By: jdevore on January 9th, 2013

Print/Save as PDF

If You Want to Increase Productivity At Work, You Need to Get Organized

Software Documentation Tips | Entrepreneurship | Documentation Managers


I've done a lot of service projects in my life, and I've found that about 80% of the time, way too many people show up.

It's not that there isn't a lot of work to do, it's just that whoever is in charge isn't organized in a way that they can utilize all of the available resources - lots of manpower, little direction. In fact, it often turns into 15 people walking around watching the person we were supposed to be serving, doing all of the work! That's not very helpful.

So when my brother Trevor and I accompanied a group to New Jersey to help out with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup effort, I was shocked by how well we were utilized! Our group of 128 was immediately put to work, and able to help those who desperately needed it within an hour of showing up. Our productivity was dramatically increased because the group we went with was organized.

The way it worked was when families/individuals needed help, they submitted a help ticket to the organization we worked through. The help ticket had, among other things, a list of things that needed to get done - a sort of instruction set. When our group showed up to New Jersey, we broke up into teams and the organization handed each team a ticket (the teams' resources were matched to the tickets' requirements). When we were done with the ticket or the day was over and we had to leave, we reported back to "home base" on our progress.

If we finished early and didn't have a ticket for work nearby, we knocked on doors to see if anybody needed help. If they did, we opened a ticket and filled out the appropriate information. When more people showed up to help, there was work for them to do.

The way that it was organized wasn't super fancy, but it worked. And when additional resources showed up, they didn't sit around - they immediately went to work and were continually able increase productivity. That's the power of having a plan and being organized - when you receive more resources (money, people, skills) you can immediately use them to help you be accomplish a job.

We've used that example in our internal meetings. We have tons of things that need to get done, but what would happen if we added more resources? Are we organized like the Hurricane Sandy relief effort we were apart of? Or would the additional help just sit around watching us work while we try to figure out what they can do?

Are we organized in a way that would allow us to add resources?

Our answer - we're working on it. And the way we're working on it is we:

  • Make a list of jobs that we do (we add to this list everyday)
  • Write a checklist of tasks that the job consists of (this checklist constantly gets updated)
  • Document "how to" articles for each task in the checklist (updated when necessary)
  • Automate everything we can in the checklist (e.g. use Text Expander for writing emails)

Doing this has made a huge difference in our day to day business operations. Greg is able to delegate tasks to me with little involvement on his end - he just sends me a link to the checklist. I then go through the checklist, and for things I don't know how to do I can look at the "how to" article, which shows me what to do in greater detail.

By getting organized, Greg has increased the productivity of our team.

If we decided to add 5 more employees today, we'd be able to do the same thing - Greg would send them a link with a checklist and they could instantly be off, getting things done.

Organizing your business so that you can effectively add more resources is the key for your business to grow, which is why we're constantly working on building a turnkey business - there's just no sense in bringing in additional resources if those resources aren't going to get anything done. And you can't waste resources if you want to be successful.

If you want to check out how you can organize your business so that you can add resources that instantly produce, watch the free webinar on building a turnkey business.

Watch the Free Webinar: How to Build a Turnkey Business

About jdevore

Jonathan (Jay) DeVore is the Director of Marketing at Blue Mango Learning Systems, developers of ScreenSteps. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Accounting, and is a licensed CPA in the state of Virginia. Right after graduation, he worked for his dad's private medical practice in Pasadena, CA auditing the efficiency of billing and collections. After 9 months of living in the golden state, he moved his family to Virginia to begin working at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). As an accountant at PwC, he actually did very little number crunching (which surprised him), and instead audited government information systems for compliance with government requirements (e.g. NIST 800-53). During his time with the Big 4 Accounting Firm, he helped large organizations improve their documentation both from a compliance perspective and instructional perspective. His favorite aspect of work was training/teaching, so when Greg and Trevor approached him with an opportunity to create educational content for ScreenSteps, he jumped at the chance. Jonathan lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and children, and enjoys the beautiful weather the D.C. area offers 9 months out of the year.