How I Stay Focused on Work from Home Days


On a rare occasion, I’ll find myself with a day with few or no obligations. No obligations to drive my kid to a school function. No obligation to work or do laundry or to go to the grocery store.  Then, it hits me.

Oooh!  I can go see that movie I’ve wanted to go see. I can do a thorough cleaning of our guest room. I can go shopping. I can nap.I can write Thank You notes I owe. I can… aaaaaaaaaah!!
Too many choices!
Sometimes this happens. And I empathize with the issue of not being able to focus.

Here are some tips  (in addition to remembering to brew and drink coffee) I’ve gathered over the last few years that help me focus– especially when I’m working from home during a snow day because truly, I do have some obligations when I’m working from home and I need to get things done. I start work earlier when I’m working from home and therefore, build in more breaks to accommodate various distractions.

  1. Set appointments on my calendar for bathroom breaks and lunch.
  2. Set an additional 2 appointments for 10 -15 minutes each. The first appointment is to remind me to get up from my desk and stretch. The second appointment is for me to spend 10 minutes playing with my kid and my cat.
  3. Sometimes, if I’m super unmotivated- I’ll add in additional reminder appointments to ask me– Have you send so-and-so this? Have you posted that?

And, that is how I remembered that I wanted to post a blog today! But.. my timer says my break is done and I need to get back to work.

One month until I leave for Executive Secretary LIVE in London, and I can’t wait to meet so many amazing people!

Administrative Professionals Week 2009

Happy APW 2009!

It’s hard to believe that I started this blog almost four years ago. Since then, I have earned my Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) rating and my Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) rating. I have had the opportunity to serve in several leadership roles for my local IAAP chapter. I have also traveled to regional and national conferences related to the profession.

In more than one posting I have mentioned how important I believe our profession is to the success of firms all over the world. We take on the bulk of the hand-offs, unwanted phone calls and other time-consuming minutiae that eats away at the productivity of the management team. [Sometimes, the management team does it to themselves…but that’s another blog.] I have also written about the many challenges of the admin-executive partnership -as Joan Burge calls it.

Today, I write as one of many administrative professionals- working in the temporary employment field. I am in the midst of learning a tough lesson about longevity. My last employer down-sized and then moved out of town. Prior to that, I had a great position working a few days from home and a couple days in the office. But then I experienced the death of a parent and continued to struggle with the fact that the work was not traditional administrative support, so I decided to move back to a job downtown.

During my interviews, I have been honest about the reasons for my change in companies, but it has definitely impacted whether I even get considered- certifications or not. There is not a right or wrong answer. It just is. Our economy is in tough shape and I have to be willing to tough it out.

I am extremely grateful that I have continued to receive temporary assignments daily. I know that the key to success for me is to be able to get my foot in the door and demonstrate what a great administrative professional can do for a company. I am also thankful to my friends and peers that have continued to forward company contacts and job-postings that they think will work for me. They know me and my personality. It is just a matter of time before the tide turns in my favor.

In the meantime, I wish all administrative professionals the very best during “our” week. Enjoy the recognition. If you are not working full-time or working temporary assignments as I am doing, keep the faith. The most professional and positive among us will be the first to benefit when the economy picks back up.