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.

 

Want more ideas on productivity? Join my newsletter here.

How to use the 80/20 rule at home and work

80/20 rule

 

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule?  It’s also known as the Pareto principle.  The concept is that  roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It’s seen as a short cut to being more focused, more organized and more productive. Here’s some statistics that show the 80/20 rule.

  • At home, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time.
  • At work, 80% of a company’s profits come from 20% of its customers
  • When you volunteer, 20% of the volunteers do 80% of the effort.
  • What’s the benefit you can find in the Pareto Principle?

Pare down 80% of your clothes.

Our closets are jammed and we have nothing to wear.  It’s time to  use the hanger trick where you turn your hangers around of the clothes you wear. It’s a study in what you truly wear.  Once you see this, you are ready to let go of your unworn clothes.

Spend 80% of your time on the most important 20%.

Prioritize the most important projects for work and home. It might seem like everything is equally important, however it’s not possible.  Drill down what’s your most important and schedule work for this at your high energy times.  Scheduling your work both at home and at your job ensures success.

 

File and scan documents using the 80/20.

Have you created files and never went back to these?  Where can you find the information, when you need it, most easily?  Know what to keep and keep what you need.  You might be keeping 80% more than you need so pare down ruthlessly.

 

Rethink 80% of your activities and find the 20% you are committed to

We are busy! We find ourselves in many different groups, joining more than one Bunco group or book club.  We are taking our kids to many activities.  It’s time to rethink 80% of your activities.  You will find that you are less stressed. You will enjoy your activities more because you have fewer.

 

You will find that the 80/20 rule will be one of your most referenced math equations once you see how it applies to your life.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Making the Most of Summer with Summer Organizing

summer organizing

 

All the signs point to summer time is here!  Our weather is warmer. Pool season has started.  Days are longer.  There are lots of ways to celebrate the arrival of fun in the sun.  Summer organizing helps you make the most of summer fun.

 

 Organizing

Start off the season organized!

  • Switch out your seasonal clothes.  It’s time to release those winter items that were not worn in the last few years.   Move your summer items into your primary closet and organize them in a way that work for you, whether its by color, sleeve length or set.  Use a bin for flip flops and organize your shoes so you can see them best.
  • Replace your winter linens with summer light weight cottons.  Swapping to lighter weight linens gives you the opportunity to clean your bed covers.  Eliminate extra decorative bed pillows and freshen up the look of your bedroom.
  • Give your pantry the once over.  During winter we cook differently.  Think of fresh new menus and ways you can start a new plan for eating.  Mark your calendar for your grocery runs that will include fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Set up outside areas.  Scrub down the patio or have it power washed.  Freshen up outdoor seating cushions and furniture.  Add in patio lighting, candles or lanterns.   Create a pool toy play bin to corral balls and floats.  Be ready for outside fun with storage designed for outside toys.
  • Get your activity bags ready to go.  Create travel or activity bags for you and your kids.  Your bag can include chargers, reading material, sunscreen, bug spray and other goodies while you watch your kids at swim team.  Your kids’ bags include whatever they need for an activity. Have one bag per activity so everything is ready to walk out the door.
  • Pick a single flower from your garden or pick up a small fragrant herb from the store.  Bringing in the smell of the outdoors is a great pick me up in the summer.

 

Work Life Balance

Start off summer with a plan.

  • Host a family meeting focusing on vacations, camps and time at home. Write your family’s plans on your family calendar so everyone is in the know.  Add in preparation times, when you will be packing and unpacking.  Make a list of what you need to purchase to be prepared for your outings.
  • Discuss what family time routines will be maintained or added this summer.  A little structure goes a long way during the summer.  What will be added responsibilities? What time will bedtime be?  What are ways to keep up with reading and math? Having these conversations now set the stage for summer success.  Once decided,  create a chart or online reminder system to keep your family on target.
  • Scout out additional resources for summer supervision.  Are there neighborhood teens, additional baby sitters or ways to add time with grand parents that can help you in a pinch?  You will be ready for extended meetings or other delays just in case.
  • Check out new collaboration tools that you can use to work at home.  Dropbox offers you access to your files at work from any device.  With Skype you can have a face to face conversation using your device.  LastPass keeps all your passwords accessible and organized from anywhere.  Join.me allows for screen sharing.  Evernote keeps you organized with your lists.  Just one of these tools could be a bonus for your productivity this summer.
  • Take time for real vacation and create real rejuvenation time.  According to The Energy Project,  59% of of workers are physically depleted, emotionally drained, mentally distracted, and lacking in meaning because they need time away from work.  If you are away, post an auto-response giving a heads up.  If you check email while away, keep it to a minimum.  Create space for what you love to do this summer.  Read some of the magazines or books poolside that you have collected all year.  Enjoy time for a pedicure,  exercise or cooking.  Summer is our time to play!

 

Best of all these summer organizing projects can be chunked down to one hour time slots.  You can enjoy the day and not be bogged down all day with organizing.  Make this your best summer ever with your summer organizing.

 

More organizing ideas monthly! Join my email newsletter!

Your Most Organized Year Ever

Your Most Organized Year Ever

Each year as we start the new year, we think of ways to make a change and improve our lives.  Did you know that organizing is one of the top three goals each year?  Throughout the month of January, I will be offering 31 tips to help you have Your Most Organized Year Ever.  Implement just one of these tips, tools, techniques or tweaks this year. 

 

Your productivity depends on setting up a well suited work space.

 

For most of us, an uncluttered desk in a well lit office creates an efficient and effective work space.

  • Keep only on your desk what you use each day.
  • Create a command center for action papers.
  • Set up easy to access files for references.
  • Clear your desk daily to keep it efficient.

 

If you work at home, your work space might be mobile.

  • Set up a portable command center for papers.
  • Include electronic cables and other essentials for mobility.
  • Take time out during the day to eat, take a walk and be sociable.

 

Make this Your Most Organized Year Ever with a well suited work space includes elements that make you happy and productive.

 

Need a boost of organizing energy? Join my newsletter!

 

 

 

Spring Organizing: Its the Little Things: Your Purse

Spring organizing is all about the little things. Organizing your purse can be the biggest little organizing you can do.  Click on this video to see how I organize my purse.

Click and Ellen shares how she organized her purse.

Ready to start your spring organizing?

Work at Home: Productivity

 

Working at the office or working at home works best when you have policies and organization about your time. Parallel these for your work at home to maximize your productivity.

  • Set hours for your office time. During this time, keep a clear and established set ground rules for kids, pets and others in  your home.  Your work is your priority during these hours. Post your hours so that those around you know them.
  • Give yourself the opportunity for breaks, including lunch and time to meet for business reasons. Keeping connected is important.  Take a few minutes for a walk around the block or fresh air with a short break. You will return to your desk ready to tackle anything.
  • Define what derails you.  Distractions can range from kids and pets to doing the laundry.  Its the little things that eat away at your day, so be sure you put the big things in first in your day.
  • Use a planner that shows you time blocks to accomplish priorities.  Having a time in the morning and afternoon with undistracted, big blocks for power periods helps you knock off the big projects in small manageable pieces. 
  • Define your work every day with a list and prioritizing.  Using the 3+3 method where you list 3 urgent items for the day and 3 bonus items can help you focus. Your list can be categorized by urgent, soon or later to keep your priorities uppermost.  Set a time for weekly planning to keep all your items on a list and assign deadlines too.    Ask yourself is this activity helping me reach my goal every day?

What makes your work at home highly productive? 

What makes you most productive during your work at home?

Work at Home: Organizing your technology

Working from home is what we do! Whether it is a part time second income or an extension of what you do every day, we add on worktime through out the day.  Being organized to work at home makes a difference in productivity and efficiency.  To do both, we need great technology tools! Here are a few suggestions to make your work more successful.

  • Log Me In.  This is a service that logs you in to your base computer. Easy to use and free, you can do your work remotely on your base computer.
  • Dropbox.  This is a service that permits file sharing.  You create an account and save your files to Dropbox to use remotely, share with others while working on a project, or save as a backup for files in the cloud.
  • GoogleDrive.  This is one of the many free google products for you to use saving and sharing files.  It can be accessed by logging into google from anywhere.
  • Skype.  This free service is for free phone and video services between users.  Download it on your computer and choose the skype phone number to call and see others.
  • Task list.  There are many to choose from, including ziplist, toodle doo, wunderlist, and remember the milk.  A task list helps you prioritize and keep all your lists in one spot!
  • Evernote. This free app for computer and smart phone allows you to capture and organize notes, audio clips, photos, and more. 

What tech tools help you be more organized to work at home?