How To End Business Continuity Busywork

I want to talk about ending the busywork involved in business continuity.

Are you constantly sending email reminders, building spreadsheets, and chasing business continuity approvals? Maybe you’re spending weeks building these huge spreadsheets to compile all your BIA results or, at the end of the day, you’re just wondering where all your time went.

Today we’re going to talk about four keys to ending the busywork involved in business continuity.

I know a lot about busywork with business continuity. When we started out in business continuity over 15 years ago, there weren’t a lot of tools to help automate the daily tasks that come with running a business continuity program. Word documents and spreadsheets were all that we had. So, we spent a large amount of time building spreadsheets and creating documents for departments to review and approve.

Over time we knew there had to be more efficient ways of getting this work done. And, to be honest, that’s why we built Catalyst business continuity software. But, it’s important to note that even without software, we’ve found all kinds of ways to be able to remove some of the waste involved in business continuity. So, whether you have business continuity software or not, there are huge opportunities here to save time and work on more important projects.

With that, here are the four keys to ending busywork with business continuity.


The first key is leveraging the 80/20 rule. If you’re not familiar, the 80/20 rule says that 20% of your effort is responsible for 80% of your results. This means there are only a few things that really move the needle and everything else doesn’t have that big of an impact of productivity. The key with the 80/20 rule is to not just be aware that it’s happening, but also to make sure you identify what 20% will actually move the needle.

We’ve done this over time with items such as the business impact analysis and business continuity plans. With plans, for example, we took a look at what people actually use to respond and recover during a disaster and what’s just fluff that’s getting in the way. This requires experimenting, ao try things out to discover what works. And, over time as you compound wins, you’ll free yourself up and have less documentation, less activity, less busywork, AND better results. Leverage that rule!


The second key to end busywork is to leverage leaderboards. This is a great way (especially if you don’t have a tool) to get out of the business of constantly sending email reminders and asking for the status of projects. The way you can leverage a leaderboard is to send it out once a week to everyone involved in the business impact analysis update and list their status of completion. 

This approach has two benefits. The first is that it’s just one email a week and saves you from sending a bunch of one-off emails. The second benefit is that it creates competition amongst participants, and competition is a great motivator to get people involved!  Leaderboards are an effective way to accomplish this, so try it out.


The third key with ending business continuity busywork is to use software. At Castellan, we use our business continuity software, Catalyst. We believe it is a great tool for managing and building your business continuity program, but there are many others out there as well that have the potential to save you a lot of time. BUT, that’s the key as you’re assessing and evaluating software tools… You must make sure that they will, in fact, save you time since that’s one of the key benefits that they offer.

Beyond just traditional business continuity software tools, there are many other tools available that can save you time. For example, Typeform helps distribute and analyze surveys. Smartsheet is an advanced spreadsheet tool that allows for easy document sharing and deeper analysis. There are numerous tools out there that you can leverage to automate activities and save time. Again, the key is to experiment and find works best for you. The ultimate alternative to ending busywork is a business continuity software tool that’s specifically designed to save business continuity professionals time by automating most of the business continuity process.


The fourth key here is to look at the other side of the coin. Instead of only focusing on what you can get off of your plate, make sure you spend some time evaluating where you can add more value. At the beginning of every week, sit down and identify the one thing that you can accomplish this week that would add the most value to your organization. Write it down, keep it in front of you, and focus on completing that one thing throughout the entire week. This process can be extremely valuable and ensure you’re focused on the most impactful work. It also guarantees that you won’t be distracted by minor issues and busywork. Leverage that weekly process of setting a goal and focusing on how you can add more value to draw you away from the busywork.


If you’re here, you’re probably looking for ways to automate and speed up your business continuity program, and we’ve got the ultimate guide to help you do just that. It’ll walk you through how to calculate your personal value, the value of low-value tasks, and where you can save time and money. Download the BCM Automation Guide today to get started.

Your time and effort should be focused on closing program gaps, addressing program shifts based on organizational change, and working with other risk disciplines to increase efficiencies and the overall resilience of your organization. You can’t do that in any meaningful way if you’re spending all your time doing administrative work, chasing people around for BIA and plan updates, and wasting time trying to manually build dashboards from disparate data sets. Catalyst business continuity software automates administrative tasks and the planning process – freeing you up to focus on high-value activities.

Ready for some hands-on help? Let’s discuss how to best achieve your resilience goals.