I will be honest with everyone, I absolutely loathe putting together monotonous documents and sales orders. I am not a fan of working on long presentations either. I know, I sound like another sales guy that wants to just spend his time on the golf course, and although there may be some truth to that, my issue lies much deeper.
I hate wasting time -- especially when I know there is work to be done. I have documents to write and presentations to be created. The problem comes when I have to rely on others in order for it to be complete. I find myself either waiting for people to edit their piece of the document or presentation, or waiting for someone to finalize and approve it. To put together a simple Statement of Work, I have to create my piece of the document, then send over to my technical team to adjust the hours to match the scope of the project. Once that’s finished, they have to email me their updates, and I update the financial and payment section to match the hours that they’ve quoted. Once that part is finished, I then send it back to my technical people for confirmation, and then to my accounting team to approve the crazy discounts I am promising everyone (wink wink). When all of that is approved, I then send it to our Founder for final approval. FINALLY…. when I get the edited document back from our Founder, I can send it to the customer.
If you were counting, this single document just passed hands to 6 different groups of people. Each time they look at it and edit the document, a new document is created. So now, we are left with 6 different versions of the same document. These unnecessary versions are not only taking up space, but could potentially cause confusion in the future.
Time is another factor. Each time a new person has to look at the document, I have to wait until they find the time to dig through it. A single document could take days to get completed, simply because the tools I had weren’t helpful. They didn’t allow my team and I to collaborate together.
Now I have better tools. Google Apps for Business, and more specifically within Google Drive and Calendar, has made me better at my job. I’m more efficient and, in general, a happier person to be around in the office. Plus, I have more time for golf now.
In Google Apps, when I have a document or a presentation to work on, I simply find a time that works for my team. I schedule a 15-20 minute block of time on all of our calendars, and share a link to the document that I created in the invite.
When the time comes to meet, we join a Hangout so that we are all face-to-face and accessing the exact same document at the same time. I am able to edit my pieces on page 4, while my technical team updates their timeline on page 20. Furthermore, when we’re in the document, we can easily jump to where the other team members are by clicking on their picture at the top of the screen.
Because of Google Apps, I am now able to create, edit, collaborate, and finalize a document in minutes, rather than the hours or days it took to complete in the past. Huzzah!! No more wasted time!
This collaboration is all due to a combination of powerful applications, and collaborative tools. I have been on (Company Who Shall Not Be Named) Office for over 15 years, and like a great session with my shrink, I have discovered the source of my frustration, and have overcome it. I am now flying high, less stressed, and more productive than I have ever been before. Without exaggeration, I have about 2 extra hours a day to use on additional projects.
No matter what size organization you work for, increasing efficiency and productivity will certainly affect the bottom line.Originally published on April 29, 2014