How to Stay on Target

Posted on July 4, 2011


Guest Post by Christine Speno @

Those of us who are self-employed or working virtually may have a particular hard job of staying on task.  This is especially true if you work from a home office.  I know for me, I have to set boundaries so that I don’t let distractions interfere with my work schedule.  So here are some ideas to keep you from going crazy while working from home.

  • Get some exercise to start your day – a short walk or bike ride will do it
  • Eat something for breakfast – even a piece of fruit, some yogurt or toast to get your brain charged.
  • Get dressed – and I don’t mean in sweats or a bathing suit (a particular challenge if you live in Florida like I do and have a pool outside your door!)  You don’t have to wear a business suit, but do try to be somewhat professional.  You never know when a call will come in requiring you to run out the door to a spontaneous meeting.  Being prepared as best you can help make that less stressful.
  • Close the laundry room door – leave the laundry for a non-work day.
  • And on that note, if you can be in control of your own schedule, do set aside a part of a day (I do mine on Monday) to get caught up on personal errands, banking and straightening up your office and your home.  If you don’t see that messy living room tornado left over from the weekend, it won’t bother you during the rest of the work week when you’re trying to work.  Make your “to do” list for work projects and goals during this time too.  A whiteboard works well for this or evening a legal pad.  Be sure to make it visual so you see it frequently.
  • Try posting an inspirational quote where you see it every day.  See some suggestions on my “great quotes” link on my blog, or check out my post on Inspiration from June 27, 2011.  Suggested link:
  • Keep lunch time and snacks time on a schedule.  This is important not only for your focus, but to keep your brain charged.  If you have to close your eyes for a few minutes and just breathe in some fresh air.
    • And try fragrance to refresh your brain with an herb – a mint, lavender or rosemary plant can help.  They’re all easy to grow and small starter plants are available in most garden centers.  A plant will also brighten up your office and these herbs, among others, have been credited with improving concentration and memory levels.  Mint is probably the easiest way you can refresh:  sip a mint tea, chew some mint gum or just inhale some mint candies or better yet, eat a few! 
    • Make your office comfortable – view, chair, music,  – whatever you need to make it a place that you want to be will allow you to be more productive.
    • And last, but not least, have your resources handy.  If you have to go looking for them, you’re likely to get distracted.  Keep a bookcase nearby your work area with references, cell phone charger, notepads, pencils, or whatever you find you use often throughout the day.

If you have other ideas that work for you as you strive to Stay on Target, I’d like to hear about them so leave a comment or connect with me on my blog — http://

Thank you to Sherry Zander for inviting me to “guest post” on her great blog, Writing4Effect.  Look for more soon!!

Christine Speno is a freelance writer, project manager, editor, and blogger.  She writes a semi-monthly column for The St. Augustine Record about Palm Coast/Flagler County, Florida.  She formerly served as editor and layout designer for The Palm Coast Neighborhood News.  Prior to that, she worked for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach as Associate Director of International and Graduate Admissions.  She has many years of experience as a writer and editor, having worked in the legal field as well as higher education.  She has a B.S. in Sociology from Missouri Southern State University, Joplin, Missouri, and did her graduate work at UCF in English/Technical Writing.  Find her on her blog at