Focusing On The Things You Love
Cannibalization. In marketing practices, you sacrifice one product line with a new and better one to boost revenue. For example, Apple does this to improve the user experience. The iPod eventually was overtaken by the iPhone. How would this strategy apply to your workflow?
Your workflow could be split into two core categories of tasks - low value and high value. In your case, the goal is to be less busy, deliver your work on time, with quality and on or below budget. In an ideal world, you would love to focus on doing things at work that you enjoy. Unfortunately, our daily routines are weighted towards spending most of our time on low-value tasks. Low-value tasks are those that are repetitive, appear like it's a duplication of work and reduce your motivation to reach your overall goals. This affects our productivity.
High-value tasks are those that challenge, inspire and reward you to deliver solutions that benefit your team or organization. High-value tasks don't get enough attention when low-value tasks consume most of your time. This means that high value, important tasks, are likely rushed, late and perhaps not at the level of quality you're capable of achieving.
How can this situation be reversed, so you can focus on doing things you love?
One way is to stop, reflect and write down your step-by-step workflow. Start with writing down some pain points that you have, highlighting tasks that absorb most of your time or are throwing up issues that affect you or your team. Perhaps these tasks could be automated or eliminated altogether. What kind of technology or software tools could relieve your pain? Try consulting with a colleague. It may take a few iterations to converge on a robust solution but the time invested to do this will be pay off long term.
One useful guide to discover a more streamlined approach is a method called Design Thinking.
"Design thinking utilizes elements from the designer's toolkit like empathy and experimentation to arrive at innovative solutions. By using design thinking, you make decisions based on what future customers really want instead of relying only on historical data or making risky bets based on instinct instead of evidence." Source: Ideou
Low-value tasks form part of your work objectives and are important in the chain of activities you're assigned. Different solutions exist, to alleviate these tasks, thanks to automation or delegation perhaps.
Example common pains today could be reading emails or achieving "zero inbox", meeting invitations that you accept and realize are a waste of your time.
Cannibalizing your workflow may not seem so easy at first, but can be rewarding when done right. Try using a Design Thinking approach with your daily workflow.
Let us know in the comments or send us a message about how it went.