4 Key Productivity Concepts for Work at Home

key productivity concepts for work at home


Is this you?  You took the leap and decided to start your own company, be a consultant, work at home managing investments, or another job that has you office out of your home.  You loved the idea of flexibility and managing your own time.  You’re juggling the demands of home and work in the same space and feeling unproductive and overwhelmed.  How do you maximize your productivity?  Here’s 4 key tools for work at home.


Family calendar and family meeting

The blend of family and work blurs when you work at home.  While it’s a blessing to be available for volunteering, it’s also a challenge to get your administrative tasks complete.  A family calendar is required that includes all commitments. Using Google calendar or Cozi, you and your partner can add commitments in real time.  Take this to the next step by adding in routines that help you complete family tasks like meals, exercise and family bedtime routines.  When you add in these routines, you are sure to complete these too.   Take the final step of printing this out for you to see the calendar. This visual reminder will help you stay on track.


A family meeting insures communication and collaboration.  Set a time that works best for you and your partner. In the beginning it might just be you two and then add in the rest of the family.  Your family meeting is a combination of communication and collaboration.  Make it fun with a snack, walk after or time together.


Creating a team

I love the story of Who Packs Your Parachute.  The best work we do is in collaboration with another.  It’s how we accomplish more because of all the little things we do for others and what others do for us.  I encourage you to do what you do best and find others to help you get more done.  Your team can be your family, working from a chart for family clean.  Or you can find help in a myriad of ways like Care.com.  Choose helpers who are above all trust worthy.  You can train someone with a skill.


Most important task list

When we are in the blur of life and work, we often lose track of what’s most important. A simple Most Important Task list, written the night before, keeps us on track.  How do you know what’s most important?  It’s typically the task with the most steps, more difficult to accomplish, and more fearful task.  When you write it down on your paper or digital list, it’s a commitment to the task.  All lists are too long and we feel unproductive, so a short list that can be accomplished makes all the difference.


Know the One Thing

What’s the One Thing that makes your life run smoothly? Is it exercise, doing meditation, writing in your journal each morning? Or maybe it’s being sure the dishwasher is unloaded every night, or relying on your partner to drop off the kids each day?  Whatever that One Thing is, be inflexible and committed to making that happen.  It’s not surprising that each of us has One Thing that makes life run smoothly. Identify and commit to making that happen.  My One Thing is exercise each morning. I walk for 45 minutes with a trusted friend who shares my enthusiasm for volunteering, mentoring and leadership.


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Fresh Start Spring Organizing

fresh start spring organizing


With small green buds peeking out from the trees, or maybe just many feet of ice melting, spring is around the corner (thankfully.)  It’s been a long winter of nesting. We may be especially looking forward to the change of seasons.  We want to get started on our spring organizing.


“Reset” frequently used spots

It’s time to recheck those spaces that are frequently used in your home. Those spots are the landing strip and command center.  The landing strip is where all your bags and backpacks land each afternoon.  Get this area back into shape by distributing what needs to go elsewhere in your home.  Pull out the mittens, scarves and boots and place them back in closets for next year.  Your command center is paper central for all incoming papers.  Review what is there, recycle and shred what is not needed.


Closet renovation

Another season has passed and you know there are lots of unworn items in your closet.  Before you do your season switch out, get started by pulling out, donating and consigning unworn items.  It will make room for spring and summer, as well as help you lighten up your space.  If clothes have gotten out of whatever order and organization is best for you, go back in and realign.  You may find even more to eliminate after this is reorganized.


Linen reorganization

Spend a few minutes reviewing your linens. Do you have too many blankets and sheets for your needs?  Let go of extra blankets, pillows and older linens.  Take these out to donate and create space. Have towels that are ripped or not a color the coordinates?  Move these out to the garage for spills.     Fluff up your bed by switching out to lighter linens.  Let go of those extra decorative pillows (that you don’t place on your bed daily) and simplify your bedroom.


Fresh start your pantry

Spring and summer are about fresh veggies. Make room for this in your kitchen, refrigerator, freezer and pantry.  Go through and discard expired foods.  Set up spaces that are designated for categories of food, like breakfast, dinner and snacks, so you can easily plan and make meals.  Label your shelves for easy access and putting groceries away.  It’s a great way to welcome spring, improve your eating habits, and make wellness choices easy.

happy spring daffodils


Finish up your fresh start with a new plant or flowers in your kitchen.  It’s a lovely reward for your hard work!  A fresh start for your spring organizing is a great way to be ready for the season.


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Spring Forward

Spring forward spring organizing


Each morning I am noticing the sun rising earlier, indicating it’s almost time for us to Spring Forward with a time change. While not something easy to embrace, the extra sunshine at the end of the day is a bonus.   What ways can we use that daylight hour to Spring Forward take better care of ourselves as well?  Here’s a few ideas I have.

Sunny, happy times

Research shows the value of sunshine on our emotional well being. Longer days mean more sunshine.  Sunlight cues seratonin, boosting your mood, helping you be calm and helping you stay focused.  Getting 15 minutes of sunshine boosts Vitamin D which helps bone health.


Time for exercise

Studies show that walking 10,000 steps in a day helps us keep active both physically and mentally.  With busy days that start early, the sunny evening time is great for a walk. Walking with your partner and kids is a bonus time for communication and sharing what’s happened that day.


Time for dinner

Longer daylight hours give us extra time to prepare dinner. Sitting down to dinner during daylight energizes you and your family.  The Family Dinner project shares ways to include easy meals to help you get dinner on the table.


Routines that make the most of extra daylight

  • End your day with meditation with the Headspace app.
  • Create a checklist for routines with dinner, including family members cooking and cleaning together.
  • Plan time for exercise with a family walk or bike ride.
  • Create a good sleep routine by stopping technology an hour before bedtime, keeping your bedtime the same, and keeping clutter out of your bedroom.
  • Spend 15 minutes with spring organizing at the end of your day.  Daylight will keep you energized.


By embracing this change, like all other changes, you will find more order and productivity in your day.




My Organizing Obsession: Labels

organizing obsession labels


Without a doubt, the one topic that I talk about at every speaking engagement, with every client and with every colleague is my love of labels.  I call myself an “over-labeller” because I know that I label inside drawers, pantries, bins and more.


My love of labels is both functional and cute.  When a spot is labelled, everyone knows where an items goes.  It’s easy getting your home or office reset and back to order.  Everyone can help put away groceries and toys when a spot is labelled.   In addition, labels set the tone of the decor.  I love faux chalkboard labels to appeal to our DIYers.  A simple black and white label keeps minimalists happy.  A cheery label brings a smile to all of us.


Download and print labels

With Pinterest, it’s easy to find labels to download and print.  Do a quick search to find what you need and print in color at home.  Labels are available for every type of project.


Avery labels

Avery labels

Avery labels are available at online and at retail outlets.  Run these labels through your printer to customize.  Sizes and shapes of all kinds are available and self adhesive too!


Brother P Touch Label Maker

labels and organizing

Brother P Touch label maker and labels are a simple way to add organization to your home and office.  The tape is purchased separately. Tapes comes in a variety of sizes and colors. To keep it simple, I use only black lettering on white tape.


You might feel a bit of resistance to labels.  Move beyond this emotion and do some labeling in one area.  Test this each time you replace items back in their spots. How easy did labeling make your work?  Feeling the obsession too?



Proven Technology Tools for Leaders

proven technology tools for leaders


As leaders, communication and collaboration are essential.  When your team is spread out over the nation, or even in your neighborhood, you want proven technology tools that make these aspects easy to accomplish.  It’s not necessary for you to be high tech to use these 4 technology tools.  As a bonus, these tools are free too!  I am happy to share what I use each week with my colleagues.



Free conference call

Every week I am talking to committee members located throughout the country.   FreeConferenceCall.com offers me free access to a collaborative phone system, including free recording of the call.  It’s so simple to dial in and connect.  If you want to share your meeting, you can record and send the link to those who missed the meeting. Team meetings are more effective, save time, and save email frustration by setting a weekly or monthly call to work on a project.



Collaboration can require more than just words and audio.  Many of us work best collaboratively when we all “see” the same content to discuss it.  Our “view” of the content also gives us the opportunity to brainstorm, make adjustments to a document or create a final version together.  Join.me is an online screen sharing site.  You log into join.me/ and a code number and you can view the screen of the host.  My team has completed projects such as budgets, reviewed courses, and reviewed documents together with Join.me.   It’s an easy way to be more productive as a team.


Google docs

Google has an vast array of ways to work collaboratively.  With Google Docs you can create, edit and store web-based documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You initiate the document in Google Docs and work on it in this cloud based site.  You can invite others to join you in the work together and work together at the same time.  Documents and spreadsheets can be be imported into Google Docs as well.



One of the most difficult actions is to find a meeting time that works for you and your team.  Simplify the process with this tech tool.  Doodle is a meeting scheduling tool. Choose dates and times that work for you and send an email through Doodle with the choices.  Each member is polled on what times work for them and a final poll can send the date of the meeting.  It can connect to each team member’s calendar too. Save time and frustration easily setting up a time to meet.


There are more uses than only leadership with these proven technology tools.  At work you can set up partnerships to enhance accountability and productivity.  You may find these tools useful for home as well.  Setting up a family time to talk about aging parents or a family vacation are easy with these technology tools. Taking advantage of these proven technology tools for leaders in your work with your team.  You will find collaboration easy and effective.


Have a favorite tech tool you use? Please share it here and share it’s merits.


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