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Work flow refers to the order in which work is performed and if it is managed work flow successfully, one can increase profitability. The time saved can result in reduced operational costs and enhanced revenues. Effective strategies that help manage work flow include logical planning, time management and employee accountability.
Select only logical steps to be accomplished in the work flow system. A step is referred to as an activity in the language of work flow management. A person or a machine completes each activity to manage work flow. The supervisor or manager must communicate the activities of the work flow precisely so that everyone understands exactly what to do and how they are expected to manage work flow. The work order and activities should be written as a simple chart for extra clarity.
Time management is an important strategy in helping to manage work flow. For example, time planned to check emails or make phone calls allows for less interruptions to work flow than stopping every few minutes to do such small, but often time consuming tasks. Organizational strategy is also a good way to manage work flow by accomplishing activities within the work flow system without wasted time searching for materials needed to complete projects. Moreover, only one project at a time should occupy the desk space. Other projects can be labeled and stored away from the main desk -- perhaps in an in/out basket labeled with deadline dates.
Accountability, as part of the work flow system, helps manage work flow as it establishes a work standard. Those performing the activities must take responsibility for how they manage work flow in order to complete all the activities needed to do their jobs. However, if an employee is expected to manage work flow to a certain standard, he or she should be involved in setting goals related to his or her work flow performance. The supervisor or manager should also help develop and monitor the employee's progress.
I let people in the office know that from such a time to such a time, I'm not to be disturbed because I'm usually working on something that requires a lot of concentration.
If that's the case, I don't answer my phone unless it's a family member. I let it go to voice mail. We have a $25,000 voice mail system. That's what it's for! If something is really urgent, the person has my cell phone number. If they don't have my number or leave a message, then it's not that urgent.
Anyone who has the option of not answering their phone for a certain length of time should take advantage of it. They will be amazed at how much work they can get done!
I have a list of stuff to do every day and most of it is on a deadline. I've learned to get a lot done by managing my workflow.
I get all phone messages down and my email checked when I come in. I look at my faxes and check my snail mail. That's "housekeeping." Once that's out of the way, I do the least time-consuming, most time-critical tasks first, so my day is free to do those things that require more of my time and concentration. If I have a whole lot to do, I write it all down in an old fashioned list and cross off tasks as I do them. Something about the brain-hand connection makes a paper list a good option for me.
Once the small tasks are out of the way, it's usually time to return emails and phone calls, and then I do my major tasks. This system works for me.
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