07/16/2012 12:14 EDT | Updated 09/15/2012 05:12 EDT

How to Make Your Workload More Efficient

This summer I am de-cluttering our home so we can put it up for sale. After 28 years in the same house, it is a project and a half to say the least. So as I sit on the floor, dividing stuff into keep, ditch and give away, I realize that I need to do the same with my business -- only the options are stop, start and continue.

You see, this coming fall for the first time in eight years, I will be back to being a solopreneur, because members of my team are moving, going back to school and another dealing with an illness in the family. That they are all leaving at the same time is undoubtedly challenging, and there are days, to be honest, when I feel a tad panicked about the fall.

While I know I have to rehire, I am not rushing into it, as I see this as an opportunity to revisit our office systems and to reflect on what skill sets I need. Just because we have done something a certain way for years, doesn't mean we have to continue that way.

Bottom line: I recognize that I will need help with the admin work as doing it myself would drain my energy faster than anything, and not be a productive use of my time. And quite frankly, I would go nuts.

Now annually we go through this stop, start, continue exercise around the programs and services we offer, but it has been a long time since we've looked at our actual processes.

So given that I could end up running the office myself for a while, this seems like a good time to review what is working and revisit what is labour-intensive and cumbersome, to see if we can come up with better, more efficient ways of achieving our admin goals.

So here's some of the questions I have been asking myself:

1. What information do we need and why?

2. What is the easiest way to track this information?

3. Can some of the processes be automated through the website?

4. What equipment do we need and use? Do we still need it all?

5. Is there a way to streamline our processes?

6. How long does it take to do the different elements?

7. What skill sets will we need to implement our new processes?

8. Does the work have to be done onsite or could someone do it virtually?

It is all-too-easy to get locked into doing things the same way, without really asking yourself why or whether that information is still relevant.

We've decided to automate part of our processes which will make life simpler and easier for our chapter leaders who can access the information they need online and it streamlines the data entry process.

We are going to eliminate certain processes as, on reflection, they are no longer required and doing so will cut our printing and postage costs. And as for the postage metre -- it can go, we rarely mail out material these days, leading to more savings.

So all in all, it has been a useful exercise, and probably long overdue. It was only when we were forced to re-examine what we were doing, that we concluded that we didn't have to do it all.

I encourage you to do the same. Don't wait until you are boxed into a corner. Take the time now to review your systems and processes, you may find a simpler way to cover off what you need and better still, save some money too!