When you started your business you thought you would be working less, instead you find yourself working more. Here are a few tactics to help increase your efficiency so that you can work less and enjoy life more.

Organize your office.
* Go paperless - scan your paper files and place in folders with descriptive names on your computer. Do the same for each new piece of paper you receive.
* Set up your computer files to match your paper files.
* Client files – Folders for each client
* Accounting files – Folders to hold receipts, bills, tax forms, etc
* Administrative files – Folders to keep track of
* Marketing files – Folders to keep copies of all your marketing materials - Web site, business card/flyer/brochure, presentations, etc.
* Put the items you use often within reach.
* Give yourself something nice to look at – family pictures, flowers, and inspirational sayings.

Develop the self-employment mindset
* Make your business something you are passionate about, something you would do even if you didn’t have to.
* Keep track of everything, small advances are very encouraging.
* Start the day dressed for work.
* Let the family know that once you enter your office you are no longer available; you have left for work.
* Start and end the workday at the same time every day.
* Once you enter your office, leave all personal tasks behind, and once you leave your office, leave all work behind.
* Schedule meetings & appointments during your personal peak time.
* Create a time during non-peak hours to handle paperwork.
* Leave the office for lunch and dinner.
* Identify things that UNmotivate you, and avoid or change those things.
* Reward yourself when you reach goals, no matter how small; rewards can be a splurge on expensive advertising for the business or a personal splurge to celebrate your success.

Create Systems
* Create a “to-do” list that prioritizes your tasks, 1. Must be completed today, 2. Must be started today, 3. Should be started today
* Make sure your “to-do” list includes marketing, billing, research, and reading
* Use a “follow-me” phone system that lets you determine when calls should be routed to your office and when calls should be routed to voicemail.
* Make sure your voicemail message requests all the information you need to return phone calls, and the caller knows when to expect a return call
* Have a set time to return phone calls and email, and don’t stop working to answer the phone or email.
* Use an application like Plaxo to keep your database up-to-date
* Create templates and a complete sample of forms and documents you use on a regular basis, including contracts, proposals and welcome packets.
* Set up email filters so that incoming email goes into categorized folders and you won’t have to spend time sorting through email.
* Be sure clients are aware of your business hours and know when you are available and how quickly you respond to a message
* Divide your day into 30 or 60 minute blocks, and schedule your tasks within those blocks.
* Back up your computer data every day.

Take a moment to relax
* Work out
* Take a walk
* Get a facial
* Read to the kids
* Have a candlelight dinner – yes, even with yourself!

Outsource routine tasks
* Let your Virtual Assistant handle all your correspondence, including email and phone calls.
* Let your Bookkeeper handle your billing, and keep track of your expenses.
* Let your Web site Designer design and maintain your Web sites.
* Let your Online Business Manager generate Web site traffic, and submit your articles and press releases.
* Let Schwanns.com or Netgrocer.com deliver your groceries.

Author's Bio: 

© 2008 Beryl Powell, Business Operations Advisor and Trainer, helps Solopreneurs live the lifestyle of their dreams by providing innovative tactics, strategies and resources to help you build your business to sustain your lifestyle. Get a copy of her OperateItRight Success ToolsTM when you subscribe to her bi-monthly newsletter the OperateItRight BulletinTM at www.OperateItRight.com