5 Traits You Need To Work From Home

I have been working from my home since 1993 and I have enjoyed the experience over the years. I did the 8 to 5 job routine, did the commute and did the interacting with fellow employees. Since working for myself, I know the huge benefit working from your home offers. The first is the tax benefits of a home based business. The IRS has relaxed the rules since working from the home is now so common. You can deduct the expenses associated with the space you use for business including mortgage payments, property taxes, home fuel costs and any other cost you spend to work at home. I do recommend you check your with your accountant or tax preparer to determine what deductions you may qualify for.

You also have the benefit of not spending money on gas to commute to and from a work place. You can dress the way you want. Some folks even wear their pajamas all day while working. You can take a break when you want and plan your lunch around your work schedule.

But is working at home for everyone? Here are a few of the traits you will need in order to succeed working from home.

1. You must be disciplined. It is not easy getting up in the morning and forcing yourself to work. There are many distractions to occupy your mind and keep you from work. That TV sitting in your living room will be calling to you to watch a program and put off starting to work for just a little while longer. Sleeping in is another attractive alternative to work. So you must be strict with yourself and force yourself to work. However, you also have the benefit of working at all hours of the night to catch up on your work, which is something you do not have in the traditional office atmosphere.

2. You have to focus on your work. It is easy to take a snack break when you want or maybe sneak in a quick nap. But when they feelings crop up will you have the focus to over come those feelings and continue to work? If not you may wish to continue your traditional job.

3. Working at home by yourself may not be stimulating enough for you. You will not have other employees around to help stimulate you into working or completing a project. You may need to stay in contact with other people to keep your self from drifting off and cleaning the kitchen or doing some other household chore.

4. Do not become a hermit. If you are working at home for a company, make sure you stay in contact with your boss or fellow employees. Keep yourself in the lime light so that you are not forgotten about. Stay in contact with customers so that they know you are still alive.

5. Separation from home and work. You will need an office space that is separate from your home living space. This is extremely important so that you can maintain a work environment. You may not be able to work effectively if you are working at the kitchen table and have distractions from other family members.

If you work from home, what do you do that works for you?

Comments welcome.

Source – Forbes

A LEGO Maniac In The Home Office Is Worth Two On The Bus

Are you a LEGO maniac, too? I was pleasantly surprised when community member Zane Harnish built my home office with the free LEGO Digital Designer. Even though you can buy this kit to build for yourself, I wouldn’t recommend it — based on price, as I mentioned in the video. Can someone build a model of my home office that is substantially cheaper?

Download the LXF if you wish!


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Oh, and… I know I slaughtered the meme — and realized it after I uploaded the video, so I’m not going to reupload. I leave it to you to give us a better “yo dawg.” :)

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Neat And Simple Guide To Organizing Your Home Office

There should be an image here!The Neat & Simple Guide to Organizing Your Home Office provides you with an ultra-simple process, creative strategies and clear instructions with lots of examples and over 50 photos featuring real home offices — not offices staged for a book — that will show you how to:

  • Get motivated and decide where to start by setting specific and compelling action goals
  • Overcome perfectionism so that you complete your project
  • Identify your personal organizing style and brain type (left-brain or right brain) and choose appropriate strategies
  • Design organizing systems to be easy to implement and maintain — even if you have ADHD, or a creative personality type, or have been chronically disorganized for any reason
  • Clear clutter without getting overwhelmed
  • Lay out your office to maximize efficiency and productivity
  • Set up work zones to meet your needs
  • Optimize your work flow
  • Select the right organizing products for your needs (complete with photos and tips of what kinds of products to avoid)
  • Organize your paper your way – what law says you “have to” use files?
  • Choose a planner for managing your time
  • Use a variety of types of To Do Lists
  • Set up a system for your voicemail messages and much more!

This guide features a warm and personal writing style and easy-to-read page layout. It’s like having author Ariane Benefit right there with you to teach you how to create your own organizing systems that fit you.

She doesn’t tell you what to do and ask you to conform to her idea of what works. Instead, she gives you the principles and strategies that empower you to become your own professional organizer and make decisions more easily!

Check the inside cover to get the Web site address to download a full-color digital PDF version of this book plus free bonus materials including:

  • “Take Charge of Your Paper” 60 pps, PDF
  • Neat & Simple “Paper Retention Guide” 12 pps, PDF
  • Lots of other bonuses including audio MP3 recordings of classes and interviews by Ariane and more

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eGreetings!

Gnomedex is less than a month away, and tickets are selling out fast. Make sure you register for yours today!

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Windows 7 is here!

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Capturing images on your screen is pretty simple, right? But what if you want to do more with them? Then you want to snag a copy of SnagIt. How did you ever get along without screen capture software? This one even integrates with AOL instant messenger and potentially your blog, too! Start your next screen capture the right way — manage it with TechSmith’s SnagIt.

My Home Office

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People ask me over and over for a tour of my home office. Today, I decided to grant that request. So get comfy, and here we go!

You’re all familiar with my desk, my 30″ Dell monitors, my chair, and my Tix clocks. That is the view you see every day as I stream. If we look behind my desk, you’ll notice that there is about a foot of space between the desk and the wall. That is because my actual computer tower is on the floor behind the desk, along with all the cords and connections. I hate looking at cords, and I hate messes. Thus, I put them all behind the desk so I can’t see them.

Next to the desk is a closet that Ponzi feels is way too organized. I dunno why she would think that! I have some storage shelves and cubes that hold various things, such as software, CDs, manuals, tools, and even hardware. Above that on the shelf is my PSP and the games for it. And just to prove what an addict I am, I’ll pop out the game currently IN my PSP, to show you that it is Tetris.

Now over here to the right of my normal setup you see is the Mac mini that runs the live stream. There is no monitor for it — I run it off of a television. Below that on the shelves of the little entertainment stand, you can see the Xbox and games along with some DVDs I love, including Christmas ones.

Ahhh, the door to the office. Across the hall is our bedroom, and we are not going on a tour of it today. Next to the door is a little table, and a bench that opens but doesn’t really have anything in it. Then, there’s the other desk that I haven’t even decided what use it should have as of yet. In that corner, you can see a large bookshelf. I love this bookshelf. On it are all my little toys, gizmos, and gadgets. We all know what a gadget freak I am!

Last, you can see the printer/scanner/fax machine, and the little stand with the phone on it. Then… we’re back where we started. I need to fill my office up some more. The closets and shelves need more in and on them. The other desk is empty. I need THINGS, people! If you have ideas, send them to me! You can leave me a follow up comment to this video, or send an email with your ideas to me at chris@pirillo.com.

New Desk Arrived Today

Today my secondary desk (for my other two Linux boxes; including my Zonbu box plus my Windows box) arrived today. Unfortunately, it is nothing like this one. Seriously, I would love to take that bad boy home for test drive! But with that said, it will be nice to have the extra space in order to push the home office to new dimensions.

But there is one addition that still needs to happen – I think I need to get something like this. Not really wanting to add one more thing to my existing main desk, but with my constantly working from this position, it might be healthier in the long run.

What do you think? Is all of this extra desk space and ergonomic stuff just adding to the problem of staying productive? Or instead, is it possible with the right items, wisely positioned, that a person could indeed, see an increased level of productivity?

[tags]desk, mouse tray, keyboard tray, home office[/tags]

Network Bridging In XP

Does your home or office network have two separate LAN segments? If so, Windows XP makes it simple to connect two separate segments without having to purchase specialized hardware such as a router. WinXP offers a networking feature not found in previous OSes. This feature is called Network Bridging and it lets you transparently combine two separate LAN segments into one logical network using a computer running Windows XP. If you were using a TCP/IP network, each segment would require its own subnet and a router to connect each subnet.

However, this procedure is sometimes inconvenient for smaller networks. WinXP users can bridge the network connections using the Network Bridge feature. For example, you can configure your WinXP PC with two network adapters, each one connected to a different segment. By bridging the connections, the two segments can function as though they are a single subnet. You can locate the steps for bridging two network connections by opening the Help and Support Center and searching for the key phrase “Network Bridge.”

[tags]xp,home office,lan,network bridge,subnet,route[/tags]

Skrbl

I’m a fan of whiteboards, and I don’t really know why. In fact, I purchased one for my home office, but I hardly ever use it, and that statement can be proved by the fact that stuff I wrote three months ago is still on there. Either way, as weird as it is, I like knowing that I have one. If I ever get the urge to brainstorm and diagram some ideas, then the whiteboard is only a few feet away. Using an actual whiteboard is a satisfying experience, however, services such as skrbl are trying to replicate that experience on the Internet.

You may use your mouse instead of a dry erase marker, but the experience is still pretty good, especially since the Internet allows you to do things that you can’t do with a regular whiteboard. In addition to drawing and writing, registered users of skrbl can also upload pictures and share files through their digital whiteboards. As is always the case with things of this nature, collaboration is key, and all you have to do is give out the URL to what you’re working on so that others can join you live.

[tags]Skrbl, Whiteboards, Brainstorm, Diagram, Home Office, Dry Erase Marker, Collaborate[/tags]

My Home Office Depot Problem

It’s bad enough I’m still migrating my life from Windows XP to Windows Vista… it’s bad enough I’m still migrating my data from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2007… I’ve gotta fight with Office Depot, too? You might remember a few weeks ago, I was trying to figure out what kind of furniture I’d need for my home office. I walked into a local store, drew them a picture of my room (with dimensions), then placed an order for seemingly appropriate furniture. So, here’s where I stand today:

  • Had to refuse three single bookcases and a storage cabinet. Wouldn’t fit in the room.
  • Asked for 2 “Demi” bookcases, and 2 Corner Bookcases were delivered and assembled instead. Must be returned, as they’re also too large for my office.
  • Configured primary area incorrectly; two 71″ desks are fine, though used in different ways.
  • Keyboard shelf was delivered but not assembled.
  • The hutch was brought on the truck, but not delivered.
  • The Right L-bow Desk was brought on the truck but also not delivered – would not have fit. Plus, it should have been a Right Corner module in the first place. Using one 71″ in its place.
  • Opted for Premium installation for everything, which according to printed documentation, would mean that the furniture would come fully assembled – and it was not.
  • Need to place the order for a 48″ Return Bridge, as this was what I thought I was getting in the second 71″ desk.
  • In new configuration, an additional 71″ hutch needs to be ordered.

And if you think you’re confused, imagine the chaos here. I’ve had to move the gigantic corner bookcases into the hallway for the time being. I’ve been on the phone with Office Depot, and they tell me that this whole mess will be straightened out. How’s a geek supposed to operate if his fortress of solitude is in a shambles?

[tags]office, home office, office depot, office furniture[/tags]

Office Of The Future

Just when I thought my home office saga was behind me, it seems to have only begun. Here’s what’s pretty much forcing me to pull an all-nighter tonight:

  • The dufus at Office Depot who helped me with my order wound up ordering the wrong pieces – which was a blessing and a curse. Some of the pieces were wholly incorrect, and some of the pieces wouldn’t have fit anyway. I wound up refusing a couple of pieces before they could be assembled, but the delivery guys had assembled two large pieces that I didn’t order in the first place. To make matters worse, they should’ve been assembled offsite – as that’s the “premium” package I paid for. Let the Office Depot buyer beware! I’m expecting a call from them tomorrow.
  • As I noted yesterday, I spilled coffee on my computer. Damage seemed to have been skin deep, but today one of the video cards started acting wonky. This spurred me to take another look at the AMD QuadCore system sitting in the corner – which is on its way to becoming my primary desktop right now (files are transferring over the network as I write this).
  • I blew a fuse by plugging in a simple, empty surge protector (with its switch in the “off” position, mind you). Seems I’ll have to call an electrician sooner rather than later. I’m terrified to plug anything more into the wall – as I’m seemingly tapped out on that circuit. It’s workable, although I’m probably going to use floor and desk lamps instead of the embedded ceiling lights. Guess I just like electronics too much?

I just want my “Office of the Future” to be done already!

What’ll keep me up is the computer data transfer and setup. I’m also leaping into the world of Windows Vista (officially), though I’ll be able to tri-boot into Vista x64 and Windows XP Professional. Despite my complaints, I’m not expecting Vista to get in the way of my day-to-day tasks. I’m still not sure if I’ll switch to Outlook 2007 though. We’ll see.

Oh, and I’ve also got to do the dishes – Ponzi’s reminded me fifteen times in the past two minutes. It’s nothing but work, work, work, work, work, work, work, and work. It’s going to be an all-nighter, indeed.

[tags]work, home office, office, office furniture, workload, working[/tags]

Home Office Computer Desk Furniture

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re moving soon – and if this is the first time you’ve been notified of our impending move, we’re doing it! Ponzi refuses to let me bring my old computer desks with me, however. I’m disappointed, excited, and confused – simultaneously.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of home office computer desks available on the market today. I’ve always been quite happy with the corner computer desks, but my personal interior designer tells me that it’s simply not good to have one’s back always facing the door. Instead, I’ve been turning my attention to the “U shaped” desks on the market. A hutch for the configuration (somewhere) is mandatory.

Forever, I’ve filled my home office with lighter woods (currently in the birch shade). I still have the white corner desk that’s been in my posession since around the time that Lockergnome launched, upon which now sits a slightly-broken iMac. I may keep that desk around if Ponzi will let me, although it may not fit in well with a darker office. Yes, I’m thinking about going with “dark walnut” from this point forward. It’s time for a hue shift!

Our new house is pre-wired for networking (Cat5e), so I’m likely to keep non-essential elements away from my desk – like the laser printer, cable modem, router, or any other component that might take up space. I’m also thinking about mounting surround sound speakers throughout the room, configured according to wherever my desk will be positioned.

This might be fun, after all! Taking all recommendations for computer desk brands and companies right now.

[tags]office furniture, home office, office desk, computer chair, computer desk[/tags]

Stop Barking And Get To Work!

The work-at-home lifestyle has its ups and downs. From a decade’s worth of experience, I can tell you that achieving that vaunted balance between work and family life is a real trick. Configuring a home office for optimal productivity is key. I’m not just talking about setting up your workplace with the right computer desk and ergonomic seating. I’m talking about the whole enchilada, from lighting, to acoustics, to location, to a basic semblance of sanity.

With a free form schedule, staying on task can be a daily struggle. In my case, I’m easily distracted and so are our dogs. Yip and Yap will bark at anything that moves. The dogs’ distraction quickly leads to my distraction. After fifteen seconds of rapid-fire barking, I can’t help but yell at them to clam up.

This drove me nuts until I stumbled on a simple solution to get the dogs to stop barking. I can now work for hours on end without being disturbed by our four-footed friends.

I love the daytime lighting in my home office, because there’s rarely a need to turn on a bulb. All of my workday lighting needs are filled by natural lighting. The southern and western walls of my office are filled with windows. While this is especially nice in the spring and fall when I can work with the windows open, it took a good bit of time to find the right combination of shades and position the computer monitors to avoid glare.

Unfortunately, the nighttime lighting is less than optimal. I’m still trying to work out the right combination of floor and desk lamps.

And then there’s the basic semblance of sanity…

While my office is somewhat out of the flow of household traffic, it’s still close enough to the action that there are plenty of distractions. There’s little soundproofing between the office and the kitchen and the distance between my desk and the refrigerator is just a bit too short. Truth be told, I’ve given serious thought to building another small outbuilding in the backyard to get my office completely out of the flow. I’ve become so enamored with the idea that I’m working on a book proposal about home office sheds.

Life imitates art. Or is that vice versa?

[tags]home office, self employed, self employment, distraction, ergonomic seat[/tags]

Home, Sweet Office

I’m sure there are plenty of folks in the Gnomiverse who have home offices. Whether they are an extension of another office (telecommuting) or you are truly in business for yourself, home offices are a contemporary phenomenon. Home offices can range from a nook-in-a-corner to a fully dedicated space in your domicile. One of my clients, a work-from-home professional couple, have taken it a step further and built their home office in a manner that truly delinates it from the rest of their house. It even has its own entrance from outside. This is handy when it comes to IRS home office guidelines and the tax deductions that come with it.
Continue reading “Home, Sweet Office”

Wrapping Up Loose Ends (And Wires)

I took a look at the tangle of wires that hang underneath the desks in my home office and had an incredible sense of deja vu (all over again). It’s been an entire year since I vowed to do something about the out-of-control wires, and I haven’t gotten off my duff to do anything about it. That’ll all change this week, as I’ll be on my hands and knees, implementing a cable management solution.

Continue reading “Wrapping Up Loose Ends (And Wires)”