How to Be Productive When Working from Home

Working from home comes with some amazing perks: slide out of bed, enjoy a relaxing breakfast while reading the paper and taking the morning headlines, and saunter over to your home office. Yes, it is as good as it sounds.

And that, is just the problem. At home you’re comfortable, familiar and easily distracted. Working from home is less stressful, more comfortable and convenient, but presents you with more options to get off track. It’s important that you can hold yourself accountable – whether you have your own business or still report back to the command center office.

Create A Productive Office

You need to have a space for work only – no kids, no partners, just you and your work. While a messy cramped apartment may offer little to no extra space, even a corner will do. Having a space that is separate from the bustle of everyday life is important.

Split off a part of your bedroom or living room with a folding divider or hang a sheet. You should be able to step into your office, and close off the rest.
Utilize a spare room that’s not being used. Keep personal décor out, and keep it as work friendly as possible. In an office you wouldn’t have personal items, and your home office should be no different.

Hone Your Organizing Skills

A cluttered space = a cluttered mind. Too many family photos will take you down memory lane, and bills splayed on your desk will bring on personal stress. Make your space as much like an office as possible. If you are running a business, without a boss to hold you accountable for work, it’s especially important that you make this possible for yourself.

Create long and short term goals for yourself. At the beginning of the month, layout what you hope to accomplish. In the beginning of the week note what needs to get done. In the morning, list the items that need to be completed before leaving your office.
Get a calendar on your desktop. This is where you look everyday, and can help remind you of important duties, meetings, etc.
Find a notebook or scheduler for your desktop as well. Spell out projects, ideas and small lists for your day. When this is on your desk top it’s easily accessible and won’t get lost in the shuffle.

If you spend much of your day running around, find a good organizer for your smart phone. Utilize Google to keep your email, important dates and project information all in one.

If Only Your Boss Was Around

When you have a boss around, you are less likely to take quick breaks or step out for snacks. At home, with no one watching, it’s too easy to excuse yourself for an extended lunch or multiple coffee breaks. Help motivate yourself to power through work by acting as if your boss was sitting right next to you.

Snacks: Don’t allow yourself to get up 10 times a day for a pantry trip.

Lunch break: If you have personal errands to run, plan them into your lunch break instead of taking valuable time away from your workday.
Clothing: When you dress professionally you are in that frame of mind. Simply changing from your pajamas to jeans will be beneficial.
Working in your home office is a blessing and a curse. Creating a balance is critical to benefiting from working at home while still getting work done. By scheduling personal errands with other work related duties and lunch breaks, you can be sure to take advantage of your situation while staying on track.

What to Ask a Potential Business Partner – 8 Questions to Help You

We cannot do everything ourselves and this applies to business sometimes. It is impossible for one person to possess all the necessary skills that come in to the picture when one decides to set up a business. This is why sometimes we need to rope in other people as partners.

Potential business partners are all around us. They could be family or friends or likeminded people whom we can gel with. However, choosing a partner is the critical aspect of building a partnership. One has to consider many things. Here are 8 questions I think should help you figure out who is the right business partner for you.

What is your vision?

This is the first question I would ask any potential partner. Where do you see this venture going? What is your vision for it?

This is important because if the two of you don’t see it the same way you might not end up making a good team to begin with. The glue that holds any team together is “shared vision”.

What skill sets will you bring in?

Each of us has a set of skills. Ask your potential partner what his or her skill sets are and evaluate how you can use them to build a business together. For instance: if you are setting up an e-learning company having a partner who has been or is an educator might be a good idea.

This question is also necessary because once you know what his or her skill sets are you can figure out how different or similar they are to your own.

What’s your take on test marketing?

Some people like to plunge in to business without testing the waters. However, some amount of test marketing is necessary before you dive in. Asking your potential partner about his or her take on test marketing will give you an idea about whether or not both of you are on the same page in this regard.

How do we share profits?

Some people don’t believe in equal partnerships others might be investing more which is when profit sharing on a 50:50 basis might not be practical or fair. Iron out your profit sharing issues before you decide to team up.

What is your exit plan?

This might seem like a negative question but it’s important to know where your potential partner will draw a line. At what point will he or she choose not to continue with the partnership. If it’s a lady you are partnering with then marriage and moving away might impact your partnership with her. Will you be able to continue and how is what you need to figure out.

What if this goes wrong?

Nothing succeeds like success but every business idea has the potential to fail (some more, others less). Asking your potential partner about what happens if this fails or goes wrong will help you understand a lot about his or her attitude towards failure or glitches. You’ll know whether you’ll be standing alone or have someone with you through a bad patch.

How much do you plan on working?

This question is critical if your potential partner is involved in other ventures or has a full time occupation. In order to avoid feeling like it’s you who end up doing all the work a clear definition of the amount of time and effort each one of you can put in to it is important.

How do you deal with bad stuff?

Business is often about disgruntled customers, bad reviews, returns, people haggling for discounts, unbending retailers. How does your potential partner deal with crisis?

Finding a potential business partner is not simple. There are many things one wants but we cannot get it all in one person. However, a good core team can make or business while a bad one can break it. Investing some time in evaluating which partner is right for you will be worth the effort.

7 Reasons Why Your Business Partnership Is Not Working

Sometimes the rocky path of entrepreneurship is best taken with a partner by your side. Many a time, even if you find one or a few partners who share your vision things might not exactly work out. Here is a look at 7 reasons why your business partnership might not be working:

1. You Don’t Want to Rock the Boat
You don’t agree with your partner but you never get around to telling him or her. Why? Simple because you want to either avoid confrontation or that you dislike conflict. That’s where the trouble begins. If you genuinely don’t like something or would prefer things to be a certain way you have to say it. It just saves you a lot of trouble in future. Otherwise issues pile up and one day you just end up blowing the lid on it.

2. Failure to Recognise and Appreciate Each Other
Most times we fail to recognise the efforts that our partners make, let alone reward and appreciate them. This makes people feel terrible at some point because all of us like to be appreciated. If you’re partner does something make sure you show your appreciation?

3. Lack of Communication
In a partnership, do not expect people to read your mind. Instead make sure you communicate clearly and regularly. A heads up for even ten minutes every day might be the best thing that you could do. Oh yes! There is nothing such as over communication if you want things to be clear and hunky dory.

4. Overlapping Roles
Some partnerships really don’t work out because both partners are doing the same thing. A clear definition of roles and responsibilities means both of you don’t end up doing the same thing and getting in each other’s way. It is also more productive!

5. Lack of Execution
The best plans are the ones that you implement and execute. Don’t just make plans and leave them there. You have to put them in to action.

6. Not Being Friends First
A good partnership begins with friendship. As friends you are the first person your partner will turn to and vice versa. As pillars of the partnership this is critical.

7. Not Giving it Time
Nothing works overnight. You have to give your partnership time to work out. If you expect things to work quickly then you could just be rushing the pace at which you and your partner/s will reach an equation.

To wrap this up, as Roland Dahl says-Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. Likewise if you don’t believe in a partnership then it’s unlikely that you will be able to make it work. To make it work you should be able to put a finger on what could possibly be going wrong. Hope this post helps you think about this.