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Tools to Be More Productive Working Remotely

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Since I started working for myself as a media strategist, author and speaker, a few years ago, I’ve become an expert at working from home. I really love it actually. 

But I know all about how hard it can be to adjust to remote work when you’re used to an office environment and being around people all day long. 

Many more employees are working remotely now because of coronavirus (COVID-19) — and if you’re one of them, you might have run into new challenges with keeping up your motivation and productivity. 

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Be Productive On Summer Fridays

Enjoy your summer Friday! (Photo Credit: blog.syracuse.com)

Enjoy your summer Friday! (Photo Credit: blog.syracuse.com)

If you are lucky enough to have summer Fridays at your workplace you know it’s where every Friday throughout the summer people get off of work at 1pm (or so.)

When I first heard about this, I tried to convince my boss to pick up on the trend. But unfortunately, the news business runs a little differently. But if you participate in shorter workdays on Fridays – you can enjoy your longer weekend by being as productive as possible up until the moment you leave work.

Here are a few tips on how to make your summer Fridays as productive as possible:

1.     Do more during the week: Plan your schedule appropriately, so a shorter workday on Friday is do-able. Rather than cramming everything in at the last minute, really make sure you’re on track with your work. Schedule busier tasks earlier on in the week and reserve Fridays for follow ups and smaller tasks only.

2.     Don’t open your e-mail until noon: It’s harder than it sounds. There’s many times when it’s easy to keep hitting refresh on your inbox to kill time, but resist the urge. Spend your mornings doing what’s important, rather than responding to e-mails that aren’t urgent. As important as you may think it is, usually e-mails can wait a few hours.

3.     Prepare the night before: Throughout the week, make a to-do list of the things you must get done each day. If you’re writing an article, outline it the night before– it’ll save you hours the next day. Don’t leave the office until everything you need to accomplish gets done. You’ll thank yourself when you get to start your weekend early.

4.     Keep your office cool: Working in a hot room tends to make us feel groggy and sluggish.

5.     Treat yourself: Get as much out of your day by working hard first and then enjoying a nice reward of your choice afterwards! Whether you plan to get a manicure or treat yourself to a nice meal, finish your task first and reward yourself afterwards. It’ll act as a motivator and you’ll be able to enjoy it at your own leisure without stressing about all of the things you have left to do.

6.     Meditate: In the morning, spend a few minutes to focus your mind and listen in. You will discover ideas inside of you that will help you find success throughout your workday. By relaxing, you’ll be able to align your goals and plan your day to be as productive as possible.

Enjoy your head start on your weekend!

5 Apps to Make Cleaning Easier

Cleanly App (Photo Credit: darnellthenewsman.com)

Cleanly App (Photo Credit: darnellthenewsman.com)

I’ve always had a love/ hate relationship with cleaning. Being tidy and organized helps increase your productivity and makes you feel less stressed—but the process of cleaning is never fun! As a kid my mom even nicknamed me “the mess maker.” Even though I would make a big mess – I would always clean it up!

Especially when you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to push cleaning off to the bottom of your “to-do” list.

Not wanting to clean isn’t something new either. It’s always been a burden on everyone from someone living by themselves, a stay-at-home mom or business owner.

Here are a few of my favorite cleaning apps:

1. Cleanly: If you’re in New York, and have ever dragged your laundry down the street…this app is for you. It allows New Yorkers to schedule laundry pick up and delivery at their own convenience! Cleanly users can schedule a time for pickup, including directions on how to wash their clothes, and a “Cleanly Valet” will come pick up the clothes and drop them off at a local laundry mat or dry cleaner! Fresh, clean clothes are then delivered within 24 hours.

2. Handybook: Users can book a company certified maid, plumber or handyman on their mobile phone by filling out an online application in less than two minutes! You fill out what type of cleaning you want done, how many rooms need to be cleaned and choose from a list of available time slots. In just minutes, an e-mail confirmation will provide you with a housekeeper’s name and phone number.

3. HomeRoutines: No list is complete without a cleaning “to-do” list! This app lets you create thorough to-do lists and then rotate tasks by day or week, so you can develop a routine that makes keeping your house clean a habit. The app splits your home into five zones and gives you a task for each area, reminding you about tasks that often get overlooked, but need to be done!

4. BrightNest: Take your lists to the next level. This app helps you build a customized list of projects based on your personal living conditions. The app asks you questions, such as whether or not you have kids or pets, the appliances you use and what your goals are. Weekly projects are then illustrated with an estimate of how much time they will take. It even lists surprising tips to help you get the job done and gives you home maintenance advice based on your region’s climate.

5. Chorma: If you’re living with multiple people that leave their space messy, this app can help. Chorma lets you create lists of repeating chores and then assigns them to housemembers, who can check-in with their progress. To encourage people to get their stuff done, the app allows you to create redeemable individual or group rewards!

Make a list of five areas that you think need to be cleaned and then download one of these apps that will help you!

Read Faster with the Blinkist App

Blinkist app (Photo Credit: allmyfaves.com)

Blinkist app (Photo Credit: www.allmyfaves.com)

There are so many books on my reading list, that are sadly still waiting to be read. I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately like “How to Make Every Man Want You” by Marie Forleo and “Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier” by Ari Meisel. But between work and my day to day schedule, it’s hard to find the time to sit down and enjoy a book in it’s entirety.

However, I recently discovered a new solution to my problem– the app Blinkist!

Blinkist works the same way as sites like Cliff Notes by providing a quick and short synopsis of a book—this time on your iPhone or iPad! The app takes the full text of a non-fiction book and turns it into quick snippets of information. Rather than scrolling through pages and pages of text, Blinkist gives you the most important information from a text in just fifteen minutes! Here are some of the perks Blinkist has to offer:

1.     The books are put into categories, helping you to find what book you’re searching for easily. There’s even a productivity and self-help category! Read more

7 Ways to Deal When Cable and Internet go out

no-cable-tv

no-cable-tv (Photo credit: hjl)

As many of you know — I’m getting ready for a big move to a brand new apartment.  With that comes a lot of coordinating and planning.  Our cable company made one very big mistake about our move and shut off our service in our current apartment a month too early!  So yes, we were left without TV, Internet, and phone service for two days.  Who cares, you may think.  And I would have said the same — until it happened to me.

When you’re on vacation, you are ready to unplug, you need it and you want it.  But in the middle of a work week when you are unexpectedly thrown off of your routine and contact with the outside world is ripped from your grip — you get angry fast!  So as I was pulling my hair out with frustration, as our nice field tech Rich tried to get our service turned back on, I wrote out a list.

This is a list of things to do when your cable and Internet go out without warning — like when your cable company screws up or something more dramatic happens like a blackout.

1.  Go to the movies. It occurred to me that we had been binge watching Netflix for so long (House of Cards is amazing!) that we hadn’t actually been to a theater in months.  It was great to get out and see something new.
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