Tag: flowchart

If Office Space Is Too Expensive, Consider Co-Working Instead

https://stocksnap.io/photo/69TMH4ITIECommonly referred to co-working spaces, or shared offices are becoming widely popular for small startup business and or independent contractors all over the US. There are a huge number of benefits to moving to a co-working space.

Low Overhead

Co-Working spaces are substantially cheaper than a typical office space without the ball and chain of signing a lease. You could pay hourly for a conference room, or you could decide to get a monthly subscription to a facility. Usually the monthly subscriptions are tiered and all the facilities are different but an example would be:

Sample Pricing for Co-Working

Example_Pricing_TableCollaborative Work Environment

Co-working spaces are just that, they’re co-inhabited by maybe your own colleagues along with strangers with no relation to your current job/project etc. Depending on your work style this could count as a huge Pro or a huge Con. If you are looking to be inspired, or to bounce some of your ideas off a fresh mind, being in a shared environment. If you require complete silence and privacy you will be looking to rent out a more independent office situation.


You had me at snacks…most of these places are going to provide you with not only coffee but snacks! As if that is not enough, depending on the facility you can find one or more of the following amenities:


Most of added benefits are usually bundled into cost for the rental or membership.

If you are trying to decide if moving to a shared office will work for you and or your company, there are a few things to consider.

  • Population size of your business
  • Do you work fixed or flexible hours?
  • Current faculty situation (are you currently in a long/short term lease?)
  • Potential atmosphere of the shared office
  • Location, cost, etc.
  • Long term goals
  • Will your employees be open to the move
  • What comes bundled with the rent? Internet? Printers? Breakroom?

Is Co-Working Right for You and Your Company? 

You can use this flowchart to help guide you through the decision making process:


If you decide that a Co-Working environment is right for you, it’s time to start searching. If you are not familiar with it, the terminology can be a bit confusing at first. Here are some common phrases you may run into while researching:

  • Hot Desk(ing) – a work space sharing model in which the employees outnumber
  • Dedicated Desk-a workstation that is only yours, you can leave your belongings there and usually have the ability store things in a secured environment.
  • Shared (Desk or Workstation) – workspace environment meant more for a single person or a very small group of 2-3 people. This means you will be in close quarters with random people.
  • Hub– workspaces designed for small businesses that are just getting started.

Project Management and Homebrewing


Have you ever thought of yourself as a project manager? Most don’t, but the reality is we are all project managers to some extent. If you ever find yourself collaborating with others, creatively using your resources, defining and meeting financial objectives, and accomplishing your goals, you might be a project manager. To illustrate this idea, I want to introduce you to homebrewing.

As the wife of a homebrewer I have had the pleasure of consuming the end result of the homebrewing process, as well as seeing parallels with project management. I interviewed my husband Brandon, and his brew partner, Stuart about their brewing process, and I think you’ll see how they are project managers without knowing it.

Stuart and Brandon began as good friends who liked to drink beer together. They eventually decided to venture into homebrewing, and found that there was a meticulous process to follow for their beer to turn out as deliciously as possible.

 There are stages to the process- it is both technical and artsy.”  -Stuart

The Stages of Homebrewing

In the days that Stuart and Brandon brewed together, they became very creative with the tools that were used to make their beer. Fly fishing nets, crab pot buckets, and bathtubs full of ice were common to their weekend brew-scene.  Being creative with their resources allowed them to focus their budget dollars on better beer ingredients, as they were typically drawn toward the more expensive beers that they had recently consumed.

Getting creative with resources!

 “The smoky porter we made was probably the hardest and most interesting beer to produce. It took many more grains, and included many different types of grains.” -Brandon

As with any process, there were times that environmental errors (such as consuming too many beers on brew day) crept in and were potentially harmful to their finished product. But they didn’t let those factors drag them down- they took it as an opportunity to brew again, ultimately refining their process.

We both screw up. The consequence is that the beer doesn’t turn out as good and we get to make another batch.” -Stuart

Brewing beer alone does not satisfy these guys- they also participate in brew festivals, bring their beer to barbecues and family gatherings, and enjoy reading articles about up-and-coming breweries around the globe.

“I like to read online articles and watch YouTube videos about brewing or breweries.” -Brandon

Brandon and Stuart are Project Managers while brewing. Their comprehensive process of collaborating, using resources, strategizing, budgeting, and continuous learning are key to any project being managed.


#1. Utilizing your resources is key. Use what you have to be successful with your project, and think creatively. Like the fly fishing net and crab pots, resources can be utilized in multiple ways.

#2. Planning and implementing a procedural strategy is vital to your project, as is preparing for risks and outlining corrective actions to take, if (when) those risks occur. Why is all of this important? Because it affects your bottom line- profit. In homebrewing, the risk is a change in the taste of your beer, or at the very worst, the need to make another batch. Unfortunately, the risks can be much higher in business. Learn from homebrewing to follow a process, assign tasks or assign teams, and reduce the risk of error while ultimately increasing your profits.

#4. Meet your financial objectives by following your forecasted budget. If you plan for a $50 batch of homebrew, spend $50. Likewise,if you plan for an employee resource of $50,000, spend only that.

#5. When it comes to furthering the knowledge of your project or company, be like Stuart and Brandon in the way they research and learn. Increase your personal value proposition by participating in professional networking events and educational opportunities related to your business scope.

Homebrewing is both a technical and creative process, just like Project Management. And while there are many business objectives to take away from the art of homebrewing, quite possibly the best part about it is the end – having a great beer to consume. Cheers to that!

Accomplishing Tasks in Less Time: Efficiency in the Workplace

Purchased ImageI got my first real job at a car wash during my freshman year of high school. I still remember eyeing the place for years, seeing similar-aged kids working there, all wearing this super cool red sweatshirt. Of course the reality of working there was something less dreamy. There were lessons learned there and at other stops along my career that revealed one truth to me: efficiency in the workplace is important.

But knowing that is only half the battle. How can we be efficient?

I think efficiency in the workplace is accomplished with 3 keys: setting goals, making plans, and establishing a routine. As full as my schedule became, these habits never let me down.

Goal Setting

My simple definition of goal setting is to identify something that you would like to accomplish.

Setting goals is best done each morning. You might run a report or organize your to-do list. The key is to do this early. At one of my prior jobs I would run a report first thing in the morning that informed me of the new inpatients in the hospital. Then my goal for the rest of the day was clear and simple: visit all of the new inpatients before lunch.

You might be thinking spending time time setting up goals in the morning like this is a waste. You could just get to work. Setting goals to increase efficiency works because it helps you focus, and depending on your personality it can trigger your competitive nature or provide comfort in there being a “plan”. Your goals do not have to be complicated- they do not have to extend over the next few months or years. In fact, to get started, try setting a short term goal- get a task done in a few hours, or even minutes.


Once you start setting goals, you’ll run into the inevitable first road block. What to do when more than one goal is required? That is where the next key to efficiency comes in. Make a plan. I set up a calendar system to keep me on track. I input task details, meetings, and important deadlines. When I have a project to complete, I block out times of the day to specifically focus on that. Planning time in this way keeps us focused on the goals we set, and become efficient, regardless of what gets thrown our way.
Benjamin Franklin imparted these words of wisdom unto us long ago: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!”

I could not agree more. If efficiency at work is important to you, you need to learn how to make a plan.

When it comes to efficiency, planning is key. Planning suggests that you are coordinating your time with the tasks that must be done. A plan, much like a goal, can be short or long-term, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. I recommend starting with something as simple as a calendar, or perhaps a tool that can be incorporated into your communication channels at work. However you choose to do it, remember to always plan. Your efficiency depends on it.

Establishing a Routine

Setting goals and making plans are only effective if they become a habit. A habit is formed when a behavior is performed regularly, or routinely, and that makes establishing a routine the final key to being efficient. As per scienceonce a habit has formed, your brain works less strenuously because it can now devote its mental activity to new behaviors. While it seems boring and kind of lame to establish a routine at work, I can tell you that it is worth it because it produces high efficiency in task completion.

Going back to my time as a Patient Advocate, I can recall my morning routine exactly:

Flowchart from Patient Advocate ScheduleWhen I stayed within this routine, I found that not only did I accomplish tasks more quickly over time, but also, I had ample time in the afternoon for anything that presented itself and required immediate attention.

I recommend starting a routine. Maybe it doesn’t look anything like this example, but I guarantee that you can structure at least a portion of your day into a routine. Your brain will thank you by allowing more room to think creatively and productively, and your efficiency levels will increase.

Goal setting, planning, and establishing a routine are vital to your success in workplace efficiency. You don’t need some special skill or inherited trait to get good at setting goals, making plans, or even establishing a routine, all you need is practice, and the desire to be efficient.

SmartDraw: An Entrepreneur’s Secret to Success

Purchased Image

Building and maintaining a successful business from the ground up isn’t easy.  For entrepreneurs who make it, the difference between giving up and persisting can be a matter of having the right tools and knowing how to use them.

In this week’s post, we’ll hear from Lesley Cowan, Director of Lesley J. Cowan Professional Services, based in New South Wales, Australia.  We’ll discover SmartDraw’s role in her continued success as an entrepreneur.

Can you tell us about the work that you do?

I deliver business solutions in the areas of procurement to governments, both Commonwealth and State.  With a strong background of legal practice, communications, and project management, I continually assess and adjusts my business practices to reflect the changing client environments enabling me to learn and evolve as a practitioner.

My prime customer, at the moment, asked me to set up all of their management systems – quality assurance, safety, and environmental. I write all of their policies. I do all their legal work and I also maintain all their systems and train people in their operations.

Why did you select SmartDraw?

SmartDraw, well, I had never heard of before. But it was an economical tool to use for the company because they didn’t have great amounts of money to spend on software.  I’ve used MindManager, in my legal work, where I was devising complex contracts for Defense.  It actually helped me organize my requirements and flow them down to other sub-contracts.  I’d use flowcharting in doing policy writing. And I was quite amazed to find that SmartDraw did both and they did them well.

You mentioned that it’s a powerful tool for small companies.  Can you elaborate?

“First of all, it’s economical.  Secondly, it’s multifaceted.  I’ve managed to do some pretty complex things with it.”

Secret #1: Create Resource Management System Diagrams to Organize Information


I have a quality assurance website which is a quite a good way of putting our current versions of our quality files, procedures, and forms for everybody to be able to access.  Because normally, you would put paper copies out.  It gets lost and it’s hard to keep current.  It’s been fantastic.

Secret #2: Flowchart to Increase Understanding of How Everything Relates

“I flowchart everything. That way you can see how it interfaces with everything else.  I find the flowcharting function I do use constantly.”

Secret #3: Mind Map to Breakdown Ideas Into Components

“I use the Mind Map function quite often to breakdown ideas that I have into components because I can also download it into an outline format.  So, it helps me manage ideas.  And I find that quite useful.”


Secret #4: Maintain Org Charts to Reflect Organizational Change

I also use the organization chart facility.  In order to keep current in your quality system and to show what your organization is all about, you have to change the organization chart to reflect the change.


Secret #5: Share Information By Inserting Diagrams into Documents or Emails

We share our organizational charts in several ways.  Number one, our current chart is on our QA website so people can print it out, in pdf version, off of the website if they need it. The other thing we do is in all of our tender writing, we can implant them as a pdf insert them or Windows metafile and just insert them into a document I’m writing.  We send them in emails. You can implant them or attach them to your emails.

How would you describe SmartDraw?

“It’s a great tool for a small company who wants to achieve big things.”

Mainly because it’s versatile.  You’ve got a lot of templates to draw from and you can be innovative and creative with it.  Whilst I really like different things about different programs, this one accomplishes many things.

What advice do your have for future SmartDraw Users?

“I’ve been using it for over 5 years now. I’m still learning new ways to use it.  I have become really obsessed with what I do with it.  It’s a very good tool.”

Are You a True Soccer Fan? This Flowchart Has the Answer

https://pixabay.com/en/football-duel-rush-ball-sport-1331838/You own a Volvo station wagon. It has logged 187,000 miles on weekend soccer trips. The back seat carpets have been re-dyed in various shades of Gatorade.

Yet still you ask yourself, “Am I a true soccer fan? Am I ready to put my fanhood to the test as the best 32 national teams on Earth square off in the World Cup?”

That’s an understandable question. Maybe you haven’t quite mastered the hang of referring to “the pitch” instead of “the field.” Or when you see a ball lying on the ground, your first inclination is to reach down and pick it up, rather than flipping it into the air with your feet.

Well, fear not. We’ve created a simple flowchart just for you to determine whether you are a true soccer fan—just in time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Are you a true soccer fan - flowchart

So, how did you do? Are you a true soccer fan? If so, you’ll definitely want to keep this 2014 FIFA World Cup draw sheet nearby to follow your team as it vies for the world title:

2014 FIFA World Cup draw

Whether you’re a true soccer/football fan or not, I am sure you’ll enjoy the amazing footwork shown in this video from McDonalds/GOL.