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How to Create a Productive Work-at-Home Schedule

How to Create a Productive Work-at-Home ScheduleWorking from home seems incredibly convenient for many people who are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs or taking a telecommuting position. However, home is also the place with all the possible distractions to derail your working schedule. Many people who start working from home have confessed that it took them a long time to create a productive work schedule and to stick to it.

The problem with working from home is that we all tend to relax too much and find excuses to take a break from our tasks to grab a snack from the fridge, watch the afternoon news report or simply chat with family members. It is “just a 5-minute break” but they tend to extend to 10 minutes, a quarter of an hour or even half an hour. Suddenly, it’s 6 o’clock in the evening and you haven’t done even half of the tasks on your schedule.

So, what is the magic formula that keeps people working from home productive and focused on their tasks? There is no magic formula, but self-discipline and dedication to finishing every project on time and without having to work extra hours. Here are some simple and actionable tips to help you create your own productive schedule:

1. Get Dressed For Work
Even if you simply go to the next room to start working, take the time to put on a shirt and business trousers and look presentable, as if you were going to office. It may not seem as a big deal, but it gets you in the mindset that you will be starting a working day.

By comparison, loitering in pajamas will make you feel more inclined to take breaks and lose time with various distractions. Plus, if a potential customer wants to have a quick video call with you, it will be quite awkward postponing that call for 10 minutes until you dress yourself properly.

2. Find Your Most Productive Times of the Day
Everyone has their own biorhythm – some of us are more productive early in the morning, others late at night. It is important to know when you are most productive so that you schedule the most important tasks of the day, which need all your focus, in that period.

As you work from home, you have the benefit of creating your own flexible schedule – you can start your work day at 6 am and finish it by early afternoon, or start later in the day and finish in the evening.

3. Keep a Daily Schedule Visibly Displayed in Your Home Office
Having a written or printed schedule of the tasks to do makes you more accountable than simply keeping them committed to memory. Once a task is completed, you can tick it off and by the end of the day look at the schedule which is fully dealt with.

Many entrepreneurs state that they did not really become fully productive until they had to confront that printed schedule with unfinished tasks on it at the end of the working day.

4. Get Out of the House
Yes, you work from home, but you do not (and should not) stay at home all day long. Soon, you will become bored and isolated from other people. Instead, take your laptop and go to your favorite café or eatery and work from there. You may meet other people like you, working from home, forge a friendship and help each other with useful tips on productivity and time management.

5. Leave Work behind at the End of the Day
As a popular song in the ‘80s stated “when the working day is done, girls just wanna have fun”. This should be your motto – once you have finished your daily tasks, shut the door to your home office and stop worrying or thinking about business issues. Relax, spend quality time with your family and recharge your batteries for a new busy day.

As you can see, none of these tips are difficult to follow through. You just need to be disciplined enough to do them every day, until they become second nature to you.

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The Best Management Tools for Home-Based Businesses

The Best Management Tools for Home-Based BusinessesAny skilled worker needs the right tools. And any successful businessman needs the right software and apps to manage their daily activities. Even if your business is simple, or just at the beginning, you still need to look for ways to automate repetitive tasks, set up reminders for important events and keep track of your work in progress.

Yes, even home-based business owners should use management tools, because as your business grows you need to be familiar with them. At a point, you may acutely need such tools. Wouldn’t it be great if you already know how to use and take advantage of their features, instead of spending valuable time learning your way around them?

Today we will present you the most comprehensive and useful business tools for small and home-based businesses. These tools will teach you how to manage your time and work in an effective manner, preparing yourself for the moment when you have to manage a much larger and busier company.

Without further ado, we believe you should try at least one of these business management software suites:

1. Apptivo
Apptivo is an affordable all-in-one business suite which is adapted to small, medium and large companies alike. What do you get when you join Apptivo? First of all, an integrated virtual workplace where you can keep track of customer orders, supplies purchases and invoices you issue your clients. At the same time, you can look over your expenses and cash flow and get an accurate picture of the financial situation of your business.

Once your home-based business grows and you hire contractors and employees, you will continue to manage projects through Apptivo, using its project management and collaborative tools. To make the deal even sweeter, Apptivo can be fully integrated with PayPal, Dropbox, G Suite and Authorize.Net.

2. OfficeBooks
OfficeBooks is the software tool you need to keep all your finances under control and manage your quotations and offers in a professional manner. OfficeBooks includes:

⦁ Inventory control
⦁ Professional quotation generator
⦁ Professionally organized business contact list
⦁ Credit card payment acceptance
⦁ Various financial reports

With the help of all these features, you will never lose track of a single offer sent to a potential customer or invoice issued for selling your products and services. At the same time, the professional report generator will help you prepare your taxes and prepare financial reports for banks and other potential investors.

3. 1CRM
Client relationship management is something you need to learn from the first days as a business owner. Customers need to be kept happy and loyal and this is done by meaningful communication and effective marketing strategies. With the help of 1CRM, you will be able to conduct your customer care and marketing activities like a pro.

Its key features are:

⦁ Customer order management
⦁ Marketing automation
⦁ Sales tracking
⦁ Customer care (recurring services, bug reporting, knowledge base)
⦁ Calendar and daily agenda management

By taking full advantage of 1CRM and its features, your marketing and customer support work will be at the highest level, enabling you to offer your customer the professionalism they expect from you.

4. Zoho
Zoho is your best friend if you want to become a pro at managing your online store. Its latest feature is Zia, an artificial intelligence-based sales assistant, which will welcome and guide your customers through the purchase process.

Apart for this innovative CRM feature, Zoho offers you a complete virtual office including: office suite (texts, spreadsheets, and presentations), collaborative tools for multiple users and business email accounts.

5. Producteev
Never forget a deadline and prioritize your tasks like an experienced CEO – these are just two of the key features of Producteev, a time management and productivity tool every business owner needs. With Producteev, you can set your daily agenda, create and manage projects, individual tasks and add labels for various activities.

In short, you will put order in your activities, know exactly what you have to do each day and deliver each project or order on the due date, to your customers’ satisfaction.

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