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Working From Home by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker

Choosing a Practical Office Desk

Your desk will undoubtedly be the largest piece of furniture in the room, and is often the first and most expensive purchase. But before you spend a lot of money on a desk, give some thought to the practical aspects of what you really need a desk to do. Storage considerations No matter how sleek and fashionable an office may look furnished with a table (instead of a desk with drawers), if you plan to do real work in your office, get a desk with drawers. In most cases, a table will prove to be extremely impractical in the long run. You'll find that you need and want drawers to house supplies and important files. If your desk doesn't have drawers, your supplies and paperwork have no place to go...


posted on: 10/3/2011 10:28:15 AM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Make Your Workspace Work for You

If you're going to work at home, rather than just be at home, you need to create an environment that will allow you to operate in a business-like manner.

There is no one "correct" way to set up your workspace. An organized office does not have to mean a desk with nothing on it and all paperwork hidden away in drawers with alphabetized files. If you forget about things unless you see them this clearly would not work for you. Instead, you should have project folders in an organizer on top of your desk...


posted on: 9/6/2011 3:03:44 PM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Round Up Resources

When you work for yourself, by yourself, the demands on your time are overwhelming. You simply can't do everything you want to, or even need to do. As your business grows, this becomes more and more of a problem. However, many solo professionals want to remain solo and don't want to take on the responsibilities and expense of employees. What then? Get help You don't have to do everything yourself. In fact, you probably shouldn't. The simplest way to maintain your solo status while still growing your company is to have a great network of expert resources. There are some tasks that will save you time, energy and money if they're handled by a freelancer or independent contractor. Administrative tasks,...


posted on: 8/1/2011 12:55:03 PM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Processing Paper

"Processing" paper means deciding what to do with it. If you don't make a decision as about what to do with piece of paper, clutter is the result. Therefore, it's important to have an easy process for making decisions. Use my two favorite checklists below to help you decide what to do with your paper. The first, the "A-SORT – Keep or Toss" checklist, provides very specific criteria to decide which papers should be kept or tossed. The second, the "5-D – Next Action" checklist is for deciding the next action you should take with a given piece of paper. Using these two guidelines will make short work of processing paper whether it's just arrived or has been in your files for a long time. 1.  The...


posted on: 7/5/2011 3:13:06 PM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Deal With Distractions

„Y Deal with distractions When working alone, and with no one keeping an eye on us, it¡¦s sometimes difficult to stay on task. As much as we try, sometimes our attention wanders. Then there are the distractions all around us. Here¡¦s a list of common distractions to watch out for and what you can do to deal with them.  
1. Email
o Turn off that new message alert. It¡¦s just too tempting to see what¡¦s just come in. o Keep your email program closed until you¡¦re ready to process your inbox. Then go through your emails quickly as suggested in Prevail over Email until you¡¦ve responded to the 2-minute ones and scheduled the more complex ones. You won¡¦t have a huge list sitting...


posted on: 6/14/2011 1:59:17 PM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Breaking through the 'Procrastination Barrier'

Whatever the reasons, procrastination threatens to overtake the work-from-home professional who is not on guard. Here are a few strategies you can use to fight back. When the task is overwhelming…   ¨       Break it up.   Deconstruct large projects into smaller steps.Large jobs can seem overpowering and tempting to put off. But a series of small jobs done over time are more manageable. Identify the small pieces that make up the larger whole and build them into your schedule at a pace that will meet your deadline. Once it's clear just what specific tasks you need to do—and when and how you'll be able to do them—you'll be...


posted on: 5/23/2011 11:42:54 AM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Find Files Faster with these Filing Tips

So much of our work is done on computer these days that it's worth a bit of effort to keep your systems organized and streamlined. If you save even a few moments each time you access a record or return to a document, over the course of a day it adds up. Over a week, you could save enough time to knock off work an hour early! The following filing tips will save you time and trouble when dealing with your computer files: Corral bookmarks/favorites into categories. It's so easy to bookmark interesting websites that soon you can end up with an unmanageable list dozens of items long! Categorize your favorite sites so you can see what you have. Find files faster. While search functions can help...


posted on: 5/22/2011 9:00:00 AM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Prevent Procrastination

I prefer the term "creative delay" to "procrastination." It involves dreaming up the most elaborate and unlikely way of doing something, so that by the time the scheme is worked out to the smallest detail, it's too late to start. With no boss or set schedule, it's very easy for work-from-home professionals to just never get around to tasks they don't want to do—or are afraid they won't do right. Everyone procrastinates to some degree, but when you own your own business, a procrastination habit can be destructive and self-defeating. Some of the very things you love about working from home—no boss and no set schedule—can keep you from being successful. In general, procrastination creeps in when a task is: ¨...


posted on: 5/9/2011 1:50:18 PM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Conquer Computer Filing

If you don't keep your computer files organized, you'll waste time you likely can't spare searching for your documents. A search tool like Google Desktop (desktop.google.com) can help you find lost computer documents. This handy little program searches your own hard drive like a browser searches the Internet. It's a lifesaver when you're having trouble locating a file. And it's free!However, no search tool can match the ease of being able to go directly to the folder or file you want. The following filing tips will save you time and trouble when dealing with your computer files.Match your computer and paper files.Once you've established an efficient arrangement for your paper files,...


posted on: 5/8/2011 9:00:00 AM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

Prevail Over Email

While email is clearly an essential tool in business today, unscrupulous marketers have made it an annoyance by filling our inboxes with spam. In addition, well-meaning friends who aren't as busy as we are send us bits of useless information, stale jokes and links to irrelevant articles. As a result, even though most of what we receive each day is welcome and important to our business, email has acquired a bad reputation. At the same time, email has become a socially acceptable addiction. It's something easy to do when you want to get away from something else—a tiresome project, or a difficult challenge. It appeals to the same psychological mechanism that draws us to the refrigerator, to smoking, to drinking or to surfing the Internet. Email is so seductive because it holds the excitement of the unknown. Something interesting could be waiting—a message from someone you'll be happy to hear from, even a problem that needs taking care of, but something that will surely distract you from whatever it is you should be doing. Managing the avalanche of daily emails is the #1 complaint of office workers these days. If you're working solo, you need to deal with email because there's no one to delegate messages to—you're it! Experts recommend the following techniques for controlling email: Eliminate unnecessary emails. Unsubscribe from newsletters, chat rooms and other ongoing communications that aren't important or useful. Create filters for messages you don't want to see and people you don't want to hear from so those emails never reach your inbox at all. They will be diverted to your spam folder.  Remember, legitimate email you wouldn't want to miss also occasionally lands in your spam folder. So check it every day or two to make sure something hasn't been delivered there by mistake. Permanently delete the rest. Don't process emails first thing in the morning. If you want to make progress on important projects, do them first thing in the morning before looking at email or listening to voicemail. Any given day's email is sure to contain issues that will lead you astray. Email and voicemail can almost always wait for a couple of hours until you take care of the one or two really critical tasks that must be done right away. If a real emergency arises, you can be sure someone will call you on the telephone rather than sending you an email. Don't use your inbox as a to-do list. Continually reviewing a list of emails you haven't dealt with is a complete waste of time—the equivalent of going through stacks of paper on your desk over and over, reminding yourself of things you need to do without actually doing them. Move them to a Pending folder or better yet, paste them into your Outlook or Google electronic calendar on the day you have decided to act on them. Leaving them in your inbox is guaranteed to make you feel overwhelmed. Remember, email is a tool—not your job. Your to-do list is more important than your email. Keep things in perspective and don't let email take over your day. If you're not careful, you can waste large chunks of time without much to show for it. Accept the idea that ignoring some emails may be necessary given your other priorities. Consider adding a notice to your signature block that states the times of day you check email and suggests calling if the issue cannot wait. This will lower expectations that you will respond immediately to every message. Most people will think twice before interrupting you with a phone call unless the matter really is urgent. However excessive and frustrating it may be, email remains the tool of choice for business communications. Learn to use it without sacrificing your productivity. ...


posted on: 2/27/2011 9:00:00 AM  by Elaine Quinn, Author & Speaker
category: Business

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About Elaine:

Elaine Quinn is an internationally recognized expert on organizing, time management and productivity for the work-from-home solo professional. She is the author of "There's No Place Like Working From Home," filled with tips for solopreneurs who want to get organized, stay motivated and get things done. Learn more at www.NoPlaceLikeWorkingFromHome.com.

Elaine's Website:


Favorite Books and Products

  • Google Desktop Search
    This free application finds documents on your own computer's hard drive just like a search engine finds information on the web.
  • Collectorz
    Intuitive, inexpensive and easy-to-use database programs that create catalogues of your personal collection of books, reference manuals, audiovisual media or digital photo files.
  • Roboform
    Log into your password-protected websites automatically with this inexpensive and secure software that memorizes your login IDs and passwords. It also fills in online forms with just one click.
  • "There's No Place Like Working From Home"
    As the author, naturally this book is one of my favorites!

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