How To Be More Productive When You Work From Home.

I live in Connecticut and this season has to be the hottest on record. I have two sons — one home from college and another home from high school. They both worked over the summer at different jobs, but they are now enjoying the remnants of the summer at home. Even though they are older — they still want attention (or at least I think they do). They can watch TV, read a book, play Steam on their PC's, swim, or stand outside and roast in our yard. I am also working from home today.

Maybe you do too. You have to deliver a number of items today. You have to be on emergency conference calls. You have to manage your team remotely. You might even have to handle weather-related emergencies.

But it’s tough when you’re in a non-work environment. Everything is beckoning to you — the TV, the couch, the kitchen, the kids, surfing the web, your spouse/partner . . . EVERYTHING.

So here are some tips to help you focus, accelerate, and get more done at home than you do at work:

1. Sequester yourself. If you don’t have a home office, find a room with a door and close it. Set a rule — if the door is closed, you are “not in the house”. If the door is open, feel free to come in and say hello.

2. Develop an ‘express’ plan. Get a piece of paper and list all the things you need to do on it in 60 seconds. Then prioritize your list in 60 seconds. Don’t worry, you can add additional things later, but for now, speed is of the essence. Now you have a plan for the day.

3. Work 50 minute hours. Start at the top of the hour and focus on one (or more) items on your list. At the 50 minute mark, stand up, open the door to your office, and go say hello to the family. Or grab a glass of cool ice tea. Or surf the web. Just separate yourself from your work for 5-10 minutes so you can recharge.

4. Reach out to your team strategically. You should call your team at three stages of the day — in the morning, at 1 PM and at 5 PM. Since you’re not in close proximity, you still need to give them the sense you are working together and you’re watching. It’s not a vacation day.

5. Use technology. If you have Skype and a webcam, use it! Leverage email, IM, Outlook, GoToMeeting, etc. to better communicate with your team, your boss, and your clients. Ask your family to stay off the phone (if you only have one line) — and mix communicating with your cell phone — but remember to charge it when not in use. Some places are choosing to use app integrations to make communications between other coworkers and clients much easier and efficient. Things like Slack integration from Salesforce are rising in popularity.

6. Have a virtual lunch meeting. Get your client, your vendor or your staff together and all get on a conference call to get a status, charm the client or direct a vendor. But adding the fun of a virtual lunch makes it much more informal and fun.

If you stick to these tips, you’ll find you will be much more productive, stay in touch with your team, and still have time for yourself to practice watching your electric bill rise due to your AC use.

What do you do when you work at home to be more productive?

Hey CEO, Are You Killing Yourself At Work?

You work hard. You come in early, stay late, and work over the weekends. Of course . . . you're the CEO (or the President, CFO, CMO, CIO, you get the idea). You constantly think about work, even in your sleep.

But you have the primo position, the unbelievable pay, the power to move mountains, and your future already written in stone.

But it's not enough. So you do more. And more. And more.

But what falls by the wayside? Your health? Your spouse or partner? Your kids? Your close relationships?

Yes, you might allocate an hour or two for them a week — but is it enough?

When is work enough when you keep moving the bar upwards every time you reach it?

Let's check out California-based Mohamed El-Erian, when he shocked the financial world when he announced his resignation as chief executive of PIMCO earlier this year:

"The 56-year-old said the "wake-up call" happened when he was arguing with his daughter about brushing her teeth and she left to fetch a piece of paper from her room. "It was a list that she had compiled of her important events and activities that I had missed due to work commitments," he wrote. "The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade. "I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-do. "But it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point ... I was not making nearly enough time for her." (read more here)

Is money enough? How much do you really have to make? Is there a figure you're striving for? Are you reaching for the 'Rockefeller' stratosphere in wealth, power, and influence? Is it worth it?

Or let's see what billionaire Agit Agarwal did:

"He and his family decided to donate 75% of their wealth to charity after meeting Bill Gates, the world’s richest person. Agarwal has a fortune of $3.3 billion, where Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp., has a fortune valued at $84.7 billion. “What we earn must be returned for the greater good of society,” the 62-year-old said at an event yesterday. “Life is not only about wealth.” (read more here).

Many times in life, one needs to step back, re-assess and prioritize the important things in life.


"Because we get so caught up in the race, we forget there's a finish line, and miss all the fun of running."

So take time out today (or even take a day off this week) to better understand the REAL important things in your life. Start putting them at the top of your list.

I work with many C-Level and Executive leaders to re-orient their lives and focus on what's really important. Drop me a line and I'll show you how.

Top 3 Mistakes Made In Family Businesses.

I run Multi-Generational Peer Review Groups — and boy do we have fun discussing many issues inherent with family businesses — especially ones where the younger sons/daughters work for the older parents. And the parents have one foot out the door into retirement, yet they feel they need to keep active and still make decisions. Or they are still working 60-70 hours a week and never delegate key responsibilities to their sons/daughters.