You read the first 11 strategies yesterday; here’s 15 more to keep your CLNC® business busier than ever.
Eliminate Distractions and Focus on Your Priorities
- Develop a routine just as you would in nursing. Triage cases and keep a priority list. Focus on important deadlines.
- Focus on the task at hand. Screen your calls during business hours. Be available for your attorney-clients, but use caller ID to prevent marketers, family and friends from taking up your valuable time. Turn off the TV. Keep the office door shut.
- Save personal matters for lunch time, after work or the weekend. Let friends and relatives know that just because you work from home does not mean you are available to play or chat during business hours. You have to set boundaries just as you would if you worked in someone else’s office, so you want to treat your home office with the same respect.
- Call a family meeting. Communicate positively to your significant other and children the importance of your CLNC® business and how their support during your work hours is essential to having more family time together. Working at home is a privilege that you and your family will want to continue.
- Enforce rules about interruptions. This can be tough, but generally everyone respects the rules. When the office door is shut, that means work is in progress.
- To maintain focus during intense case work, play soft classical music or sounds of nature.
“I set ‘working hours’ for myself each day and during that time do not allow myself to be distracted. The television is off, the landline phone ringer is off and I do not check personal email, social media or surf the web. No catching up with my girlfriends or mom on the telephone and absolutely no household chores! These ‘working hours’ may vary from day to day, but they are hours devoted specifically to my CLNC® business and my attorney-clients.”
Julie Somen-Becker, RN, BSN, CLNC
Manage Your Work Space and Your Paperwork for Maximum Productivity
- Create an organized, functional work space dedicated to your CLNC® business and use it only for business. This makes it easier to walk away from your business at the end of the day. Also keep the office your office and not part of a shared family meeting spot if at all possible. This practice allows for fewer distractions, less background noise and promotes information security.
- Make sure the layout of your office supports your productivity. For example, are the phone and office supplies within easy reach? Do you have enough room to work? Can you find things easily? Because you’ll spend a great deal of time in your office, make sure you enjoy the environment. Invest in file cabinets to avoid things stacking up on your desk.
- Before you end your day, organize your priorities and work space for the next day. This ensures your important case will be front and center for your review when you return to work.
- Take advantage of the latest home-office technology products to maximize your efficiency, decrease stress and save time. Purchase the best computer and word processing software that fit your business needs and budget.
Know When to Quit and Take Care of You
- If you’re going to work at home, you need strong boundaries between home and office. Make sure your office is just for work. When you leave work, it should be like leaving an outside office and going home. If you choose to work late hours or on weekends, that’s fine. But when you walk out of that office, close the door and GO HOME! Sometimes you have to turn your back on the cases piling up. This makes your work day more productive and your home life more pleasant.
- Be realistic. Don’t plan eight billable hours per day and get discouraged because you only worked six. When scheduling your work, include fun, family and quiet personal time. Allow for taking the kids to school, helping with homework, preparing meals, taking breaks and unscheduled interruptions. Use your time wisely. Always maintain good communication with your attorney-clients to avoid rush jobs.
“Your biggest challenge will be to not work 16 hours a day. Achieving balance when the work is in front of you 24/7 takes effort and commitment. Set a time each day to turn the computer off and get away from the office. Stay connected to your family and friends. No matter how long you work from home, this will always be a challenge. Even after seven years of being home based, my husband will come into my office space in the middle of the afternoon, and I’m still in my PJs, haven’t had breakfast or even washed my face. But I’ve gotten a lot of work done!”
Anne Koepsell, RN BSN, MHA, CLNC
- Make a commitment to own the business and not allow it to own you. Don’t allow work to flow over into family time. Walking away from a project can be difficult, but keeping on schedule allows you the freedom to do this. Develop a business plan and follow it, stay organized and allow yourself plenty of time to play.
- Have an office door you can close at the end of the business day. The ceremonial opening and closing of the door is important. Otherwise you’ll become addicted to the space and find some reason to be in there at all hours, including the weekend.
“I installed a glass door in my office. This enables me to treat ‘my space’ like a real office. I can close the door at night (and not feel too guilty) and open it in the morning when I want to start my work day. It also helps having glass because I can see what is going on in the rest of the house when the door is closed.”
Dorene Goldstein RNC, CLNC
- This is your business; no one is going to set your boundaries for you. Use rituals to differentiate between work and personal time. Work out, change clothes or leave to run an errand to transition from work to play. Take days off, enjoy the weekend and take vacations. Put them in your calendar at the beginning of the year and stick with this. Schedule a family day. Above all, have fun!
“Working from home has also allowed me to take better care of myself. I start my day with a walk with my dog, then I retreat to the basement to do my workout. After my shower, I am refreshed and ready to start working. Granted this usually isn’t until about 10:00am sometimes, but that’s the fun of working at home. If I had to go to an office or the hospital, I’m not sure if I would get a workout in.”
Dorene Goldstein RNC, CLNC
Use these 26 strategies for working effectively and efficiently from home, and you might outgrow your home office like Larry Frace.
“I love my 800 sq. ft. man-cave basement office which has served me well over the past 10 years. However, it is starting to get a bit cramped in the cave these days, so now I have my eye on a 3,200 sq. ft. cave right next door (through the woods and across an open field). Working from home has been great, but most great things seem to evolve into yet greater opportunities. Being a nurse is great, but becoming a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant evolved this caveman down a path of unlimited opportunities!”
Lawrence H. Frace, RN, CLNC
What a fun problem to have. Congratulations, Larry! Here’s wishing all CLNC® consultants a successful home office and a problem like Larry’s.
Special thanks to the CLNC® Pros Suzanne Arragg, RN, BSN, CDONA/LTC, CLNC; Dale Barnes, RN, MSN, PhN, CLNC; Joanne Fox Boschi,RN, MSN, CPNP, CLNC; Nikki J. Chuml, RNC, CCE, FMC, CLNC; Larry Frace, RN, CLNC; Margaret Gallagher, RN, BSN, MSN, CLNC; Dorene Goldstein, RNC, CLNC; Debra Good-Zeiner, RN, BSN, CLNC; Sandra Higelin, RN, MSN, CS, CWCN, CLNC; Jane Hurst, RN, CLNC; Annmarie Johnson, RN, BSN, CLNC; Camille Joyner, RN, CCM, CLNC; Anne Koepsell, RN, BSN, MHA, CLNC; Mildred Mannion, RN, BSN, CNOR, CLNC; Julie-Somen-Becker, RN, BSN, CLNC and Linda Turner, RN, MSN, NNP-BC, CLNC who have shared the strategies they use to work more effectively from home.
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share how you differentiate your CLNC® business from a hobby.
P.P.S. Click here to read Part 1 of this blog.