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Monday, January 26 2015

Whether you work from home because you have a home-based business or because your employer provides you with the ability to work from home either full-time or part-time, doing so can be a challenge.  

When I am not working with my clients in their homes, I work in my home office.  I have a large window that lets in a lot of natural light and a large space in which to spread out to work and places for all of my paperwork, office supplies and other needs in order to run my business.

It can be challenging at times to work from home for many people.  One of the biggest challenges is staying focused.  

Do you find that you daydream?  It is more easy to do when you work alone.  There is something interesting that happens when you work with others or have a boss overseeing how you are spending your time.  That accountability factor can go a long way.  So, what do you do when you are working from home and need to be accountable for yourself?  

You might be very productive and get things done but it is very easy for your energies to be directed at other things you should not be doing. When in your home, it is easy to spend time thinking about the things that need to get done in the home such a laundry, dirty dishes in the sink, phone calls you need to make or meal preparation.  If you are on the computer, you might get a signal every time you get an email, you are curious about what is happening on Facebook or you decide you need to purchase something on line.  

Here are some tips to help you stay more focused and keep your attention where it needs to be:  

1. If at all possible, take care of distractions before working.  If you need to get some laundry done or clean up the dishes in the sink, do it before you start to work.  If you are distracted by what you need to do around the house, do them ahead of time so you can avoid these distractions.  

2. Determine your best hours to work.  Some people are at their best early in the morning.  Some are better later at night.  I am most productive mid-day.  I admittedly am not a morning person.  I structure my business based on when my energy is at it's peak so I can be the best I can be during that time.  Knowing when you are most productive and clear-headed goes a long way in helping you focus on the work you need to get done.  If you are not sure, take a week or so and track what you do over the course of a day and when you get the most done.  Then, structure your day around the times when you are the most productive, if possible.

3. Work at a table or desk.  This might not seem important, but it is.  It is too easy to get too comfortable when you are sitting on the couch. Being near a television can be very tempting too.  You might find that you can get things done, but sitting in a sturdy chair at an organized desk or table away from distractions will enable you to take your tasks more seriously.  Be sure to work in a place that feels like you should be doing work there.   

4. Have a to-do list.  One of the things I do at the end of each work day is to prepare a to-do list for the following day.  I keep it visible during the day and refer to it often.  It's important to learn to prioritize your list so it is not too long and unreasonable to complete.  Set time limits on how long to spend on each task to stay on target and create deadlines for more involved tasks. Having a list prepared ahead of time will help you have a clear picture of what you will set out to accomplish each day.

5. Take a break.  It is very important to get up out of your chair throughout the day.  Every hour or so you should get up and stretch or walk around.  You will come back to your work space refreshed and ready to continue with your work day.  

Working from home has many rewards but it can also create some challenges.  Creating a plan of action that fits your personality and work-style will help you face the challenges, put your distractions aside and maintain focus throughout the day.  

If you are transitioning from an off-site work environment to a home-based work environment, I can help you create a customized plan of action that meets your specific needs for time and production.  

As always, I am here to help.

Now, get back to work!  :) 


Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 01:06 pm   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, January 18 2015

Usually it is fairly easy to get rid of certain types of clutter:  food storage containers with missing lids, broken items that you don't intend to repair, clothing that has not been worn in years, etc.  

However, when it comes to items that you have inherited, that can be another story.  

The rule of thumb is that you don't need to keep something just because it belonged to a beloved relative.  If it's something you don't like and don't use, and you've stored it in the back of a closet, in your garage, basement, or anywhere else (including a off-site storage unit) for years, it's not serving anyone.  If it is sitting on a shelf, a table or any other flat surface and collecting dust, you are not honoring that possession and it should go elsewhere.   

Are you really honoring the memory of that person if the item is not being used? It's much better to get the item back into use, even if the person using it is not you.  Keep in mind that your relative's intention was not to burden you with their things.  They want you to enjoy the item.

This is similar to what I call "gift guilt".  We believe that if someone gives us something, we have to keep it.  Not true!  If you don't like something that they gave you, either return it to the store where it was purchased or pass it on to someone else who will make use of it.  Perhaps another family member would appreciate having the inherited item.  Perhaps you can sell it and use the money for something you want.  Give that item a whole new life by passing it on to someone else who can make it part of their home.  

If you want to remember the item, take a picture of it before you pass it on.  It will take up a lot less room that way.  

I have worked with numerous clients over the years who were holding onto furniture, jewelry, dishes, handkerchiefs and knick knacks because they were given to them.

My theory is that the point of holding onto items that you have inherited is to remember the person. Having 100 handkerchiefs in a container that you never open and look at is not necessary in order remember them.  I think that keeping a few items or collectibles makes more sense if they are special to you.  If you hold onto all of them, just because, I do not believe you are honoring them in the way you should.     

Sometimes, we are holding onto items that we have inherited from our adult children because they moved out of the home and left them behind or they do not have enough room to store the items where they live.  I have seen this happen time and again and the items end up staying where they are and not being used.  This is another form of inheritance, by default.  

If the items are taking up space that you want for another purpose and you have the items for a long time, you might decide it's time for a change.  Send pictures of the items to that person and let them know you will donating any items they don't specifically tell you they want.  Be sure to include a deadline in the not-too-distant future for responding to you.  Set a deadline for them to pick up the items or when you intend to have them mailed or shipped to them. 

Setting deadlines to accomplish this is vital to your success.  

Remember, your home is not a storage unit for others.  Honor your home by creating an environment that is condusive to your style of living and that brings you joy.  Do not inherit clutter!

If you are overwhelmed and need help deciding what to keep, what to toss and what to donate or sell, contact me.  I am here to help.  

In the meantime, have a great week! 

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 11:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, January 06 2015

As we all know, the New Year is a time to renew and refresh.  

Let me ask you something.  How long have you been living in your home?  When was the last time you looked around and "re-evaluated" your real estate"?  

What do I mean by that?  

I find that so many people live in their homes for years, and although their circumstances might change, their home does not reflect those changes.  

For example:  Have your children grown up and their bedroom is stuck in a time warp from when they were little kids?  Have your children gone off to college and left their bedroom unused?  Have you started a home-based business and have not created a home office space to work out of?  Have you been widowed or divorced and the remnants of that person still remain untouched in your home?  Have you wanted to create a gym in your home but instead have an unused space in your basement?

It is very easy to go from day to day, week to week, month to month and year to year without making changes to our home.

I find that to be a waste of real estate.  You are paying a mortgage on a home you are not making the best use of.  That does not make any sense to me.

Last year I moved my home office from an area in the basement to a second floor bedroom that was unoccupied for some time following my divorce.  I now have much more room and have a large window which provides great natural light.  I am so much happier!   I feel I made much better use of my real estate by doing this.

Do yourself a favor.  Re-evaluate your real estate. Take some time to walk around your home (physically, not just mentally) and take a look at all of the rooms in your home and ask yourself whether they are being put to the best use.  What changes could you make to better maximize the space you have?  

If you are not sure, feel free to contact me.  I have helped my clients over the years transform under-utilized spaces into rooms they can make better use of and enjoy at the same time.  By being in a space, I have the ability to visual it's potential and make suggestions for how to best utilize it.  

Make your place A Better Space!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:00 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
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