Archive for October, 2011

5 Non-Work-Related Ways to Stay Motivated While Working From Home

Keeping motivated at workWhen your home is your workplace, it becomes even more important to use your personal time to get away from work by engaging in non-work-related activities that help you re-energize.

Here are 5 great options that will refresh and refocus you to tackle another workday.

1. Take Breaks

Taking your mind off work for a few minutes can do wonders for getting your mind back on track. Make sure to schedule time away from your desk to keep yourself from crashing or becoming uninspired. When you find yourself stressing out about all you need to get done, take some time to do something that will occupy your mind in a different way, be it taking a nap, watching TV, going shopping, or having a snack. Getting your mind to think of something other than work for a while will allow you to come back to a project renewed, more productive, and more up to tackling the task.

2. Make Yourself Pretty

Keeping up your appearance while working from home can boost your confidence and energy. You’ll feel more like working when you look the part. No need to go overboard, but taking a few extra minutes to pick out some nice but comfortable clothes to wear and put on a bit of makeup can leave you looking and feeling more like taking on your workday.

3. Relax with Aromatherapy

There are many aromatherapy products out there designed to affect moods, relaxation, and energy. Try lighting some candles or burning some oil to soothe you.


Top 10 Networking Tips for Work-at-Home Professionals

Business card exchangeThe success of your work-at-home endeavour depends on your contacts – current and prospective clients, and people who can refer clients to you. Rather than keeping to yourself and staying cooped up in your home office all day, it is important that you get out and network to keep your existing contacts and make new ones.

Here are 10 tips to help you network effectively.

1. Be prepared to network any time and anywhere

Networking opportunities can present themselves where you least expect them, so you should always be prepared to network wherever you go. Even if you don’t need to wear suits at home, you should take care to always look presentable when you leave your house. You are the face of your business, so wearing your pyjamas while grocery shopping won’t cut it. It’s also good practice to always keep a few business cards in your wallet or purse to give out.


3 Effective Work-at-Home Communication Tips

Young woman effectively managing her telephone communicationThe flexibility that comes with working from home can make your clients falsely expect you to be at your desk and available to talk to them any time during the day. To maintain good relations with them and keep up a professional image, you’ll need to be able to respond to their inquiries in a timely manner. At the same time, you’ll need to create a system so you don’t let every incoming phone call and email interrupt your work flow.

Here are tips for managing 3 primary communication mediums practically and effectively.

1. Email

Emails are a primary mode of communication and must be answered in a timely fashion. If you are unable to answer your emails within 12 to 24 hours, you can put up a note on your contact page that lets the people who contact you know when to expect you to follow up with them. For example, you could say something like, “All emails will be answered within 48 hours, except on weekends and holidays.” Also, be sure to put up an auto-response whenever you take a vacation, specifying the exact dates you will be gone for and when you will return.


Top 10 Tips for Avoiding Work-at-Home Distractions

work-at-home distractions
It’s easy to become distracted and lower your productivity when you’re working unsupervised from the comfort of your home. Family members, household chores, and temptations like the TV can interrupt your focus and keep you from getting work done. With some planning and diligence, however, you can keep distractions to a minimum.

Here are the top 10 ways you can start creating a distraction-free work environment.

1. Set a Regular Schedule

Planning your workday is essential to making the best use of your time. Setting regular office hours will allow you to create a time box (see 11 Ways to Get More Done Using Time Boxing for more details) for each of the day’s activities and communicate to others when your workday begins and ends. If you have small children, you may need to schedule your work around their nap-times or another caregiver’s schedule so that you can have a good chunk of uninterrupted time to work. Creating a schedule will keep you on track by creating a place for all of the activities in your day.


7 Ground Rules to Establish to Make Working from Home Run More Smoothly

Manage your home-work life better with ground rulesIf you’re serious about succeeding with your home-based business, you’ll need to set some ground rules for you and your family to follow. Setting expectations and limitations for your children and spouse will help everyone adjust better to your new work arrangement.

Here are 7 areas you should address in your ground rules to keep your home and business life happy.

1. Interruptions

Establish guidelines on what merits an interruption during work time, and make sure that everyone is clear that the rules apply to all of them. If your kids are too young to take care of themselves, your rules will need to be looser to accommodate them.

“Do Not Disturb” signs and other signals are a good way to indicate when you would really prefer not to be interrupted. You can minimize interruptions by anticipating requests and responding to them in advance. For example, you could lay out snacks, clothes, activities, and more before you start your workday.