How to Set Up an Effective Office Space in Your Home

I’ve worked full-time from my home since 1992 and can’t imagine doing it any other way. Whether you work full time out of your home, occasionally telecommute, catch up on work in the evening, or run a household, you need some sort of dedicated “office” space in your home. Offices can serve as the family computer center, a place to do paperwork, and the occasional work-at-home office. The first big question is where to locate your home office. Until the last few years, most builders didn’t catch on to the popularity of a built-in home office. If you have a computer, you probably need more than an antique writing desk in the living room. But if you only use your “office” to pay bills, write letters, and return phone calls, you can get away with a corner of the kitchen. In most homes, … [Read more...]

Clear the clutter to free your emotional energy and liberate your past

Look around you, at work and home. Do you feel overjoyed or annoyed? Your environment affects your moods, attitudes, emotions, and energy level. What things sap your energy? You need to figure out ways to reduce, eliminate, or change your environment, so that it lifts you up rather than brings you down. These tidbits might help. 1. Clear the clutter. This requires effort and can be time-consuming, but the real reason people dread clearing clutter is emotional attachment -- and because you no idea how to organize what you keep. Focus first on the areas of the home that are most important to your health and vitality, especially the bedroom. 2. Thin out the incoming stream. We all have a constant stream of mail and new possessions coming into our lives. If you don't develop a regular habit … [Read more...]

Co-workers, meetings, and inefficiency: the big energy bandits in the workplace

The workplace is full of energy drains, even for people who work at home. You get caught up in the routine, and lo and behold, hours have passed -- and you've expended precious energy without much return. If this sounds like your work life, maybe you ought to try a few of these prescriptions. 1. Speak up when you have too much on your plate.  If you're overworked, you'll eventually hit a point where your personal energy falls to nil and nothing gets done. Do what you can to streamline your work processes, negotiate deadline extensions, simplify your tasks, and delegate in order to get things done. 2. Be unavailable. That's right. When someone says, "Do you have a minute?" it's okay to say, "Not right now." You don't have to be rude or impolite, but you do have to be honest. Get over … [Read more...]

Your purpose and values guide your productivity

Are you following your mission in life, or do you feel disconnected from what you want to do, believe in, and value? Are other people defining who you are? The more your time is organized around your values, the more energy you gain from your activities. Here are a few ideas that can help you stay "on flow." 1. Figure out who you want to be and what you want to do.  Many of us ignore our dreams in the interest of providing for our families, or because we think we don't deserve them -- but all that does is leave us unhappy and listless. If this describes you, spend some time deciding what you want to do and be. 2. Take a good, long look at your career choices. Are you happy? Do you find your work fulfilling? Or are you just going through the motions to pay the bills? If the answer to the … [Read more...]

Me, You, and the Handheld

These days, most of us use handheld technology in all aspects of our daily lives, blurring the boundaries between work and home. Has this made you feel more overworked and less energized? If so, you need to learn how to break free from technology, turn it off regularly, stop letting it control you, and unplug in ways that boost your energy. Let's chat about your electronic habits, and about how to regain control. 1. Plan your screen time and stick to it. It's unnatural to focus on a computer or TV screen for hours on end instead of interacting with people. Yet this is precisely what most people do -- and the subsequent feelings of social isolation and depression can be quite damaging to your energy level. 2. Put your life first. Don't let technology eat up your free time; technology … [Read more...]

Lower stress level at work = an energy and productivity boost

People with high stress levels are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes, respond poorly to flu vaccines, and catch colds more easily than those with low levels of work or interpersonal stress. To sideline stress, you need to learn to shift your perception and the impact of stressful situations. Here are some hints on how to do that. 1. Take a chill pill.  High anxiety can put a damper on your performance levels, so take psychological steps, like prayer, meditation, and positive imagery, to reduce your anxiety level. Or just forgive someone who's slighted you. 2. Actively counter stress. Your stress won't go away by itself; you may have to use effective stress management techniques to ease it. A massage, listening to music, and even crying can help you release built-up … [Read more...]

What makes people happiest?

Even if you're in a rewarding relationship and have plenty of acquaintances, you can still feel lonely. Research shows that physical exercise, relaxation, and physical health are positively associated with feelings of well-being, but the variable with the strongest association of all is social support. So if you want to boost feelings of psychological well-being and happiness, have lots of friends -- and take these tips to heart. 1. Spend time with your friends.  No matter how much you love someone, relying on a significant other as your sole source of friendship is a mistake. Just because you're in a romantic relationship doesn't mean you don't need other friends. 2. Nurture friendships at your workplace. Many people believe you shouldn't combine work and play, but that can be a … [Read more...]

Does your working environment boost or bust your productivity?

Studies have proven that lighting, décor, smell, noise level, temperature, ergonomics, and color can all affect how you feel. If your environment's draining you dry, try these tips for a little refreshment. 1. Make sure your workspace is ergonomically designed.  Constant discomfort is a great way to lose energy fast. Look into the possibility of getting ergonomic tools and furniture for your workplace, so you can stay productive. 2. Avoid RMIs. If you perform the same motions over and over again, you may end up with a repetitive motion injury (RMI) like carpal tunnel syndrome, Blackberry thumb, or bursitis. If you're having a nagging pain, see your doctor and determine what behaviors might be causing it -- and what you can do to avoid it. 3. Create a well-lit office space. Bad lighting … [Read more...]

Kick up your productivity by getting out of your comfort zone

Take a look at yourself. Is your life the same every single day? If you feel like you're wasting your energy because you're unchallenged and uninspired, you're probably right. There's a good reason the saying "Grow or die" is a something of a cliché, because it verbalizes a deep-rooted truth about human nature: you need to keep to growing intellectually all the days of your life. If that sounds good to you, then use these tips to help you get growing. 1. Challenge yourself to learn something new every day. A lack of challenges is a real energy killer. How can you be anything but bored if you don't learn something new occasionally? Human knowledge is so vast and complex that there's always something new to be learned, so get to it. 2. Exercise your creativity. There's a reason a zeal to … [Read more...]

Completing personal chores and responsibilities more efficiently

Unfortunately, not all of our tasks excite us, so spending energy on them feels wasteful.  If an activity's not challenging or offers no reward, motivation is difficult. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could complete your tasks more efficiently, so you'd have energy to spare? Well, I can help you with that. 1. Get your domestic duties done. Develop an evening routine, and make sure everyone in the family takes part. This will help you retain your sanity, happiness, and energy level, and teach other family members to respect others' boundaries. 2. Enlist help with meals. Cooking dinner every night can be a real grind. Cook more than your family will eat so that you can browse on leftovers some evenings, and teach your children how to cook -- they need to learn anyway. 3. Divvy up chores. … [Read more...]