Tips for Working from a Home-Based Office

The current issue of Treasure Coast Parenting features an article I wrote about the “Top 10 Tips for Working from a Home-Based Office” . Read this article on page 36-37 of the magazine to learn how you can be productive and effective when working at home.

10 Tips for Balancing Work & Family Life

Read this article in the May issue of Treasure Coast Parenting to learn tips you can use in your own life to gain more balance.

Can We Really Have it All?

Restore Balance

With an added flurry of activities to complete in preparation for the holiday season, it’s vitally important that you continually and consciously restore your sense of balance.

Here are a few places to start:

  • Set Realistic Goals – Establish goals for yourself based on your key priorities. For example, if being physically fit is highly important to you, then create an exercise plan and schedule time daily to honor it. Be sure your goals are positively-based (e.g., to be strong and healthy) vs. negatively-based (e.g., to lose 30 pounts). Avoid being all things to all people!
  • Minimize the Clutter  – Unfortunately, most of us have clutter some where in our lives, either in our office, our car, at home, or in our head!  Manage that clutter so that it doesn’t accumulate. Filter what comes in to your spaces.  Being in a clean, clutter-free zone will provide you with a sense of peace and the feeling of having some control over at least part of your environment. 
  • Detach regularly – Allow yourself some time to disconnect from the demands of work.  Avoid checking email, texts, instant messages at least every once in a while to give yourself a break and to differentiate the important from the urgent.
  • Set stronger boundaries – One of the most important things you can do to preserve your health and well-being while minimizing stress and overwhelm is to say “no” to demands placed upon you.  Realize that you don’t need to accept every invitiation, assignment, project, etc. offered to you.
  • Ask for help – Rather than suffering in silence, anger or frustration speak up and ask for help. Very often, famiy members, friends, neighbors or co-workers would be thrilled to help if they only knew you needed it. Anticipate whenever possible, so that you have help readily available before you have a meltdown!

Turn it OFF!

That’s right…turn off your cell phone, pager, PDA and other electronic communication devices for the next 60 minutes!  Don’t just put them on vibrate or silent mode but turn them off (as if the battery died). During this period, fully concentrate on whatever task you have at hand. Give yourself the opportunity to perform at your best! Although you may feel some anxiety (or withdrawal) see how it affects your productivity. Let me know the difference!!

Reality Hits the Road

You may have had some sort of training along the way that helped lead you to your success, organizing, time management, goal-setting, right?

This isn’t about the basic time management skills or stress management 101.  Take those principles you’ve learned like, (Covey’s) four quadrants, (Morgenstern’s) categorizing using the A, B, C’s for your task priorities, (Allen’s) integrated system of stress-free productivity and put them to the reality test.

What happens?

Unfortunately, many of these outstanding systems don’t work. Not because they’re not effective systems, but because people don’t fully implement them. Then, they give us and resort to their old ways, sometimes thinking that their situation is hopeless.

For instance, you start your day with a list or framework of what you are going to accomplish. You know what’s most important, you know what decisions need to be made but then, unfortunately, reality hits the road—

…the phone rings endlessly, the system goes down, your boss has a crisis that needs your immediate attention, you have some irate customers, a colleague plants themselves in the corner chair in your office to talk about her personal issues, you get an urgent message from the school that one of your kids has gotten hurt, etc.

The problem isn’t about managing time; it’s about managing all these interruptions. These distract you from accomplishing what you set out to do each day and if you don’t re-prioritize on a dime, ask questions to clarify importance and timeline, focus on what’s most important, delegate, be flexible (to a point), block out distractions, and say “no” when appropriate you may increase your stress, decrease your productivity and feel dissatisfied in what you’re able to accomplish on any given day.

Effectively Saying “NO”

In all the years I’ve been operating my own business (since 1997) one thing that’s been a consistent challenge for my coaching clients and audiences is saying no. I recently presented an updated program on Boundary-Setting and, of course, once again we tackled the issues around saying no. As a result, I’ve revised an article I was working on so that I can share it with audience members. Here I share part of it with you. If you’d like the complete article, please email me at and ask for the “Saying No” article.

Saying “no” enables you to say “yes” to what matters most in your life.

“No” is one the most powerful two-letter words in the English language! However, saying “no” doesn’t come naturally for most people. We are conditioned to say “yes”, be agreeable and easy to work with.

If you’re one of those people who normally says “yes” when asked to do something or take responsibility for a new work project, sit on another school or church committee, become scout leader, be the baseball coach, or bake cookies for the local fundraiser or anything that will likely require more time than you realistically have available, than you need to first understand why you are prone to say yes so quickly and then learn more effective ways to say no.

We typically say yes because we:
…are afraid to say no;
…want to be liked;
…need to feel accepted;
…desire to please others;
…don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings;
…feel guilty when we say no;
…believe we can “do it all”.

If any of the reasons above describe you, saying no will undoubtedly make you feel uncomfortable or inadequate. There may be other reasons in addition to those listed, so be sure to recognize what prompts you to say yes, or avoid saying no. When you begin feeling totally overwhelmed, exhausted, resentful, and taken advantage of your attitude and productivity will likely suffer. If your life is overrun with responsibilities, jobs and commitments there’s little time left for your own tasks, fun and relaxation. One way to pare down your schedule is to get good at saying no to new commitments.

If you want more than ten super techniques to help you say no, remember to email me at!

Saying no helps reduce stress levels and gives you time for what’s really important. Even though it may be difficult, at some point you need to stand your own ground and look out for yourself, because no one else is going to look out for you if you don’t! Regardless of why you choose to say no, the keys to declining requests include:
+ maintain eye contact;
+ be firm, honest direct and convincing;
+ keep your explanation simple and succinct;
+ use a sympathetic but firm tone;
+ repeat your statement, change the subject or walk away, if necessary;
+ and, avoid making excuses (especially lengthy ones!).

Set Better Boundaries

At a presentation I did this week for Novartis Consumer Products, I helped the participants recognize where their boundaries are weak or non-existent. Establishing boundaries empowers you to create more self-respect as well as respect from others.

Sometimes boundaries are hard to set with others because we want to be liked, be considered open and friendly, and we fear repercussions. However, people who fail to set and maintain boundaries in their life and work often find that it’s much harder to meet their own needs, and to prevent others from imposing their needs onto them.

Send for a free article: Establishing Boundaries that Honor You by sending an email to Please indicate Boundaries in the subject line.

Untie from Technology

Those who are tied to their technology so that they can respond immediately to anyone reaching out to them need to better understand what this behavior is costing them…

Are you someone who almost always immediately replies to every phone call, text message or email so that you can demonstrate just how committed you are to your work and family? Do you often provide an immediate response for work-related items while getting around to family, friends and personal matters when you have the chance? Or, do you respond immediately to your family while putting off work-related contacts?

Having the habit of responding immediately, whether for everyone, or for just work or personal matters is unhealthy. Many are fooled to believe that when they respond immediately to work-related matters they are demonstrating their commitment to their job. However, are they? And, does this level of availability really measure true commitment?

Commitment is not synonymous with being constantly available! Operating as if it is contributes to higher stress levels and lower life satisfaction levels. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter by sending a blank email to to learn more about this and gain some valuable tips.

The advances in modern technology have created a common distorted view of expectations. Commitment to your job in too many cases has become equated with being constantly available. However, just because you can be constantly accessible and responsive doesn’t necessarily mean you should be available 24/7.

How can I carve out some “me” time?

I went back through some expert contributions I’ve made at some other sites and found this still relevant question from a mom who is challenged carving out some time for herself. Every SuperBusy Parent needs to understand the importance of “me” time and of sharing the responsibilities at home so that both partners have some valuable time for themselves. Feel free to add your comments at

How can I carve out some me-time?

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Also, read our latest e-newsletter for tips about getting solo time.