning them when a new one comes up without finishing the old one. If things that need your attention start to pile up, set up a system where you start a task only after the one you’re working on is finished.

You need to be flexible from time to time, especially if it’s an urgent task that can’t wait. But you shouldn’t deviate from this basic setup if you don’t need to. Prioritizing which tasks go first and not stopping until it’s done will help you avoid workflow bottlenecks and backlogs because of all the new tasks coming up.

You can always make a list of priorities by writing them down, but a more effective way to do it is to use Trello. Trello is an excellent and free tool you can use to organize your tasks and set priorities. It’s highly visual and set up like a post-it board, so you can see which tasks need your attention first and which ones could wait.

 

2. Minimize

Clutter is your worst enemy. Businesses lose thousands of dollars each year because employees waste an enormous amount of time going through paper documents, receipts and other annoying clutter. Your first order of business should be to minimize the amount of clutter not only on your desk, but in your whole office.

Discard everything in your office that isn’t used anymore. Old pens, cracked mugs, torn folders and other stuff that you absolutely do not need should go straight to the trash can. Start by organizing your own workspace and all other desks after. Scan all your important documents, contracts, receipts, etc. and place your physical files in storage out the office.

With all your files in digital format, you won’t need those extra filing cabinets anymore so you can sell these for extra profit. You can save the scanned files on an external hard drive and back it up in the cloud for easier and more secure storage. There are a lot of cloud backup options to choose from, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive.

 

3. Automate

Automation is a key player in optimizing your office workflow. An automatic car is easier to drive than a stick, so logic dictates that anything automated makes life easier when compared to doing things manually. Automation in the office makes everything easier as well.

This will depend on what type of business you’re in. For small businesses that rely on task scheduling within teams, tools like Asana make it easy for managers and team members to collaborate in real time. Google Apps is also an excellent choice for teams to collaborate with it’s built in calendar and document suite.

For more complex businesses that deal in programs and code, automated testing services such as Pegasie can be a huge help and can take the load off the programmers. Companies that rely on social media can use tools such as Buffer or Hootsuite to send scheduled posts to their followers.

With today’s technology, it’s so easy to improve on how things work in the office. But with everything happening so fast and with all the interruptions in between, many people fail to see the most simple solutions are readily available to them, just waiting to be utilized. What’s your strategy for optimizing your office workflow?

 

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