Back to the Productivity Dictionary

a. A series of actions. (Simple enough.)

b. A series of actions that must be completed to build a particular product: “follow this aardvarking process to create a new aardvark.”

c. A series of actions which an artist/knowledge worker (you? yes. you!) follows to do creative work, i.e. “creative process.”

d. A series of actions that must be completed to reach a particular end: “complete this jerboa-attracting process to get more jerboas to hang out with you.”

e. A process is like a routine but different. A routine is often done for its own sake, but a process is tied to an outcome.

f. A process is helpful in delegating complex tasks or roles, when you want to ensure they are done in a certain way.

You can delegate a task (“Post three videos of dancing pygmy goats every week”) and then hand a process sheet along with it. The process sheet (which I thought was just a term I made up, but which is apparently an official thing) details exactly how the assigned task should be done.

You can delegate a role, and also pass along a process sheet for each main function of the role. Or not.

It depends on whether you want to control how the work is done. (See also: micromanagement.)

Opinion: It’s better to define clearly what is acceptable and what is not for the desired product or goal(s), then let the delegatee figure out how to make it happen in their own way.

Caveat: Defined processes can be very helpful in training new and/or inexperienced people for a particular role or task. A process sheet can get people working quickly and keep them from being overwhelmed by all the stuff they have to figure out.

PRO TIP: Use process sheets as a tool for efficiency and helpfulness, not for control.

g. Defined processes can be invaluable to the person who struggles with distraction, procrastination, anxiety, self-doubt, worry, lack of focus, perfectionism, insecurity, and indecisiveness. In other words, everybody.

Spend some time observing (how you do a thing you do) and then writing it down (look at you, creating a process sheet!). When you’re feeling unsure, doubtful, obsessive, go back to the process. Follow the process. Trust the process.

h. It’s a good safety net (see g, above) for dark days in the creative mind.