Sticky Notes: Shareable Job Aids Are the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Work instructions, checklists, templates, and prior work products that can be used as a model all can help you work smarter, faster, and better.

The job aid is a tool that helps you do your work smarter, faster, and better: Think work instructions, checklists, templates, and prior work products that can be used as a model.

  • Job aids keep you from getting rusty. If this is a task, responsibility, or project that you do occasionally, don’t try to relearn the same things all over again every time. Job aids will jumpstart you getting back up to speed.
  • Job aids keep you from going on autopilot. Those tasks you do over and over—sometimes multiple times a day—you might start doing by rote/mindlessly. Or you think you can “multitask.” That’s when mistakes occur and opportunities are overlooked. If you slow down and use your job aids, they can be tools of mindfulness to get you back to dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s as effectively as possible.

Change Things Up

What if your job aids get old and tired and you start to tune them out? Then it’s time to change things up. A simple example is to take your checklist and rearrange it. Do things in a different order. Or make checklists within your checklists.

  • Job aids can help you build up other go-to people. When you’re overcommitted and must say, “No,” to a customer yourself, you might find yourself finding alternative go-to people to fill in for you. Get them on board, up to speed, and backing you up faster by using your job aids.
  • Job aids help you educate your cross-functional collaborators. When you are working with your internal customers in other teams, functions, or departments, they often have lots of blind spots about what you do, how you do it, and how best to work effectively with you. Use your job aids to create greater alignment and help them understand exactly what steps are required for you to meet their needs. The better they understand your job as it relates to them, the more likely they will see opportunities to help you help them—and the better you can work together.
Bruce Tulgan is a best-selling author and CEO of RainmakerThinking, the management research, consulting, and training firm he founded in 1993. All of his work is based on 27 years of intensive workplace interviews and has been featured in thousands of news stories around the world. His newest book, “The Art of Being Indispensable at Work: Win Influence, Beat Overcommitment, and Get the Right Things Done”( Harvard Business Review Press) is available for purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all major booksellers. Follow Tulgan on Twitter @BruceTulgan or visit his Website at: rainmakerthinking.com.