Tips to Help You Stay Organized & Productive While Working At Home

by WorkFromHome on December 6, 2011

Staying productive is important in any profession, but even more so when working from home. As opposed to a typical office setting, working from home can bring more distractions and a lack of support staff to help you get the job done efficiently. Now, thanks in large part to technology, it has never been easier to find productivity tools that can help you stay organized and productive. Here are some productivity tips that can help anyone who is working in a home setting.

Manage Your Time

The most important tool in staying productive is managing your time wisely. All of the latest apps, computer programs and scheduling books in the world cannot make you more productive if you don’t have a clear understanding of how your time should be structured. Review your job priorities and then schedule them according to your energy levels during a work day. Schedule your most demanding tasks during high energy periods and your least demanding tasks during the times your energy is low. Once that is determined, then place them in a scheduling program or book that you can refer to easily. Most computers have a scheduling program already installed and, if not, there are numerous free scheduling downloads that can be found on the Internet. One such download is Flextime, which allows you to schedule tasks with breaks and use a personalized sound to remind you when your break time is done.

Computer File Managers

Depending upon the particular job, many work from home professionals often face the task of managing a very large amount of work related computer files. All to often, this can be a hindrance to productivity because large amounts of time are wasted searching for or organizing these files. Although all computers have file managers already installed, they are usually not designed for the amount of files required for many businesses. There are now numerous free or inexpensive computer file management programs that are designed for easier file manipulation and organization. Most of these programs have the capability of organizing files in ways that cut search and retrieval times down to only a few mouse clicks.

Online Document Signature Services

If you have the type of work from home business that requires documents and contracts to be signed to approve a job or move it to the next level, an e-signature service can help save both time and money. These programs usually require a monthly fee, but deliver a suite of e-signature tools that can be used on any type of standard computer as well as on smart-phones and tablet PCs. These programs allow you to collaborate on documents online, track where they have been sent and who has viewed them and have each party sign off when ready. These services keep a digital trail of documents in ways that makes e-signatures as legally enforceable as a pen signature.

Accounting Programs

Many work from home professionals often find themselves spending a great deal of time on accounting tasks. While detailed accounting is important for any business, the time taken to complete these tasks can often overwhelm the ability to productively focus on the main work that generates an income. This is where a good computer accounting program can be invaluable. A good accounting program will allow you to record business expenses and categorize where you are spending, send and track invoices, track your business trip mileage and connect to online banking accounts so you don’t have to manually update or enter new data. Instead of manually calculating items like monthly totals and tax obligations, these totals can be quickly retrieved by a good program within just a few seconds. Good accounting programs range in price from very inexpensive to costing several hundred dollars, but if you invest in one that meets your business structure you will be amazed at the time that is saved.

Semi-Annual Self Evaluations

One of the freedoms of working from home is that you are accountable only to yourself. While this may seem like a blessing if you had to sweat through performance evaluations by superiors in other jobs, the need for realistic job performance evaluations is just as important when you are the only person accountable for the business. They are a vital tool for keeping you and your business on track for meeting important goals and outcomes. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when conducting semi-annual performance evaluations on yourself. Find a sample online and adapt it for your own use. Type the answers directly into the sample so you can save the evaluations in your computer. After you have completed two or more, compare your answers from the evaluations to determine if you are improving or moving backwards in meeting your goals.

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