Tomorrow is going to be a busy day for me. I have to run some big reports and as quickly as possible, and there are multiple inputs that can affect the results.
Lately I’ve been trying a new approach to running my reports and it seems to be working out well for me so far. This new approach is completely logical and is helped in part by the tools I’ve been using, Trello, Plan and Process Street.
What is this radical new approach? It’s simply preparing my reports ahead of time.
This probably just sounds like common sense, but when I first learned the process of completing these reports, they would all be started and finished on the same day. This meant it was easy block out time for the tasks, but it also meant that I started off by viewing each report as a block to be carried out in one go.
Today I prepared as much as I could for the work I’m doing tomorrow. There were distractions and other requests coming in, but I got a few hours or prep in, which means I won’t spend as much time working on those reports tomorrow and I’ll get them done sooner in the day!
I know this is obvious, but it was hard keeping track of everything before. Even if I saved all the files I needed as soon as I received them, I could still forget about particular steps until I finally came to them and spent an additional half hour.
So this post is partially about how great recurring checklists are (Plan and Process Street do these, Process Street in particular does them very well). It’s also partially about getting ahead when you can instead of waiting and keeping everything in tidy blocks.
There’s still some work to do to make the reporting easier to prep, and a lot of it is seeing what I can do in advance while the rest of it is seeing what I can automate.
So if you can’t automate, prep and if you can’t prep, simplify and if you can’t simplify, create a checklist! It all helps you develop better ways of working.