I have been working from home for the better part of a decade, and throughout that time I’ve done quite a lot of changes to my routine, access to resources, and setup. I’ve tried countless products and services to make the job easier and, thinking back on it, there are a few I wish I had from the beginning.
With this article, I’d like to share the main tools I use on a day-to-day basis to make my work easier, more productive, and profitable. These are the items I couldn’t do without and I believe could be a major game changer for those of you that want to make their efforts a success.
- Virtual Mailboxes
A PO box online address is a godsend for those that are including online sales with their work or side hustles. This handy service works like a normal PO box, but you’re updated with what’s in the mail through status updates and images to your phone. It saves you time from running to the post office and can be used to make your business appear more professional.
- Google Drive
Unexpected disruptions (like the computer shutting down, for good) is gut-wrenching, but even more so when you haven’t backed up your data. Google Drive to the rescue! This free service comes with enough cloud storage for the main work-related items. Install the Drive app and have it automatically do backups each night, so your info is always safe and sound.
- Weekly Planner & Calendar
Though I’m into tech, I go old school with my scheduling. A paper weekly planner and a big calendar are what I use to keep track of my day-to-day, weekly, and monthly projects. I color coordinate them for easy scanning and processing. Though, if you do want to use tech then I’d recommend either Remember the Milk, Evernote, or Google Calendar to keep track of everything.
- Kindle (or Other Type of E-reader)
Distractions are a major disruption of your workflow. I’m a sucker for getting distracted with blog posts, news, and short stories. These aren’t a problem if I do them in my free time, though. What I’ve found to help “disconnect” and not feel guilty, is to use an e-reader for all the interesting pieces I collect throughout the day. An hour or two later into the night to review what I missed, not only keeps me informed and educated but also helps me sleep!
- Good Net Connection
It’s a pain that you’re stuck with limited options for Internet services, but you’ve got to grit your teeth and take what you’re given. If the provider offers a better service, then I say take it. Better yet, call them and negotiate better deals. This way you can keep the cost low but speed tip-top, which is the second most important thing when working from home (outside of the computer or phone).
- Taxes, Invoicing, and Payment Processing
What good is doing all the work if you’re not getting paid? Services and programs like QuickBooks make it easy to send invoices and handle your taxes. Payment processing services and apps like Paypal, Venmo, and Square makes it easy to get paid. It will also depend on what you have installed to do the payments on your website or preferred platform.
When I come to think about all the time I spent exploring different options, it makes me a little mad that I wasted so much time. The reality is that I only needed a few, core products/services. You, too, can streamline your work from home activities if you break it all down to the essentials.
What are your essentials in the home-based business?