17. Capturing Your Work

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Smooth Operator/Podcast/17. Capturing Your Work

17. Capturing Your Work


If you’re not capturing your work and processes, you’re only setting yourself up for massive pain in the future as you try to explain your process to anyone else that’s on your team.

This leads to stress and anxiety, even apprehension about the sheer possibility of taking work off your desk of offloading it to another team member. You are far less likely to follow through with offloading and will do an incomplete job should you find yourself needing to take this step.

Most of the business activities that we do are tactical in nature and involve a series of steps. These steps should be done in order and they are incredibly repeatable by anyone on the team.

That’s the good thing! But the idea of putting together an SOP puts many into anxiety as this is just another task that ends up going on their already swamped list of tasks that they have to complete.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Learn more in this episode

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Hello, welcome back to another show of smooth operator, so good to have you hope. This week's treating you well, the last couple of weeks in my business life have been really crazy. And it led me to some thoughts that I have, I really want to share because I've been in the process of offloading, like literally taking half of my job and giving it to someone else. So bringing new people onto the team cross loading other people from other sections of the team into my psych section, and they're taking over things from me. And it was really cool. And I uncovered a lot of holes, a lot of things that I had to really tighten up during this whole process. And it was really good. And it led me to a thought I had actually this came up in my mastermind, I have a small mastermind with some other like minded operations people, and we share things and one of the recommendations I made to one of my buddies was like, you really need to take this on into effect. Usually that's where it goes, right? We give advice and we're like, oh, man, I should really have some of my own advice. Right.

So this episode is really about capturing your work and why it's important to do so early and often. So if you're not capturing your work and your processes, the things that you're doing, you're really only setting yourself up for massive pain. In the future. When you try to explain your process to anyone else that's on your team, you're trying to offload it cross load it. Or even if you can't do it, if you're out of town for that day out of town for that week. And suddenly you have to have someone you have to delegate, if you don't have a system in place to hand off to them. This can lead to stress, it can lead to anxiety, even apprehension about the sheer possibility of taking work off your desk and offloading it to another team member, which is an important part of growing, the more you grow, the more you need to be looking to your left and pulling stuff off your desk, getting it to someone else. If you don't take this step of really capturing your work, you're far less likely to follow through with offloading. And when you do so you're going to end up doing an incomplete job. Because you're you're going to end up having to do this step kind of in concert with a whole bunch of other crap that's going on.

So when I break down business activities, I look at things that are operate or like strategic, and things that are tactical. The fact is, most of the business activities that we do that really occupy the majority of our time, are tactical in nature. And what I mean by tactical tactical means it's SOP payable, it's a series of steps that's repeatable, that and if it's repeatable, therefore it is off loadable. steps that have to be done in a specific order might have a little bit of nuance, but they are incredibly repeatable by nature by anyone on the team. And that's a good thing. Don't think it's a bad thing, that we have these repeatable functions, it's important to understand what is repeatable what we can offload. And so just identifying that really gives you your first mark of what you need to be capturing. The problem is I've struggled with this over and over again, the idea of putting together like a formal SOP like that is a showstopper for most people because we think of SOPs, and we think of these flowcharts, and things that are like really built out and before you know it, you're spending six hours in, you know, some SOP program, there's multiple ones out there like process streets a big one, you can also do it in tools like Asana. But like putting together an SOP brings a lot of anxiety to some people because it's a it's left brain, right brain kind of thing, where you're doing a different kind of task as you're really just trying to capture your thoughts and your processes. That's really what we need to be focusing on at this point when we're talking about capturing your work.

Instead, what I do, and I have to constantly remind myself is to just simply film myself when I'm doing these routine tasks, create a simple video of me just literally talking through what I'm doing. And this is really ideal because there's only a couple tools that you need to do this, you need your microphone, of course, you need some kind of screen capturing software, I use ScreenFlow that works the best for me, and it's one of those you buy it and you have it. There are other screen capturing software, you can do it with zoom with the Share Screen function. I like that less because you have to pull up another window whereas, you know, loom ScreenFlow these are independent programs so I can literally start a video with a couple of keystrokes. From there, what I do is I literally will start doing my task, talk my way through it so narrate what I'm doing and why I'm doing the things I'm looking for. And then export it so I have a video and it could be five minutes long. It could be for some of my more you know in depth That's 45 minutes to an hour long. But the point is I'm documenting it. And so it lives somewhere I have a video that I can just upload in the cloud for use later on. But it's there, when it's time to create an actual process. And you can do anything with these videos. So you can send it to a team member during their train up, you can have it transcribed, so then you have a text version of the SOP, you can have available for if IE when an emergency occurs, and you can't be at your desk, but you need to get this to someone else. So they can help cover down for you if you have a video. If you have a walkthrough, you're setting yourself up for success. One thing that I've also done is when I was offloading it, I literally took the task itself that was just a video, I gave it to the person that I was onboarding, and they would then turn and write the written task. So they that was like a dual way of learning they were learning by doing, they were learning by watching the video, but then by drafting it out, they were learning in that way as well. So it was reinforcing what they were doing.

So putting it into a text version. A double bonus of this is that you get the chance to pick apart your own process, you get the chance to see the holes where things don't make sense where you're making it up, and not doing things in any kind of routine or predictable manner. You can find redundancies or optimizations that you can make. And there's something I'll get to in the next episode, this optimization I found on this process that was just kicking my butt. But now I have a template for it, it's great. There is something to be said about when we're trying to teach someone there's really broken fallacy, where it says those that can't, or those that can do those that can't teach it, you find that a lot in music, you find it in sports, you know, that kind of thing. And, like, let's just take that myth. And let's discard it. Okay, because teaching is one thing, teaching is a skill set unto itself. And I know a whole lot of people that can do, and can't teach where the crap. I know a whole lot of people that can teach really, really well and can't do. But I know. And I know even more people that can teach and can do. So those are all those are very, very distinctly different skill sets. So let's discard that. But when we are trying to teach, when we do have to show someone, someone what we're doing, what happens to me every time I'm in the middle of it, and I'm like, Oh my gosh, that really doesn't work does it? And whoever I'm training up will be like, Why and it's it's good. Like it's a good way of seeing the flaws in our workflows, then we can improve what we're doing, make it more, more palatable, easier, more predictable. And that's all good things, every that is good for us. And that happens literally almost every single time I offload something to a new team member. It's amazing when you find your own flaws and things that you can fix.

So there's no really right time to start doing this. But there is a wrong time. Okay. The wrong time to start documenting your processes is when you're in the whirlwind, when you're trying to hire, when you're going through the hiring process of interviewing and all that I mean, that's a very difficult task to hire the right person and do things the right way. And getting prepared to onboard them like putting the other training documents in the training workflows, like that's the wrong time to be documenting your processes because your brain is consumed with other stuff. You need to lead with this and let documenting your processes inform the hiring decision and form what that new person is going to look like what they're going to be able to function as you've already documented what you do. So you know, the skill sets that are involved, you know, the particulars that are involved, you know, the kind of mentality that you're looking for. And also boom, that gives you some trial tasks that you can give to the person that you're bringing on board, you've already seen the processes that you employ, the things that you do in your job, there's your trial task, when you're bringing someone onto the team or across loading someone from another section into your department. So start doing it, I would start right away if you don't have no SOPs written or filmed, like start this tomorrow. And just start building a library it's going to be a ton of videos are gonna be unorganized, whatever, just name them something simple, sensible and move on. You're not You're gonna come up, come back in six months and pick Oh, yeah, I did create an SOP for that. Here it is, and you're already done. You're already winning, because you took the time to do it upfront. Now try to document as much as you can, as often as you can. And if there are some redundancies in there, and you document something 234 times, who really cares, you can go back through and pick the best one and again, you're still winning. You'll never know when you need it. And so it will very much help when you do need it. And so, yep, document document document capture what you're doing, capture the tactical tasks that make up a part of your business life.

So then you are in a position And to offload you're in a position for when emergencies occur, you're doing the work, it's not really work, you're just talking through what you're doing. So it's not adding more work to what you're doing, but you are documenting, and that is going to save your butt at some point in the future. So capture capture capture. Alright, everyone, hope this really helped and man, get on it, man, this is this is a really fun thing to do. Once you start doing it, you're gonna be addicted to it and you're gonna love it. It's a good process. It's a good trait to have a good routine to be in just just filming it. And you know, it's kind of fun in some ways. Anyway, that does it for this episode, the we're going to piggyback right and from this into our next episode, later in the week, we're really going to talk about some templates and things that have made my life so much easier and enabled me to be in this really great workflow when I'm doing these highly tactical task. In the meantime, head on over to iTunes man give us a review. So iTunes us it's smooth operator podcast, really appreciate any reviews or heck just give us a five star rating that really helps with the algorithm so we can get in front of more ears and more eyes and I look forward to seeing you next time. Have a good one.

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