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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, May 19 2013

There are times in our lives when we need to step back from our day-to-day lives and evaluate what is going on and whether it's time for some change.  We all need to do this from time to time.

There are times when we need to make some changes to perhaps better manage our time, re-purpose a room in our home or grow our businesses.  

When life changes, we need to change with it.  

Are you finding that you have more responsibility these days and you are not getting everything accomplished that you want to?  It might be time to step back and evaluate how you are spending your time.  It might be a matter of re-prioritizing in order to make room for more, while eliminating what is no longer needed.

Do you have a room in your home that was being used for a certain purpose that no longer serves you?  Perhaps that home office in the basement that you no longer work out of or enjoy spending time in needs to be re-purposed into a work-out room instead.  

If you own your own business, as I do, you might need to evaluate where you are and ask yourself where you want to be.  Is what you are doing working for you?  If not, it might be time for a change.

I personally just moved my home office upstairs from my basement into a spare bedroom that was not be used.  It was wasted real estate.  I have now created a new office space that features a large window and lots of natural light.  I purchased brand new office furniture that provides lots of space to spread out and, therefore, I find myself being more productive. 

Aside from that, I am evaluating my current business structure and considering changes that will help me grow my business even more.  I feel a strong need to reach out to more people and am working on ways to make that happen.

For some time I have felt the need to step back and evaluate my personal situation and take the steps necessary to make some changes.  I invite you to do the same. 

Don't become stagnant in your life.  We are always moving forward and with that comes change. 

If you need some assistance in making that happen, perhaps by determining how to repurpose a room in your home to maximize its potential or learning some time management skills to make better use of your time, please feel free to contact me.

I am here to help.


In the meantime, have a great week!





Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:45 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, March 24 2013

More and more people are starting home-based businesses these days.  Did you know that it is expected that there will be more than 20 million home-based business in the United States by the end of 2013? 

I have been in business almost nine years.  I have found that there are some great advantages:

  • I can create a flexible work schedule.  
  • I can control my work environment.
  • I can deduct a portion of my home expenses on my income tax return.
  • I have created a great sense of independence by being my own boss.
  • I focus on doing what I enjoy the most - helping others get organized
  • I find it easier to balance work and personal responsibilities.
  • I have an overall greater level of fulfillment and satisfaction in my life.

However, there are some disadvantages that you need to learn to overcome:

  • It can be difficult to turn work "off" when your workspace and personal space are intertwined.
  • Working from home can be very isolating. 
  • Home-based businesses can cause stress on the family.
  • It can be difficult to grow your business working as a solo-preneur.
  • Depending on the type of business you have, you need to consider if there are zoning regulations you need to explore.

The key to running a successful home-based business is organization, commitment and accountability. 

CREATE A SEPARATE WORKSPACE.  It is critical that you have a separate workspace in your home away from your personal space.  You can use a bedroom, a section in your basement or even change a formal living room into a home office.  Find a location where your work will not interfere with your family life.  At the end of the day, you want to be able to walk away from it.   

YOU MUST GET ORGANIZED!  It can be overwhelming but it is the key to your success.  Create a space where you have everything you need close by to run a successful business.  It is important to know where everything is located at all times.  By doing so, you will stop wasting time.  Adding up all the times throughout the day that you cannot locate something and having to try to find it will make you realize how much time you are wasting.  Being organized with reduce stress.  By doing so, you will enable yourself to think more clearly and make decisions faster. 

SET A SCHEDULE.  One of the biggest transformations that occurs when you start your home-based business is the difficulty in determining your work schedule.  When you work from home, you are not necessarily working 9-5 like you might have in the past.  Your day might be divided into chunks, especially if you have children.  You might work in the morning and then when the children come home from school, you take four or five hours to be a parent.  You will probably need to return to your "office" later that evening and work some more.  If you are in direct sales, you might be doing in-home parties at nights and on weekends.  You might need to attend networking events several nights a week.  You should determine a schedule that best fits your needs for your business and your personal life.

UNPLUG.  Besides closing the door to your office space, you need to unplug.  It is helpful to end your work day by clearing up your desk and writing a "to do" list for the next day.  Otherwise, your mind will race alll through the night with thoughts of what you need or want to do.  You will feel overwhelmed and exhausted.  If you don't take some "me time" at the end of the day, you willl burn out fast.  That will take a toll on your body and in the end, will cost you money.

GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER.  Find someone you can account to on a weekly basis.  Decide what you want to accomplish.  Let them know what you intend to do and the following week you can detail what you did in the past week.  If you get stuck, you can bounce ideas off of them to get your past your obstacle so you can keep moving forward.  Accountability is a powerful tool in growing your business.

When I work with people who have home-based businesses, I focus on paper management, time management and putting in customized systems to maximize potential. 

If you are overwhelmed with the prospect of getting organized when it comes to your home-based business, contact me.  I can help.  I can provide you with a system made just for you and be an accountability partner so you can maximize the potential for growth in your business. 

In the meantime, have a great week!



Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 10:55 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Monday, January 02 2012

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a great holiday season, but now it's time to get down to business.

As a women entrepreneur who began my Professional Organizing business over 7 years ago, I work with many other women entrepreneurs who struggle with time management and paper management in their home offices.  As a result, I pay lots of attention to the struggles with growth and prosperity that entrepreneurs alike contend with. 

There are many habits that can hold us back so I thought I would list some: 

  • Not returning phone calls.
  • Being late for appointments.
  • Not returning emails.
  • Not having a schedule.
  • Not filing important documents.
  • Not saving money or paying yourself first.
  • Failure to understand the law of reciprocity.
  • Handling mail or email more than once.
  • Forwarding nonsense emails.
  • Not scheduling events.
  • Not exercising.
  • Procrastinating.
  • Lack of systems.
  • Not choosing healthy foods.
  • Not drinking enough water.
  • Not taking time to rejuvenate.
  • Watching meaningless television.
  • Failure to invest in personal development.
  • Failure to listen.
  • Trying to be perfect.
  • Waiting for the right moment.
  • Failure to budget.
  • Lacking or not providing sufficient or efficient communication.
  • Having a messy or disorganized workspace or home.
  • Unprofessional voice mail.
  • Not having a dedicated workspace.
  • Not having a business card.

Which of these apply to you?  Choose two or three habits at a time and replace them with good ones. 

If you need help with time management, paper management, or organizing your messy and disorganized workspace or home, contact me.  I can help.

In the meantime, have a wonderful week!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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