Today is a two-for. How to make a flowchart and how to decide what to do for Lent. Wow. I’ve just doubled my audience reach here guys. Wow.
But first, let’s address the elephant in the room. Why would I ever suggest creating a flowchart? Aren’t I a writer? Wouldn’t I always suggest writing and never suggest flowcharts?
Of course not. Design is important for effective communication. Sure, words are my trade but design brings everything to life. And sometimes words and design need to work together to help a reader visualize.
This is the situation I encountered when writing an article about Lent (a season in the Christian liturgical calendar focused on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God). I wanted it to inspire mindfulness and prayer but felt there were some obstacles since a lot of people treat the season like a “resolution reboot” and a lot of people do things like give up television, chocolate, and pop.
Which is fine, don’t get me wrong. But I wanted to go a bit deeper and get to the root of Lent. In 650 words.
It didn’t take long before I realized a flowchart was in order so I started sketching. It was difficult to take my big ideas and shape them into a streamlined process but after a few tries I had something I could live with. I also had to take the concept to my editors and the graphic designer for approval since I needed half of my article space for a graphic. A graphic directed by a writer. Can you imagine? Well, maybe you can’t but it was quite the pitch let me tell you.
When to use a flowchart
Here are some situations where creating a flowchart will help you.
- When you’re defining/communicating a process
- When you’re identifying bottlenecks or waste in a process
- When you’re problem solving
- When you’re improving a process
- When you’re making a decision
Why you’d use a flowchart
- You can explain a complicated decision-making process on one page
- You can standardize a process
- You can make decisions faster
How to make a flowchart
- Determine your flowchart’s goal. What’s the desired outcome once someone’s read the flowchart? Start simple and grow from there
- Decide on your steps. How many steps are there? Is it a Y/N type thing or is it a walk through?
- Put your steps in order. Decide where it starts and where it finishes
- Test, test, test. This is where you’ll figure out if you need more steps or you’ve got them out of order. Run it until you’re convinced it’s complete
- Press publish! (Or pass it to your designer to make it…good)
There are all types of ways you can build your flowchart once you have the content but I’ll leave it for you to Google. I’m no designer.
If you’re curious about Lent or how to use this chart, the article is posted here. Or if you want to take it for a spin, download the flowchart below.
Lent 2017 will start on Wednesday, March 1 and will end on Thursday, April 13 (wow, what a timely post).