A Remote Worker’s Guide to Balancing Home and Work

Regardless if you do remote work and punch a clock or if you’re a business owner that works from home, balancing your home and career can be a challenge. As a remote worker, how do you allocate your time between personal and professional responsibilities? How can you focus on conference calls when you’re surrounded by dirty laundry?

Learn how to set priorities and reduce distractions whether you’re new to remote work or you moved out of your cubicle years ago. Use these tips for staying peaceful and productive when you work from home.

Steps to Take by Yourself:

  1. Follow a schedule. Set a start and end time for your day. Tackle your most challenging tasks during the hours when you’re at your peak. When it’s time to quit for the day, leave your job behind.
  2. Design an office. Designate a separate space for business. It could be a whole room or a corner in your dining room. Decorate your space with pictures, art, and objects that you find inspirational and uplifting.
  3. Change clothes. You may not want to wear a suit and tie but changing out of your pajamas will help you to feel more professional. Hang up your bathrobe and get dressed each morning.
  4. Limit distractions. Do you waste time watching TV or checking social media? Ban leisure activities during business hours except during break times.
  5. Take breaks. Speaking of breaks, take them. You’ll be more productive if you refresh your mind and body periodically.
  6. Wind down. Do something at the end of each day to help you transition into an off-duty mindset. You might listen to classical music or take a walk in the park.
  7. Get organized. Create routines and systems that encourage efficiency. Buy a cabinet for your office supplies. Use an online calendar to block out your time.
  8. Continue learning. Career development matters whether you work at your dining room table or in a corner office. Take a course online or order a catalog for the adult education program at a local university. Read industry publications and general business news. Check out our blog for ideas on how to continue learning!
  9. Evaluate your performance. Conduct your own job evaluations. Look for ways to increase quality, save time, and manage stress. Update your strategy as your goals evolve.

Steps to Take with Your Family, Friends, and Colleagues:

  1. Talk with your boss or family. It will be easier to balance your life when you and your boss/family agree on overall expectations. Negotiate the flexibility you need to succeed.
  2. Post your hours. Ensure your boss, coworkers, and family members know the hours that you’re available. Discuss arrangements for how to deal with emergencies that occur outside of those times.
  3. Go out for lunch. Your midday meal is a daily opportunity to stay connected while you work at home. Plan a weekly date at a local cafe to catch up with your office friends or other employees who work from home. If you’re unable to meet in person, schedule it as a video chat so you can still enjoy the socialization that you miss with remote work.
  4. Remain visible. Make business lunches and other events part of your strategy for cultivating your network. Show up at the office (or in the video chats) on a regular basis for staff meetings, birthday parties, and other gatherings (if you don’t have those types of gatherings at your work, suggest them!) Volunteer at the local chapter of your professional association.
  5. Pull together. A strong support network helps you to build your confidence and accomplish more. Ask your family and friends for the emotional and practical assistance you need. Let them know how much you appreciate them and pitch in when they need a hand too.

You don’t have to give up life balance when you give up your commute. Enjoy more health and happiness by drawing sensible boundaries between your personal and professional activities.

Do you have any other tips for creating a happier remote work environment?

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Entrepreneurs: 3 Crucial Questions That Can Increase Your Profits

A high percentage of people who opt to run their own business find themselves working longer hours for less money than the job they worked so hard to escape from. That’s not all bad news, though, because they at least have the freedom that they craved. They don’t have to answer to anyone. But is that all there is? Isn’t there a way to have that AND increase your profits?

It Could All Be So Different

If you started a business of your own, and within a year it was making twice the salary of your current job, you would be pretty happy, right? But what if, in addition to that, you were only working half the hours of your current job?

So, now you’re working half the hours for twice the pay. Nobody is telling you what to do. Plus, there’s no commute. How would that feel to you? Pretty good, right? How would that go down in your social circle? Do you think your friends would be a little envious?

You would have time to take your kids to school, learn new skills, get in shape, make new plans, and the money to fund them. THAT is what most people would call a fantastic business!

Most people would find this a very attractive proposition. But is it possible? Of course, it’s possible! Thousands of people are already doing exactly that and more, and so can you.

How Can I Do Better?

If you want greater profits from your business, it’s important to perform regular and specific reviews of all aspects of your business.

You’ll want to know what’s working, what’s working the best, and how you can do more of that.

You’ll want to figure out what’s not working, too, so you can determine why that doesn’t work or how you could improve or replace your process. If neither is possible, just stop doing that.

Finally, ask yourself the question, “How can I do better?”

Albert Einstein once said, “It’s impossible to solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it.” So, you might need some help on this one. Your best resource is to talk with someone who has faced these issues before and found effective solutions for them. Click here to contact us now – we would love to help you hash out these issues.

True entrepreneurs never waste time or energy re-inventing the wheel. They just go and talk with the guy who created the wheel in the first place.

Here’s a tip that seasoned business owners use:

When reviewing business strategies, most people come from the “What’s wrong and how can I fix it” perspective.

Here’s a better idea:

Start from “What’s right about this issue?” When you come from a positive perspective, your creativity for problem-solving is switched on and in alignment before your start.

This creativity could very well transform your business from a good business into a fantastic business!

Let’s look at how.

The Five Right Questions

Asking yourself these questions will lead you to the answers you seek:

  1. What’s right about this issue/situation/strategy? Get clarity on the task at hand.
  2. What makes it right? Get specific. What is it about those things that make it an effective process for this situation?
  3. What would be ideal? Get creative. What would be the absolute ideal strategy/solution for this issue?
  4. What’s missing that could bring about the ideal situation? Get resourceful. What do we need to find, create, add, or invent to reach this ideal?
  5. What will it take to put in what’s missing, so we can bring about the ideal? Get busy. What is it going to take to make this issue/strategy/situation ideal?

Using the “What’s right?” perspective will, over time, change your complete mindset for everything – not just your business, but your personal and family life, too. Just think of how many conflicts occur each day in the home where the words “What’s wrong” describe their mindset.

Try it yourself the very next time a conflict shows up in your life and see how different your whole attitude becomes immediately.

30 Day Reviews

It would be good business practice to sit down every 30 days and review the answers to these questions:

  1. What action did I take this month to support my business?
  2. What action did I take this month to grow my business?
  3. What action did I take this month to improve my effectiveness?
  4. What action did I take this month to improve my efficiency?
  5. What specific results have I created this month through my efforts?
  6. How can I do better next month?

Onward and Upward

The truth is, the more decisions you make, and the more action you take, the more efficient you become. And the more efficient you become, the better results you’ll create. Plus, it will take you progressively less time to achieve those results!

This is why seeking the advice of seasoned professionals is a key strategy in creating a fantastic business! Talk to fellow entrepreneurs and ask for their advice.

The really smart ones will suggest you hire a Coach. All the most seasoned entrepreneurs have at least one Coach. Ask for a referral if you can.

A Coach can help you make profitable decisions, take effective actions, and streamline your thinking. It’s like having a business partner that you don’t have to split the profits with. Or having a high-value employee without having to pay for taxes and medical benefits. It will save you more money than it costs!

So, making greater profits in your business comes down to these important questions: What’s working? What’s not? How can I do better? Answer these on a regular basis and reap the benefits!

We would love to know the answers to those questions in your own business: what’s working? what’s not? how can I do better?

Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.

11 Quick Tips to Add Hours to Your Day and Be More Productive

As business owners, we’re all stretched for time. You can’t wave a magic wand and make the day longer. But there are things you can do to save time. And there are things you can do to maximize what you accomplish with your time. In essence, you can add hours to your day.

This will require a change in your habits, but many of these strategies are self-rewarding. Once you see the benefits to be gained, you’ll be motivated to continue.

Follow these tips to add hours to your day and accomplish more:

  1. Put things away when you’re done with them. Rather than creating clutter that gets in your way and is emotionally distracting, put things away when you’re done using them. Tell yourself that a task isn’t complete until everything is picked up.
  2. Do easy things during your least productive hours. Everyone has a time of day when their physical or mental energy is low. Schedule easy tasks during these times. It can be a good time to read emails, file papers, or tidy up.
  3. Do your most challenging tasks during your most productive hours. Likewise, you have a time of day when your focus and energy are high. Do your most challenging tasks during this time.
  4. Reduce the amount of time spent on low-value activities. You might be surprised by how much time you spend watching TV, surfing the internet, or texting friends. Putting this time to better use can easily add a few hours of productive time for most people.
  5. Batch your activities. Answer all of your emails at once. Pay all of your bills twice a month. Remember that it takes time to switch tasks and regain your focus.
  6. Make use of waiting time. If you’re stuck in traffic, make your phone calls. If you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, deal with your email. Waiting for your child to get dressed? Clean up the kitchen.
  7. Track your time. The average person has little idea about how they spend their time. Track how you spend your time for a week. Every 30 minutes record how you spent the last half-hour. Divide your activities into different categories and see how much time you spend on each.
  8. Get help. Ask for help at work. Give your spouse or children some tasks to do at home. Is your mother constantly asking you if she can help? Give her something to do.
    • Hire someone to mow your grass.
    • Hire a cleaning service.
    • Buy your groceries online and have them delivered.
    • Pay someone to run your errands.
  9. Schedule your day. Make the most of each day by making a schedule and sticking to it. Decide the most important tasks that need to be done and do those. You’ll waste less time and add hours to your day.
  10. Go to bed earlier. Most people don’t accomplish a lot in the evening. Shorten your evening by going to bed earlier. Then, you can add hours to your morning by getting up earlier. There are very few high-achievers that don’t get up early every day.
  11. Eliminate distractions. Turn off your phone. Use white noise to drown out distracting sounds. Close all of your computer windows and tabs other than what is needed. If you can get more accomplished each hour, you’re adding hours to your day.

The length of a day is fixed. After sleeping, there are a finite number of hours left. You can’t make the day longer, but you can get more out of each day. Get as much out of each day as you can. The more effective you are at using your time, the more success and free time you’ll enjoy.

Do you have any other tips for stretching the hours in the day?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.