Recently on Twitter I learned an interesting fact: UPS trucks almost never make left turns. They have an advanced route mapping system that plans their course out for them using as few left turns as possible. Instead of making a left turn, they will often make 3 right turns instead.
They do this for efficiency. When you make a left turn, you often have to wait in traffic at an intersection, whereas with a right turn you can go right away. After implementing this strategy in 2004, UPS has saved tens of millions of litres of fuel, and also are usually able to deliver their packages faster.
I find this pretty fascinating as I am very interested in the idea of streamlining tasks to become more efficient and productive.
I love to plan out better “systems” that help me work more efficiently in my business. When I say “system”, I am referring to a process that is created to help a task or project run more smoothly, and ideally lessens the workload.
So for example, a system that I am working on creating right now is developing online forms that a client will fill out, depending on what service they are purchasing, that will help me get the right info that I need from them without having to send so many emails back and forth.
To begin working on streamlining your business, the first step is identifying the tasks that you currently do regularly in your business right now.
When I did this, I created a folder called “Standard Operating Procedures” (SOPs) in Google Drive and I am still slowly filling it up with documents of instructions for repeatable tasks in my business.
This makes it easy to pick a task and figure out how I can accomplish that task more efficiently. Then I can update the procedure once I’ve developed a better system for doing it.
As a bonus, writing out your SOPs will come in handy if you ever want to hire someone to help you out. My SOP folder in Google Drive is a shared folder with my assistant. When I need her to take care of something for me, she can just check the folder and find the instructions already written out for her.
I’ve mentioned Google Drive as a tool that I use to help my systems run more efficiently, but here are a few more tools that will help you with systems in your business:
Process Street is a very cool project management tool that can help you out with systems in your business. Process Street is built to help you out with repeatable processes in your business.
You can create templates for your different types of projects/tasks, then when you need to start a new one, all of your tasks are automatically loaded for you. No time wasted on project management!
Process Street has recently added a free plan so you can even try it out at no cost now.
If you need to collect information, Google Forms is a great way to do so. It’s so easy to set up your own forms and then you can either share the link or embed them on your own website.
What makes Google Forms really great for improving your workflow is that all of the information collected in the forms goes automatically into an organized spreadsheet. This spreadsheet can be shared with others meaning that your entire team can have instant access to the spreadsheet of information that is always up to date.
This last tool is probably more for personal use than business use, but it’s so neat I have to include it. Amazon has a program where you can sign up to get products delivered to you on a recurring basis, and you get a discount when you order this way.
You can keep track of how fast you go through things like toilet paper or toothpaste. Then, you can order the product to show up to your house exactly how often you need it. So if you need to purchase new toilet paper every 2 months, simply sign up for the program with Amazon and you never have to worry about remembering to buy it again.
If you’ve implemented successful systems in your business, I would love to hear about how you did it and what you learned. Comment below, or send me a tweet or email.