With more and more start up businesses trying to keep costs down, many people are working from home whether it is turning a bedroom into a home office or using the kitchen table.
Working from home can be distracting – from a family member coming in and asking if you would like a cup of tea to wondering if you should rescue the clothes from the line as the clouds darken!
The to-do list can seem never-ending and the feelings of achievement never live up to their potential as the list doesn’t diminish. Some people use techniques such as Pomodoro (slots of 25 minutes) to ensure they are not distracted and remain on task.
This bloggertone post may raise my profile, it may inform others about my business but it is unlikely to generate income for me today or tomorrow, hence I must ensure that other tasks completed today produce revenue that will deliver in the short term. For example, sending press releases takes time and will indirectly lead to income in the future, an important task that needs to be completed but you also need to be factoring in tasks that bring in money this month. One of the beauties of working from home is that you don’t have to work 9-5 every day.
Lorna Sixsmith is a social media trainer at Write on Track, providing mentoring, training and content creation services to SMEs. Married to a dairy farmer in SE Ireland, Lorna recently self published her first book 'Would You Marry A Farmer?', a humourous look at life married to an Irish farmer. I start my day with a lovely walk so that is like my commute or it would just be from bed to shower to laptop which isn’t good. One major drawback for me is that if there is work that needs to be done I find it hard not to do it in the evenings or weekends when I could really put it off until the next day. I recently started using a flylady tip that I read on a blog post where you give yourself a set time to do a cleaning task so I was doing it with the kids when tidying their rooms etc, ie 7 minutes to pick up all the tractors etc, 7 minutes to change the bedlinen – and was finding that it was taking longer than 7 minutes for those tasks too!
Hi Lorna, thanks for sharing your experience and this is definitely an area where I can improve greatly.
Don’t forget to celebrate those achievements and reward yourself – be it making a large sale, landing a good contract, achieving some press coverage or finishing a task you dislike. I have worked out my home office for several years and I like a number of the insights in this article , particularly the closed list and priorities comments. I you are looking for painting in Toronto then don’t go any where just make a call to women painting. I like using topic-specific forums, which you can find using Google, but you can interact with members and often get very detailed information.
This means that the speaker needs to shift from using the normal conversational skills where both parties are offering micro-signals of approval to public speaking skills where the speaker needs to STOP looking for those clues.
And just sometimes, it means simply putting yourself in that position to stand up there, and then realise it’s not so bad, afterall. Best wishes Sian, perhaps a local toastmasters may be an opportunity to get over that initial hurdle! I smiled at your comment about the nodding and smiling person – I have been guilty of that, especially in the early days.
Although there is a local group in my area, I have never joined, due to the nature of my work.
Thank you for reading the most and making that recommendation, I very much appreciate your input! Successful bloggers enoy discussing their blogs’ topics from all angles and appreciate a healthy debate. At the end of a sufficient period of time, at least one week, evaluate the way you are spending your time each day. Most importantly, do not allow your schedule to become cluttered with activities and events that are not important to you. However, keeping your productivity and focus high while working at home can be a challenge for many of us as working from home can hold many distractions. Try to check your inbox at regular slots during the day but not too often as it just eats into your time.
You should be focusing on those tasks that produce revenue – some tasks will produce revenue by a nearby date whereas others will be in the future.
Getting  out into the open for a walk as early as possible helps to set the body clock and awaken the senses, thus preparing you for a more productive working day. Particularly passionate about blogging and Pinterest, Lorna also teaches these courses online at We Teach Social.

What’s happening is that the listeners have simply moved from being active listeners to passive listeners. Indeed, when I am training, or facilitating especially, I much prefer to sit also, as it does indeed break down certain barriers. There is a new event series in Dublin called Speaking suppers where you can practise speaking or just go and watch whilst supping. No matter what you do, you cannot make more time in your day or “find” time to fit in everything you want to do.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, or if at the end of the day you feel as if you have accomplished nothing and still have that same stack of paperwork in front of you, chances are you are letting valuable time slip through your fingers. If you want to accomplish the maximum amount of work in a given time, there is absolutely no substitute for prioritizing.
If you are constantly bombarded with telephone calls, voice mail messages, e-mail correspondence or questions from co-workers, it is a good idea to compartmentalize these tasks so that they do not interrupt your work flow each day. For example, if you are going to set aside time to volunteer for something, make sure it is for the right reasons, because the charity or organization is something you believe in strongly.
As someone who has worked from home for the last four years, I’d like to share some tips that I find work for me.
If it needs 15 minutes longer than I originally thought, then it may be more beneficial to finish it off rather than moving to the next task and coming back to it later. One thing it helped me with was being more realistic with my time as I was constantly feeling I wasn’t achieving anything simply because I expected way too much from myself. Some things that have worked for me have been (1) getting a timer and setting time deadlines on projects throughout the day and (2) designating a regular time for Happy Hour each evening so that I step away from the computer. Most of the sites that you’ve mentioned really gives a lot of informative topics you  want especially Google which most of us are using when we look for great contents and other searches, just like your website where It appear on the first page of Google. As an audience member they don’t have to look after the speaker like they would in a normal conversation.
I started to notice how uncomfortable people were, so switched to sitting down and chatted to them like a collaborative group. The next Q is WIFM (What’s in it for ME) – also vitally important because if we do not know why we are there, well then all bets are off! One important point to remember is that no matter what, you CANNOT become one of them, as they need you to be masterful and lead (if only even a little). I suspect there will be more such gatherings to help those who break out in a cold sweat each time. Everybody experiences writers block every now and then and knowing how to kind your muse, your inspiration and your subject is crucial.
Why, then, does it seem that some professionals are able to accomplish so much more during the day, while others are constantly frantic, scurrying to meet last minute deadlines? If you are regularly spending 15 minutes or more looking for a document that you know was “just right here a few minutes ago,” then it is time to take a close look at your organization system. Set aside a specific time each day to respond to all phone messages, rather than answering them in a scattered fashion throughout the day.
Take a good look at what you do each day, again utilizing the time evaluation calendar you created. If co-workers know that you will drop whatever you are doing to help them, then they will take advantage of that. That’s also a great idea you highlight on getting out first thing in the morning – make a huge difference and really gets you going for the day! If you find yourself wondering at the end of each day where your time went, here are some tips to help you recapture that lost time, accomplish more and breathe easier.
Purchase a special appointment calendar to use just for this project, one that provides sufficient space to keep detailed track of your appointments each day, from first thing in the morning until evening. Are you wasting time checking e-mail or voice mail numerous times throughout the day, when checking once or twice a day would be sufficient? Set aside time each morning, or perhaps the evening before, to list each and every task you want to accomplish for the day. Check voice mail and e-mail at set intervals, rather than doing so whenever it seems more fun than the task at hand.

How much of what you do could be done more efficiently, and perhaps better, by someone else on your staff? Do not tie up large amounts of your time doing things because they are expected of you, or because you have trouble saying no, or because you feel obligated. You might of course get one person who is nodding and smiling – the danger with that is that you spend all your time with that person. Obviously this tactic doesn’t work with large audiences, but it does highlight that mindset and approach are key.
Then, for a week or so, write down in this calendar each and every little thing you do throughout each day. Depending on your circumstances and responsibilities, you may be able to limit yourself to checking e-mail and voice mail once in the morning, once after lunch and once at the end of the day. If you learn to love blank faces then you can include and connect with all of your audience – even the ones with grumpy faces.
Organization is simply a matter of creating a system for processing paperwork, a system that works for you.
For example, if you spend one hour checking and responding to e-mail correspondence from 8 a.m. Then, take a few minutes to re-write your list neatly, starting with the number one most important task and continuing in number order. During that time, have all but the most urgent telephone calls transferred to your voice mail and notify co-workers that you are not to be interrupted except in the event of an emergency. When someone interrupts you, let them know that you are otherwise occupied and will not be able to help them, or that you will help them later, when it is more convenient for you.
Perhaps you can set aside a block of time each day where you will work undisturbed and allow all non-urgent calls to be transferred to voice mail. When you are ready to begin work for the day, start working on item number one and do not stop working on that task until it is complete. You may be surprised to find that there is someone else on your staff who is better suited to a particular task than you are, or who enjoys doing something that you find nothing but a boring waste of time. Become comfortable with the idea of taking time for yourself, whether that means locking your office door so you can get an important project finished or letting the answering machine pick up at home so you can take a few minutes to unwind after a busy day. In fact, you will find that, as you begin to set boundaries and learn to say no, you will feel empowered, in control and more alive. Do you find yourself procrastinating or going back and forth between several projects, never really accomplishing much on any of them? Successful business people surround themselves with a staff made up of competent people whom they trust. Let your staff help make your business a success and, in the process, give them a chance to shine. Make sure that you have separate file folders for each separate project, as well as for forms, inner-office memoranda, personnel documentation and the like. Once you have completed item number one, cross it off your list move on to item number two and stay with that task until it is complete.
By the end of the week, you should be getting a clear picture of exactly where your time is really going. At the end of the day, you may not have completed every item on your list, but you will have completed the most important items and, by staying on task, will have accomplished the maximum amount of work possible in the given time.
The next day, move the remaining items from the previous day’s list onto your new list and add any new items that have come up. You will be amazed at the amount of work you are able to complete each day utilizing this simple method.

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