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Design Tips for a Productive Home Office

Design Tips for a Productive Home Office
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Home is where the heart is, and sometimes even where the office is. Setting up a home office is no joke. It is essential to have a good environment in the home office so as to ensure maximum productivity. Certain criteria’s must be kept in mind and followed strictly while designing the office at home. Though there are some key rules that should be followed, they can be adapted and changed according to personal specifications. It does not matter if you have a large room that you are converting into an office or a tiny corner of your house or simply moving into the basement to start work. These tips will help you in setting up a productive office almost anywhere.

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  1. It is very important to have a comfortable chair that does not strain your back and a complimenting table to go with it.
  2. A proper section for the computer should form an essential part of the table so that you can protect your machine and clean it easily. One can choose from various sets depending upon the size of the home office and individual preferences. If your work requires you to seat clients then it would help to have the same color scheme chairs as the table.
  3. Place your work station in a comfortable and airy area that has good natural lighting. Having a lamp on your desk top could help in reducing the strain on your eyes. Make sure that the place is not humid and gloomy since working under such conditions will not only hamper your productivity but also harm your electronic equipment.
  4. Keep a paper pad on the table and a pen stand with pens as well as pencils and erasers handy. Stumbling around for something to write on or something to write with will waste time as well as thought. It is very essential to be completely organized when working from home.
  5. There are certain colors that stimulate your brain in a certain way. Oranges and yellow hues are said to make one hungry and this could be the reason why more and more restaurants are using it in their schemes. Choose a color that is not too gaudy so that it does not distract you. Keeping in mind the climate and the heat try selecting a neutral color that will soothe you in summer and provide warmth in winters. Lemons, pastel blues and creams are good color choices.
  6. Try placing a nice painting or some other bright and happy picture to keep your spirits high. Gloomy and abstract designs tend to have an adverse effect on the mind and so affect its creativity.
  7. It is essential that all files and other work related papers are kept near the work station so that in does not entail walking to far off points to go through them. A filing cabinet that suits your requirement can be chosen for this purpose.
  8. Lastly it is greatly beneficial to choose an area away from noise and other disturbances while setting up a home office since working in a peaceful and undisturbed environment will add greatly to productivity.

By keeping these simple tips in mind you will be able to set up a nice home office that will be a steady step for you to establish and increase your productivity.

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Vishal P. Rao runs the Work at Home Forum, an online community of those who work from home.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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