Ari Meisel, productivity genius and longtime Fancy Hands customer, guest blogs for us today:
While some people might complain about the vagueness of IKEA instructions, you have to admit, they have broken down the process of building something into a set of instructions that is language-independent, requires as few steps as possible, and, for the most part, is fail-proof.
The goal with your processes should be exactly the same. You need to break them down to the fewest, most explicit steps possible so that they are easier for you, and more importantly, can be automated or outsourced entirely.
You all have processes that you go through on a regular basis like checking your email, writing reports, doing research, generating content, reviewing materials, making meals, etc.
These can be things you do on a daily or weekly basis, or even just once in a while. The problem is that most of these activities have become routine, we do them without even thinking about them, almost as if on autopilot.
That might seem like a good thing but the truth is, if you can get these things done on autopilot, then someone else can probably get them done for you. It’s easy to fall in that trap of thinking you are the only one who can do the things that make your world spin, but have you ever stopped and considered the steps you actually take?
As an exercise, think about something you do often. Now describe, on a very granular level, each step you go through in order to complete that activity. Think about it as if you were creating “The Manual of You” and you were going to give it to someone who doesn’t know you, or how you work, and they have to get your tasks done.
This can and should be applied to most of the things you spend your time doing.
I have clients go through this exercise with incredibly complex and precise tasks with the same results - creating the perfect instruction manual.
I had one client start with a process that was 10 pages long, and he ended up with 11 easy-to-follow steps.
Once you list all the steps, try to identify redundancies or missing instructions.
Then look at ways you can automate some of these steps using web services like IFTTT.
Finally, go ahead and send it off to your Fancy Hands assistant.
They will undoubtedly respond with a question or two, and may even offer a way to streamline your instructions.
The point of all this is that in the end, I was able to break my tasks down to an incredibly efficient, error-proof process that ANYONE can follow and complete.
Once a process has been perfected, delegating out of your sight and out of your mind is as easy as can be.