John Pasciuti's Blog
In recent years, the number of employees who work from home, at least some of the time, has increased to about 25 percent. This trend shows that companies are warming up to the idea of letting their employees work wherever they’re comfortable, and that a growing number of people are working on a freelance or contract basis.
Working from home, despite its many advantages, does pose some obstacles to productivity. Thus, time management and daily task setting are key to being as productive or more productive than you would be at the office.
In today’s article, we’re going to help you learn how to become more productive when you work from home so that you can meet your daily numbers while still enjoying the perks of working remotely.
One of the most difficult aspects of working from home is sticking to a schedule throughout the day. The home poses several distractions--kids, pets, TV, the refrigerator. Aside from the distraction factor, it’s easy to procrastinate when you don’t have a boss lurking around. There are several measures you can take while working at home to counter these factors.
First, make sure you set some ground rules for yourself and your family while working from home. Make sure everyone knows your work hours, including yourself. Stick to those hours by creating a daily routine. Everyone is different when it comes to keeping a planner.
Some people keep a simple task list in a notebook, while others create intricate planners that are color-coded and rife with stickers and reminders. Regardless of your method, make sure you have a physical reminder in front of you during the day that reminds you what you should be doing.
Routine is key to managing your time. While there will always be things that come up that we don’t plan for, having a foundation for your day is vital. Starting each day the same way is a good way to help yourself stick to your schedule. Some people go for a walk each morning, while others dive right into their work. Whichever you choose, make sure you do it consistently.
Creating a productive environment
Try to work in an office or spare room away from kids or pets and let your family know that you need to focus when you’re there.
If possible, set your phone to silent or “do not disturb” mode. Remove any distractions from the room that will tempt you to procrastinate. Things like the TV and snacks can easily steal your attention.
However, in this day of social media, it’s equally important to make sure you avoid procrastinating online as well. If you find yourself subconsciously navigating to Facebook or Reddit, try setting up an extension on your browser that limits your time on those sites to 10 minutes per day to help you stay on track.
A productive environment doesn’t have to be a barren one. Choose decorations and paint colors that work for you. You’ll want to feel comfortable in your work environment, and one of the perks of working from home is being able to customize any way that you like.
Finally, remember to take breaks. Many people who are able to work from home have a tendency to put work off until the last minute and then work feverishly to get everything done.
Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.
Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.
Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.
A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.
Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.
If you’re hunting for a new home and have come across one that fits all of your requirements and more, it can seem like the only thing you can do is make an offer and wait.
However, your first choice could also be another buyer’s dream home. And, if a higher bid isn’t feasible, you have to find other ways to win over the seller. One way this can be achieved is through writing a letter to the owner of the home.
If you’re bidding on your dream home, writing a letter the the owner can be anxiety inducing. Choosing what to reveal and finding the right words can be scary, even for the most seasoned writer.
So, in this article we’re going to walk you through writing a letter to a seller to give you the best possible chance of winning the bid for a new home.
Tell them why you love their home
If you’ve fallen in love with certain aspects of the home, there’s a good chance the sellers did too. Be personal in your explanations. Rather than just say you love the location, mention that it is a perfect distance to walk to the playground with your children or pets. This will help buyers better understand you and your story.
If you have family who lives nearby, or if the home has features that can greatly improve the life of you, your family, or your pets, be sure to mention this in the letter as well.
Don’t press or plead, just be polite
It can seem desperate and off-putting to receive a letter pleading with you to sell your home to someone. So, when you’re writing your letter and you come to the end, simply thank the buyer for their time and for reading, compliment them once more, and wish them luck in their new home.
Revise and review
It can be tempting to send your letter immediately after writing it, especially if writing is you don’t like writing in general. However, it’s always a good idea to revise. I suggest writing your letter one night, then reading it again the next evening to give yourself time and distance from it--this way you’ll be reading it with fresh eyes and will be able to find any wording that sounds strange or confusing.
It’s also a good idea to run your writing through a free proofreader like Grammarly. And, finally, there is no substitute for having an editor. Ask one of your friends or family members to read the letter and give you feedback.
Stand out from the crowd
There are a few things you can include in your letter to set you apart from other potential buyers. Including a family photo will help the sellers put a face to the names you mention in the letter.
It can also be helpful to print and mail the letter, rather than sending it electronically. Since we so rarely receive a physical copy of a letter these days (unless it’s from a bill collector), it can be nice to receive something positive in the mail for a change.
143 Walnut Street, Framingham, MA 01702
The right home security system can make a profound difference for your peace of mind and make your home an unappealing target -- but do you have to go with a conventional (and expensive) alarm service? In the past, homeowners had few choices, but now, if you own a home and like to DIY you have more options than ever before when it comes to home security. Is a DIY home security system right for you -- or are you better off with the traditional model? Consider these factors as you determine the best way to protect your home.
DIY vs. Conventional Alarm Services
While the installation and monitoring may differ, both DIY and conventional systems share some factors; both offer wireless connections and monitoring points, both improve the overall security of your home and both can be installed in a day or less. The differences lie in the overall cost, commitment and approach to monitoring.
A DIY Alarm Service is Right for You If:
You are handy: If you can do basic home repairs and set up your DVD player or smart-home technology, you have the skills needed to install a DIY alarm system. Alarms used to be very complex and require electrical knowledge. Today's systems are fast and easy to install with the tools you probably have on hand.
You're wary of contracts: One of the primary consumer complaints about alarm companies in general involves not service, but contracts. Being locked in for a long period of time takes away some of your flexibility. If you move and you have a monitoring contract, you either have to pay to have your system relocated or continue paying for a service you no longer use. Since DIY systems don't require equipment rental or contracts, they are more flexible and forgiving.
You're on a budget: When you work with a DIY brand, you can buy just what you need, and you'll spend less on equipment and installation. A national brand will charge you for equipment, installation and even ongoing protection fees, making them a more expensive option.
Since the actual monthly service is very similar, most families benefit from opting for DIY systems. There are a few exceptions. If you have a very large home with many entry points, are unable to do the work needed to install the system or you need more monitoring features, then a traditional system might work. Seniors with limited mobility may have more needs than a growing family or a single individual, and may prefer the all-in-one service offered by a conventional brand. Anyone else can benefit from the low costs and convenience of DIY security systems.
Reviewing your options allows you to choose the best possible alarm service for your home and family -- and the one that has the perfect balance of cost, commitment and coverage to protect your home.