Out of Office

Archive for the ‘At Your Convenience’ Category

Make working from home work for you

Many people look enviously at people who work from home, but they sometimes struggle when they are given the same opportunity. Working from home involves more than just a good Internet connection and a dedicated home office. That’s a good start, but it takes much more to make this successful – especially in the long term.

The article Make working from home work for you lists “13 home working must-haves”. Not surprisingly, a good Internet connection and a comfortable work space do make the list, but so do some other less obvious things.

Read the full article here.

How To Innovate With Distributed Teams

How To Innovate With Distributed TeamsThere’s a common belief that innovation and synergy are weaker in distributed teams, because people don’t bump into each other to spark great ideas. However, that’s not necessarily true. It is possible, as long as you overcome the natural “out of sight, out of mind” bias against your remote workers.

Listen to the episode here:


Working From Home – Is It The Future?

There’s no question that working from home is growing in popularity, and obviously we’re big fans of it. Here’s an interesting infographic showing some statistics about how fast it’s growing:

Working From Home -- Is It The Future? by Staff.com
Staff.com – Connecting Great Companies with Global Talent

31 Simple Ways to Maximize Efficiency in Your Home Office

Maximize Efficiency in Your Home OfficeWorking from home gives you great flexibility, but also forces you to create your own systems, processes, and discipline. This can be a challenge for some people, especially because everybody is different. So there’s no one-size-fits-all system you can pull off a shelf and apply to your circumstances.

But this Lifehack checklist 31 Simple Ways to Maximize Efficiency in Your Home Office is a useful starting point. Look through this list and borrow what works for you when setting up your own system.

The Daily Routines of Out-Of-Office Geniuses

The Daily Habits of GeniusesIn this episode, we look at the daily working lives of great artists, writers, philosophers, and other geniuses – and apply them to Out of Office work.

Listen to the episode here:

Read the Harvard Business Review article, The Daily Routines of Geniuses, which we mention in this episode. That in turn is based on Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.

The Power of Habit – by Charles Duhigg

The Power Of HabitThis fascinating book combines three of my favourite elements: Practical ideas, backed by strong research, relayed by powerful stories.

Duhigg’s one big idea in the book is that our habits can be broken down into three factors: A cue that triggers the habit, a routine that we subconsciously follow, and a reward that motivates us. He contends that we can’t eliminate a bad habit, but we can change it by inserting a new routine between the cue and the reward. That’s a deceptively simple, but very powerful, idea.

Duhigg also describes the power of “keystone habits”, which can trigger many other habit changes. For example, for many people, getting fitter is a keystone habit, which leads to them adopting other unrelated positive habits as well.

If you’re looking for practical steps to change your habits, jump straight to the Appendix, which is a “how to” of the entire process.

I love that the book is backed by strong scientific research (the references take up a full third of the book). But Duhigg is a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist, so his writing is compelling and entertaining rather than dry and academic.

Buy the book from Amazon.com.

Our Productivity Platform

Our Productivity PlatformThere are lots of productivity tools, and in this episode we share our personal favourites. Everybody is different, so you’ll have to discover what works best for you. But we hope that by seeing what we use, you’ll be able to adapt them for your own productivity needs.

Listen to the episode here:

Download the MP3 file here

Subscribe to the podcast

Buy the book here

Links and Resources

Time Management:

Consuming Information:

  • Kindle: Easy to download samples; available across all my devices (via the Kindle app)
  • Pocket (formerly Read It Later): Allows you to bookmark interesting content for reading later
  • Buffer: Automate/schedule the publication of your tweets, posts and status updates on various social media platforms


  • Dropbox: Perfect for sharing files across all devices
  • Evernote: Similar to Dropbox, but better for tag, sorting and searching; it can also handle “snippets” better (e.g. photos, infographics, hand­drawn notes)
  • Google Drive: Started life as Google Docs, a Cloud-­based productivity suite (word processor, spreadsheet, slide deck, etc.); now a Cloud-­based file storage system


  • GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts: Use these for audio/video conferencing. Includes screen sharing, one-click recording, and other useful collaboration features
  • Skype: Use SkypeOut to call anybody anywhere; easier and more convenient than a landline
  • LastPass: Password manager that has a really useful feature to share passwords securely with others
  • Google Calendar / Tasks / Contacts: Google’s Cloud-­based calendar, to do list and people list

Personal Effectiveness:

  • Noom Coach: A fitness app on my phone, mainly related to healthy eating
  • BeyondPod and Podcast Addict: Podcast apps with some productivity features, like speeding up playback
  • iMindmap and Mindjet: Mind mapping software for recording in a more visual way

Wasted Time at Work: An Enlightening Infographic

Wasted Time in the Workplace - Infographic

The MoneyMaking Schemes of MOOCs

Please include attribution to OnlineSchools.org with this graphic.
How the MOOCs Will Make Money

25 Tips in 25 Minutes

StopwatchesIn this episode, we share 25 simple but effective tips for improving your Out of Office work style – in the areas of productivity, e-mail, reducing interruptions, flexibility, and online meetings.

Listen to the episode here:

Download the MP3 file here

Buy the book here (available at a reduced price for a limited time).

Summary of the 25 tips:

Set up your workspace with productivity in mind:

  1. Have a dedicated office
  2. Make it easy to switch between workspaces
  3. Create good ergonomics
  4. Make it a place where you like to work

Reduce interruptions:

  1. Turn off alerts for non-urgent communication
  2. Conversely, allow important and urgent messages to get through
  3. Educate people about your work day
  4. Schedule work for quiet times

Manage your time:

  1. Use the Pomodoro Technique or Work Sprints
  2. Set priorities for the day
  3. Track your time
  4. Focus on outcomes and results, and keep promises you make to others

Handle email efficiently:

  1. Don’t use your inbox as your To Do list.
  2. Separate processing from responding
  3. Unsubscribe from irrelevant newsletters, notifications, and mailing lists
  4. Use sub-folders to organise incoming mail

Run better online meetings:

  1. Have a pre-meeting checklist
  2. Know what you want to get from the meeting
  3. “Arrive” early, and be ready to start on time
  4. Get comfortable with the technology

Be flexible, but in a smart way:

  1. Set aside dedicated time slots each week for certain things
  2. Establish a routine for the day
  3. Set weekly goals rather than daily goals
  4. Mix it up
  5. Try different things, and break all the rules!

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