How to be More Productive at your Computer

With the whole world at your fingertips it can be difficult to stay on target. Whether you’re working at home or in a crowded office, those deadlines aren’t going anywhere and they need to be done. Time to shake off the old habits and make a new years resolution to become a model worker.

This article is going to show you some tips and tricks to help you knuckle down and get work done. While these pieces of advice might seem daunting at first, a few small changes will grow into positive habits and maybe a few compliments from the boss. So don’t be afraid of the time spent in front of your trusty Lenovo laptop – let’s get some work done.

First of all, it might seem obvious but rid yourself of any distractions. This includes those found online such as time-draining social media sites. Don’t worry about blocking the Internet altogether, there are apps such as Focal Filter that will block some of the biggest distractions for a set time limit. Another way to stay focused is one little word that will keep everything away – no. No to any ‘you’ve got to see this’ emails, no to colleagues dragging you away from your desk and no to anything that has nothing to do with your work. Whilst it might sound pessimistic, make “no” your default at work to remain on task. There’s very rarely anything more important than your current task at hand.

If you happen to have multiple tasks that need to be completed then there’s nothing better than the classic to-do list. Don’t mistake this as an old-fashioned scrap of paper, however. AllThings is a strong set of tools that make listing easy to not only edit and complete but to share, allowing groups of people to work away at the same list. This makes it fantastic for collaborations and group leaders. Another idea is to shift your list onto your smartphone to clear up some monitor real estate. Any.Do is a popular choice in this area, automatically prioritizing entries, synchronizing lists over devices and looking stylish while doing it: a hugely intuitive way of keeping you productive.

Lastly, the bane of many workers day is the humble inbox. Five words can cause a huge disaster later on: “I’ll reply to them later”. Simply designate a certain time when you can catch up on your inbox and organize it – perhaps 10 minutes before or after lunch. Be on the lookout for messages that can be quickly replied to but anything bigger save for your designated slot. If you’re using Gmail then there are some powerful tools that can save you a wealth of time, one of which is Toutapp. It has a wealth of features aimed at supercharging your inbox: the ability to track when sent emails are opened and links clicked, reminders to follow up certain messages, quickly-written email templates and more.

The Joys of Self Employment

Working from home is a blessing, and honestly I am not so sure “anyone” can do it, even though I have said that in the past. The reason I am starting to believe that not everyone can do it is because it’s extremely difficult to step away from work when it’s family time if your office is in your home. All too often I have to shut down my computer because I will be tempted to come in and do some work during family time. I am just that into my work and addicted to making money.

Being self employed has it’s ups and downs. For sure, trying to collect payments from clients really can stink some times. Especially when you see the bill due dates and yet these people still have not paid you. I am lucky to work with amazing people directly but some of the firms I have worked with take forever and a day to submit payment. Sure sometimes things happen making payment delayed and I totally understand that but when a big firm was scheduled to pay me on “x” date and still has yet to pay me nor communicate what is up to me? Well that’s a fail in my book.

Juggling my kids new schedule this school year alongside my work has actually proved to be quite easy. Although the few hours I get here and there may seem like nothing to you all who work a forty hour week in a workplace somewhere, you would be shocked as to what I can get done in just one hour of silence in my office, or with music blasting in the background. I can write many blog posts, articles and even complete a ton of invoicing in just one hour.

With the youngest being in pre-K four days a week, I find that I get one full day without kids as he spends two mornings a week with his Dad, I also get four days a week with that few hours of afternoon silence to work. I have stopped working weekends as much, because I was burning myself out. Although I am blessed to do what I love and am passionate about for work, everyone has their own limits and needs a break.

So while my breaks usually involve returning to Mama duty from my home office, I do try to take weekends to recoup from a fun filled week of being self employed. I believe that being self employed gives you more confidence in your own self, after all, I am pretty confident in myself and my skills.  I wouldn’t trade the juggling that I call a really well rounded schedule for anything in the world, not even an office position in a nice friendly workplace.

The Key to Successfully Working From Home

Working from home is becoming more popular these days, as families are faced with creative ways to earn income to put food on the table and pay for the bills required to live these days. While working from home can be an amazing adventure and quite lucrative at times, it requires some key components and a sense of motivation within your own self to fully rise to being a successful work from home parent.

Choose a Private Work Area

When I first starting working from home I had a corner area in the middle of the living room in my old house. This wasn’t very private, however, it became my starting place for working from home after my ex husband had quit his job. It proved to be a great place for beginning but now I do have a private home office just off of my bedroom and it provides me with a better focus during “work hours”.

If you have to choose an area that is near the main living quarters of your home, try to make it as private as possible and ensure the family realizes if you are sitting at that area on the computer that they respect it is your work time and to not interrupt unless necessary.

Lay Down Some Working Hours Ground Rules

This is the harder part of working from home, you see all too often work from home parents are juggling children and their work. You have to really set ground rules, expectations {of yourself and family}, and be sure that you are not ignoring your children in order to get some work done. If you must work while your children are unattended, then be sure they have a creative activity that they can do while you get some much needed work done or are having a movie time, or even nap time for a couple of hours to ensure you get dedicated work time while not neglecting the children.

Be sure to set a work hour time and shut down when that time is over with. Whatever work is left after that time can wait until your next “working hours” start.

Do not Answer Personal Phone Calls or Messages

Try to make sure anyone you would normally talk to isn’t going to be calling during “work hours” or better yet, shut that phone ringer right off. Do not look at texts, do not ramble on Facebook getting into some in depth random conversation during work hours. Shut down anything that is not work related if at all possible to ensure you are not dragging your personal life time into working hours.

This may take some practice, heck it has taken me four years to not answer that phone if my family calls during working hours, but it needs to be done.




Image courtesy of pat138241 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Choose Jobs and Tasks that you Can Handle

I get it, when you start working from home, it’s hard but then all of a sudden everyone and their brother want to hire you to do something for them. Be sure to not only take on jobs or tasks that you are qualified to handle but make sure you have the time available to complete these jobs and/or tasks for new clients. It’s easy to think you can do it all, but you are one person and a parent on top of it so do not take more than you can handle.

There will be a day and time when you can handle more, take baby steps so to avoid collapsing, you want to succeed not burn yourself out.

Love What you Do

Just have fun with it, working from home can be a very rewarding career both emotionally and financially as long as you set goals, stay dedicated and follow the few tips I listed here in this article. Working from home means you can do whatever you dream of doing; blogging, freelance writing, direct sales such as Avon and others, and even become a virtual assistant. Whatever you want to be, you can be, when you work from home. Dream big, reach for the stars and stay on path to ensure you have success working from home!

Let’s Start The Week off With Funny Quotes

Get your week started with funny work week quotes.

The first sign of a nervous breakdown is when you start thinking your work is terribly important.  ~ Milo Bloom ~

If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done…
~ Anonymous ~

The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working when you get up in the morning, and doesn’t stop until you get to the office.
~ Robert Frost ~

Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.
~ Jimmy Durante ~

If you don’t want to work, you have to work to earn enough money so that you won’t have to work.
~ Ogden Nash ~

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.
~ Sam Ewing ~

I only go to work on days that don’t end in a ‘y’.
~ Robert Paul ~

Have a happy MONDAY everyone!

 

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Take One Thing at a Time

I know it is very easy to look at your desk and see a pile of paperwork staring at you and realize “oh man I have so much to do” then you get that panicked feeling of “how in the heck am I ever going to finish all of this work”.  You see it is all too easy to look at the pile of projects to get completed and feel overwhelmed, but I am going to share with you how to make that situation become a breeze time and time again ….

My Side Story

I am famous for allowing myself to get overwhelmed from time to time, but it’s normally around “that time of the month”, yes about one week before my non-friend {as I like to call that monthly female visitor} I start stressing out about everything. I swear if the kitchen sink was dripping one small drop of water I would freak, so I do understand that we all get into our zones when we can’t seem to find our focus.

How I Make Myself Focus

I am one of those people that refuses to feel overwhelmed for long. If I am in a moment of despair I will walk away, call a friend, vent to them and move forward. Usually verbally getting out my frustrations helps clear my head so that I can move forward.  Occasionally taking a walk or playing a fun game with the kids will help lower my tension and allow my brain to refresh.

Level of Priority

I don’t care what you do for work, there is always a level of priority for anything. If you are a person who has taken one more than you can handle then it may be more difficult to denote which task is high priority and which is lower but you can do this!

  • Take into consideration any deadlines for each project.
  • Take into consideration people who trust you and have worked with you before so they realize you will get this done, even if it’s going to take a little longer than normal.
  • Do not, I repeat, DO NOT use your children, personal life or family life an excuse for not getting a project done; this gives working from home a bad name. {guilty I have done this, but we shouldn’t do it}
  • Make one pile if possible with highest priority project on top and lowest on the bottom. {one pile makes the stack look smaller and allows your brain to stay calm}

Grab a Drink and Work

Make sure you have a fruit and a drink beside you while working. This can be coffee but I prefer water because it seems to energize my brain better than any other drink. Move forward working through the pile one project at a time without thinking about the next project. Only allow your mind to focus on what you have in front of you now and not what you have to get done later.

 

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