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4 Tips for First-Time Teleworkers

Productivity & Efficiency, SOHO Workstyles, Telework & Virtual Officing
March 19th, 2020 No Comments »

If coronavirus has you teleworking for the first time, try these power four tips: Claim your space (the more private and quiet – and away from the family hustle – the better); Make a schedule (when you’ll log in and log out – and take breaks throughout the day); think ergonomics (your chair and desk matter – bad posture can be a lasting affliction); and stay connected (tech aside, stay plugged in with your team to avoid isolation, especially if we’re in this for the long haul).

Bonus Tip: Join Me Friday (March 20 at noon ET) for a Working From Home Webinar. We’ll share scores more tips.

Home-Based Entrepreneurship & Economic Slumps

Brand U, Lamentable Truths, Productivity & Efficiency
February 10th, 2020 No Comments »

This article originally appeared in 2011… In the 22 years I’ve been a home-based freelance writer, I’ve experienced two economic slumps (around 1992 and the dotcom bomb in 1999) – and one full-blown, butt-kickin’ recession. And I’ve never feared the pink slip. I never went scrambling to the Want Ads, and only once filled out a job application – for a contract gig with a freelance creative network.

For home-based entrepreneurs, this is the subtle, often overlooked, perk of soloing. Home-based entrepreneurs don’t fear being fired, at least in the traditional sense. That’s not to say I’ve breezed through 22 years of business cycles with the detached aloofness of an obtuse, unsympathetic oaf. I’ve freelanced for media who’ve shed the jobs of friends too numerous to count. I’ve had clients fail, or worried as their Accounts?Payable Department coffers have run dry.

I even had one client’s tab tear at my gut as it approached $15,000.

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Anytime, Anywhere Access to Everything Always = Effective Home Office

Productivity & Efficiency, Technology, Telework & Virtual Officing
July 8th, 2019 No Comments »

Sitting in bed wired and watching late-night TV, I realized I might as well get a leg up on tomorrow tonight by logging some keyboard time. Problem was, my documents were Over There in the home office, and I was – well – right here. Enter the glory of the cloud.

It’s no surprise that every home officer – from entrepreneurs to teleworkers and telecommuters – benefit from the always-on connectedness of the Internet-enabled world. That’s certainly true in the after-hours home office.

With my Chromebook and Carbonite subscription, I was able to power up, log in, download a few documents, and get to work. Carbonite ostensibly is a security measure designed to back up my documents and files. But one of the understated benefits of online backup services is how they deliver heightened productivity anytime, anywhere.

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How to Set Up an Outdoor Home Office (And Why You May Want To)

Create & Run Your Biz, Creativity, Creature Comforts, Productivity & Efficiency, Set-up / Design & Organization, The Great Outdoors
August 1st, 2018 No Comments »

Have you ever sat at your desk wishing you could spend more time outdoors??Many of us spend a huge amount of time in our office. Yet, if we want to be a home officer working outdoors, the environment needs to be?both comfortable and productive. For some people, an office outdoors can deliver on both.

I started thinking more about this recently when a friend of mine decided to merge his work as a freelance writer with his passion for the outdoors, by setting up an office in his garden.

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At Last, a Battery Backup for the Smaller Home Office Components

Productivity & Efficiency, Technology
October 1st, 2017 No Comments »

Working from a South Florida home office, summertime power black-outs and brown-outs are a common occurrence. See the clouds massing in the distance, and you know you could be hit with loss of power. You’re confident you can keep working; after all, your PC and monitor are linked to a battery backup or UPS (uninterruptable power supply). But what about your modem and router, or even your phone or headset? They draw so little power, but they’re so critical to business continuity.

Finally, a battery backup maker has given them their due. It even comes with a removable “Mobile Power Pack” that can be charged and taken for on-the-go power outside the home office.

APC by Schneider Electric has created the lithium ion Network Battery Backup + Mobile Power Pack. Available in September, this product is designed for those often overlooked devices. The UPS is ideal for ensuring power to the products that often are just as critical to ongoing productivity, no matter the conditions at the home’s power junction.

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Tales of Buying the Perfect Home Office, Small Business Technology

Home Office Pioneers, Productivity & Efficiency, Technology
July 30th, 2015 No Comments »

We’ve all heard the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. But what can the children’s story tell us about making technology purchasing decisions for the home office or home-based business? We need to find the phone, laptop, printer and other technology that Baby Bear would say is “just right.”

The challenge we all face is how to determine what works best for our environment. Products that are too big, too difficult to use, or the alternate — too small, cheap or without business functionality — will ultimately hamper productivity and growth.

When I first started out, I struggled with what IT was necessary to help me be more productive. I used a handheld phone all day, kept a paper ledger for my billings and generally threw money down the drain by not investing in technology that would help boost productivity.

I recently spoke with fellow business owner Geoffrey Gray. We each discovered we weren’t alone in lamenting small biz tech issues.

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The Evolution of the ‘Smart’ Phone: The Power Tool in the Small Business, Home Office

Productivity & Efficiency, Technology
May 15th, 2015 No Comments »

Years ago, I wrote a technology column about a small business owner who was an early adopter of some new-fangled gizmo called the BlackBerry. What was cool about the device was that he could actually send and receive email from anywhere he had a signal. Imagine that. It was 2002, and he wasn’t tethered to his office PC any longer. In fact, he received an email from me as he worked the Olympic Games from the mountains of Park City, Utah.

He mentioned what was an important caveat at the time, one which today seems oh-so-dated, given the hindsight of 13 years. “I’m not running my business from this device,” I sorta recall him saying. “I’m just just staying connected so I don’t miss any important messages.”

Fast forward more than a dozen years and the smart phone now is the power tool of the small business, one which almost can run the whole show.

My, how times have changed.

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Clean InBox, Happy Inbox – and Other Ramblings From a Home Office Gmail Neat-Freak

Commentary, Organization, Productivity & Efficiency
April 20th, 2015 No Comments »

One upon a time, until about, oh, two months ago, every time my kids would look at my iPhone email icon, they’d cringe. Highlighted in red was a little reminder that I had almost 2,000 unread messages. Two Thousand Messages. From kids who hardly use email, to professional organizers whose career calling it is to strip such clutter from the face of an iPhone (and the universe, if possible), I imagine nothing can be more unnerving.

Didn’t bother me much. Those emails had migrated there from the days when I used Outlook as my email application. So when I migrated to Google’s Gmail interface, The 2,000 came along in tow.

And I wasn’t really adding to the list. I work from a home office and tend to receive upward of 75 emails a day. I’d read, reply, ignore, delete or otherwise “deal” with each in my own, unique way.

Then one day, when the ticker at the bottom of my desktop Gmail screen read that I was approaching my 15 gigabyte allotment of free storage, I got into a “delete that crap” frenzy. I started with the low fruit – attachments I no longer needed. Then I got into general email that were just hanging around out there.

Then I decided to home in on those hiding in plain sight: The 2,000.

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