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I think anyone can get organized, be productive, get in a flow. There are levels of organization – you can deploy a light-touch, flexible workflow or go hardcore with something like the Getting Things Done system. One size does not fit all and no one has to live “perfectly.” Don’t be intimidated. We can find a level and system that works for your personality, lifestyle, and objectives.
To break it down, a workflow is an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of activities enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that process information. A workflow provides a view or representation of the real work taking place.
A proper workflow can help you to prioritize, follow-up, and control your time and energy.
Your workflow system is only useful to you if it’s accessible from anywhere – so keep that in mind as you design and deploy your own.
A successful system will:
Take it All
Your workflow should capture everything that you want to get done that day, that month, long-term. Every thought in your head needs to go somewhere. This can be a digital to-do list like Google Keep or a bullet journal.
Break it Down
Break down big goals into smaller, time-bound tasks. Is this something you can get done in under an hour? Awesome. Add it to the list. Do you have a ginormous goal like “get 10K followers on IG?” Break that down into creating your brand positioning, visual identity, tone, photo guidelines, etc. Add realistic deadlines to keep yourself accountable.
Make it Matter
Prioritize your tasks: use due dates/times to organize your list, drag and drop tasks on a digital platform, add labels to designate importance.
Clear it Up
Make it your mission to get to to-do list zero / inbox zero before you shut down – daily. Yes, there will still be tasks remaining at the end of the day. Spend that last 30 minutes going over what remains to be done and re-prioritizing and scheduling those tasks for tomorrow and subsequent days. You’ll wake up tomorrow with a fresh to-do list for the day and a blank slate of an inbox.
Work it Out
Grind/ Tweak / Refine / Repeat. Your workflow should flex and evolve with you. Take stock of how you are doing every week (I recommend Friday afternoons), every month (pick a date) and adjust as needed based on your progress.
Next up… Match Your Workflow to Your Lifestyle.
Meet me back here to review some personal workflow options based on your needs and objectives.
Christine Lopez is a creative agency workflow expert, founding partner at Forge & Flow, and a working mom with over 22 years in the ad biz, hit her up for mentorship and inappropriate jokes at firstname.lastname@example.org.