Merge's Blog

To boost productivity, automate information requests

It has been over a month since I’ve added another idea to our current video series on ways for leaders to boost productivity.  So it’s time!  Today’s tip to boost productivity is to automate information requests.  Let me explain.

To boost productivity, automate information requests

If there are certain questions you get asked frequently, or specific reports that are requested from you often, or particular tasks that are routinely asked of you, then automate those requests.  Your goal is to make that information easily accessible so that you don’t have continually have to respond to the same old, same old.

Create accessible sources

If you see the same questions coming up repeatedly, create a frequently asked questions (FAQs) section on your website.  Or send out a memo to the team addressing these issues.  Or post the list in a highly visible place.  Initially, you might have to direct people to these sources in order to habituate them to going there first, but your main objective is to have them go there and not to you.

Use shared files

If you are continually asked for specific reports, put them in a common folder on your server. Or file them in a binder that is placed outside your office or cubicle.  Notice I said “outside” your office or cubicle – your goal is to have the information easily accessible to others so they don’t have to ask you.  Making others self-sufficient will boost productivity for you.

Use standard forms

If you have particular tasks that are routinely asked of you, boost productivity by creating forms that capture all the necessary information you require.  Often, when you are asked to do a task, you need specific information from the other person in order to complete it.  If these are tasks that are coming up regularly, then create a simple form that collects all the information you need. Have people complete it before they make their request.  The form can be electronic or paper, whatever works best in your work environment.  But you save time because you don’t have to go back and forth asking and clarifying.

Automating information requests is a simple yet powerful way to boost productivity.  I’d love to know more about you are applying this approach.  Please share your ideas and experiences below.

If you’re interested in other strategies in this series we started at the beginning of this year on ways to boost productivity, then you might enjoy these other recent posts:

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