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How Small Are You Going To Be?

We all believe that bigger is better. We’re driven into debt lusting after bigger houses, bigger cars, and big screen TVs. Weíre told bigger dreams are more rewarding. Companies want bigger profits; managers want bigger salaries. Think big. Act big. Look big.Big thinking, while an ideal starting point for setting goals, also gets us into more trouble than we bargain for. It is not that there is anything inherently wrong with thinking big or wanting to be big, it’s just that operating a small business requires a new set of tools; a mindset of thinking small.Many small business owners get caught in a trap that they are starting small as the first step to becoming big. This may be the dream in some instances. Most big corporations started small, launched in a basement or garage and ended up being big. If that is the goal, then big dreams and big thoughts are essential. But for many, that is not whatís behind the desire to own a small business.In the course of any week, I receive dozens of calls from small business owners (and some big ones!) eager to discuss some aspect of their business. While each owner has their own unique business challenges, there is a common theme that weaves its way through most conversations. Many small business owners are struggling with the reality of their smallness, whether it is a small customer base, limited funds, staff shortages or hours in a day. The enthusiastic launch of their small business, with its dream of financial independence, a gentler lifestyle and relaxing by the pool, have given way to big demands. And the inability to satisfy those demands leave many stressed and frustrated. This wasnít the intended course of action, was it?Recently a business consultant approached me with the intention of helping me get big. His technique was to have me think as big as possible regarding the potential of this publication: Picture it as a national magazine with thousands of readers and advertisers. Feel what it would be like to be at the helm of such a big, successful enterprise, feel the corner office, the fancy car, the fame and recognition. Now come back to the present. I’d like to help you set a course for that goal.But like so many business consultants, he was struggling with the reality of his own small business. More importantly, he never asked me if I wanted to be big. I declined his seduction. (Parenthetically, never hire a business consultant who has never owned and operated a successful small business. They can spin the theory but lack the substance of experience.)Operating a small business is not about thinking corporately (big) with smaller goals. That’s like downsizing your home but wanting to keep all the furniture. Small business success depends on instilling a whole new paradigm of thought. It requires a totally different approach.Paramount is knowing exactly how big (actually, how small) you want to be. All too often the vision of a gentler lifestyle of downsizing to a more palatable pace of life is overshadowed by our conditioned mind set that says, think bigger. This sets actions in motion that have big consequences. Bigger always requires more time, energy and input. Bigger often comes at the expense of taking care of the smaller things, like customer service, balancing the books and quality time with friends and family.While financial shortfall is often cited as the cause of the high failure rate of small businesses, what befalls many great small business ventures is the lure to become big. After all, isn’t the goal of many small business owners to land the big account so that the pressures of being small can be eased? It is our cultural prerogative to strive for greatness and to measure a man or woman by their achievements. And the bigger the achievement the better.Unfortunately for our culture, business success is often rated according to size …as if that really mattered.

A Wolf In Sheeps Clothing – Identifying Scams That Look Like Legitimate Businesses

As I`ve mentioned in previous articles, there are a whole lot of various business opportunities for you, as a marketer, to get involved with. Before you do though, you need to be aware of the fact that there are also thousands of scams out there, posing as legitimate businesses. While a lot of these types of programs are totally on the up-and-up, some unscrupulous people will almost re-create the different types of program and scam you for all you`ve got.No matter which road you decide to take in your pursuit of becoming an online marketer, always do your due dilligence and check up on whatever program you are thinking of becoming part of.Here`s a list of some legitimate type programs that can actually be easily re-created by fraudsters:- Web Cramming -Promise: You get a free custom-designed website for a 30-day trial period, with no obligation to continue.Fact: Sometimes, people have been charged on their telephone bills or received a separate invoice, even if they never agreed to continue using the service after the trial period.Be Aware: Check your phone bills and challenge any charges you don’t recognize.- Internet Access Services -Promise: “You`ll get Free money, all you have to do is cash this check”Fact: You are at risk of being “trapped” into long-term contracts for Internet access or another web service. There`s usually huge penalty fees if you cancel, or terminate the service before the “agreed” period is up.Be Aware: If you receive a check, read both sides and look inside the envelope for any hidden conditions that you’re “agreeing” to if you cash the check. Also read your phone bill carefully for any unexpected or unauthorized charges that may be there.- Business Opportunities -Promise: “You can kiss your 9-5 job goodbye, be your own boss and rake in the cash.”Fact: There`s a lot of hype out there. Unfortunately, people believe all the wild promises about potential earnings, and end up investing big bucks into a program/opportunity that turns out to be a total flop.Be Aware: Always look for evidence to back up the earnings claims. Talk to others who`ve started businesses through the same company. Get all the promises, claims and conditions in writing.- Investments -Promise: Just make one investment in a day trading system or service and you’ll get huge returns.Fact: Any promised profits come with a risk. The bigger the profits, the bigger the risks.Be Aware: Talk to other people who invested through the program to find out what level of risk you’re assuming. Do a check on the promoter through state and federal securities and commodities regulators.- Internet Auctions -Promise: You can shop for a huge selection of products at great deals, from the comfort of your own home.Fact: A lot of people have received an item that is less valuable than promised, or at the very worst, nothing at all. Of course this is AFTER they`ve parted with their cash.Be Aware: When you`re bidding through an Internet auction, especially if it`s for a large quantity, or a valuable item, check out the seller first. Also, insist on paying with a credit card or using an escrow service. An “escrow service” will act as a “paid middle-man”. They will hold your cash until you get the merchandise, then they will pay the vendor, for a fee.As you can see, there are lots of ways to get scammed, so always make sure you ask a lot of questions, do background checks and scrutinize ALL contracts and papers before you sign anything at all.Remember, it may be easy just to sign up and wait for good things to happen, but it`s just as easy, if not easier, to lose your shirt.Anna-Marie Stewart

Tools for the ‘Sucstressed’

‘Sucstressed’. That’s the word I came up with as I was trying to find just the right words to describe my ideal client. Who are the ‘sucstressed’? They are successful business owners that are working solo.It’s a term, I think, that describes many small/home office business owners, micro business owners as well as professionals that are constantly on the go.When you are busy with your business, it can be daunting to stay on top of all the details…it’s daunting to even think about the details. Throw in a computer that won’t do what you want it to do, the inevitable technical issues, and a system that lacks organization and you’ve got the makings of a stressful situation.Working solo does not have to be synonymous with stress.I’m a micro business owner, and my only interest is success…so I’d like to share some tools I use that help me to not be ‘sucstressed’. Oh, by the way, they are all free.The Newbie ClubAre you and your computer good friends or just mere acquaintances?It’s fair to say that my computer is a key component in my business, and I think that’s pretty much consistent with other solo business owners. It can be frustrating to not know your way around a piece of equipment that you rely on to get things accomplished.The Newbie Club, http://www.newbieclub.com, is an ezine (I know, not another ezine) whose motto is “…you’re a newbie not a dummy”.One of the few I read entirely, the Newbie Club’s ezine contains about four or five tutorials, written in plain English. The articles de-mystify your computer. Whether you want an explanation on file extensions, a smoother download process, or simply grab some graphics off the web to wallpaper your desktop, this ezine will walk you through it step by step.The tutorials help me to become more comfortable with my computer because it helps me to understand, in plain English, the why behind what and how.Tek-TipsThe Newbie Club is great at providing general information. There will be times, though, when we need more specific information on a particular application…times when we need technical support.I belong to a great online community of my professional peers and help is never more than just a click away. Here’s an example, I was tweaking my website and needed some HTML code. After checking various other resources and not quickly finding what I wanted, I posted a question to my virtual assistant email list and within minutes, I had my answer and was able to do what I needed to do with my website.For many of us working solo, a free technical support resource is simply not available. If that’s your situation, Tek-Tips, http://www.tek-tips.com, could be the solution. Tek-Tips is an online, technical support forum where you can find or get answers to your technical challenges.A couple of the features I really like about Tek-Tips are the list of experts and email notification when an answer to your question has been posted. So if, for example, you are having a problem with an Excel application, you can go straight to a Tek-Tips Excel expert, post your question, and be notified by email when an answer is available or search the forums…possibly your question has already been answered.Membership to Tek-Tips is free for now. The site is easy to get around in because it is so well organized.Turbo NotesEffective organization is key for any business, even more so for small and micro businesses. We have a ton of things on our to do lists, (personal and business) notes jotted down on scraps of paper, or a running list in our heads.Whatever system you currently work with…pencil and paper, Outlook’s calendar and task lists, or the mental thing, Turbo Notes, http://www.turbonote.com, would be a great addition.These notes are the electronic version of Post-Its. They sit right on your desktop and can be used as reminders for things you simply must do and don’t want to forget. Like the paper version, they have a variety of colors (yellow, red, violet and green). So if you are into color coding your tasks, these work well.Unlike the paper version, with Turbo Notes, you can set an alarm on your notes. Instant messages can be sent to other Turbo Note users, and you can set up a hot-link to your often accessed files. Need to do some math? Turbo-Note also has a calculator function. I’ve only been using Turbo Notes a short time and already this little program has made a big impact.I’m sure there are other uses I haven’t discovered yet. What I do know is that Turbo-Note is easy to install, easy to use, and there is a free trial version.Trax TimeThere are solo business owners, believe it or not, that get so busy they lose track of time spent on billable work. The direct result is a loss of money. That’s not good business.Early on in my business I was introduced to this piece of software, Trax Time. Trax Time, http://www.traxtime.com, is your computer’s own personal punch clock.With Trax Time each client is entered as a project. Then it is a matter of punching in and out as you work with that particular client/project throughout the day.Trax Time has the ability to run a variety of reports. The reports can then be copied and pasted into other documents. For example, my statements are sent out via email. A report for the month is created, and three clicks later it’s pasted and on it’s way via email. I have my statement and the client has an accurate accounting of the time spent on his/her projects.Trax Time has many more useful features. The bottom line, time is money and for the solo professional Trax Time, or a similar software program, is a must.Smooth OperationOur businesses can operate smoothly and relatively stress free with economical and effective resources at our fingertips. All of the free resources in this article are just a mouse click away.

Stay At Home Work – Creating A Great Home Office Environment

When you begin any kind of stay at home work or home based business, it’s a good idea to put a lot of thought into your stay at home working environment. After that cubicle where you were forced to make good use of your space, it’s easy to spread out and become disorganized. Or worse, not put any thought at all into your stay at home work environment.For instance, your stay at home business office needs to have its own phone. In many homes, the phone is in a central location where it’s easily accessible. You will waste untold amounts of time and energy if you don’t have a phone for your stay at home job. This is a problem that’s easily solved with a remote phone that you keep in your stay at home business office.Too, it’s easy to let the office where you perform your stay at home job get cluttered and dirty. After all, you think, no one sees my stay at home work office but me. And that’s exactly why you need to make sure your stay at home office is neat and clean. It reflects professionalism which has a psychological affect of making you feel more professional, which makes it easier to take a more professional attitude toward your stay at home job.And it doesn’t hurt to decorate your stay at home work office so that it’s a pleasant place for you to be. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in your stay at home work office, so you want to feel comfortable and make it a place you enjoy being in. That enjoyment carries over to your stay at home job and can make it far more enjoyable. So paint the walls a cheerful color that makes you feel good and put up some posters or pictures. Invest in some houseplants. You’ll be amazed at how great a difference making even a few small changes in your stay at home work office will make you feel toward your stay at home job.If your stay at home work office must be in the basement of your home, you want to pay even closer attention to the lighting and humidity levels. A constantly damp environment isn’t good for office equipment–or you. It can cause you to be more susceptible to colds and allergies. So invest in a good dehumidifier to protect both yourself and your stay at home office equipment. And make sure you have great lighting. A basement can be a dreary, gloomy place for your stay at home office and good lighting can not only make it brighter and more cheerful, it also makes it a lot easier to see–which is important to performing your stay at home job more efficiently.Also, no matter where your stay at home work office is in your home, it needs to have good ventilation. This is especially important for a stay at home work office that’s in a basement. You need fresh air, and, again, so does your equipment. So invest in a good fan and/or air filter to ensure the air in the office where you do your stay at home work has the freshest air possible. Your stay at home work office equipment will work better and so will you.Finally, you also want to invest in some quality stay at home work office furniture. You want a good, comfortable chair and a good desk for your stay at home work office. Nothing’s worse than spending a lot of time in a chair that isn’t comfortable or a desk that’s too high or too low to allow you to do your stay at home work comfortably. Buying quality stay at home office furniture doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, either. You can pick up great furniture for your home office at liquidation sales and online auctions. So chose stay at home office furniture that fits both you and your budget.Charles Fuchshttp://www.charlesfuchs.comI grant permission to publish this article, electronically or in print, as long as the bylines are included, with a live link, and the article is not changed in any way.

To Have Your Own Product or Not To Have Your Own Product? That is the Question!

If you’ve been working online very long you’ve probably noticed different people will give you different advice for earning money and building your business.Some will say you have to have your own product to sell. Others will claim you absolutely *don’t* need your own product.So who’s right? In this case, I’d say both!I’m sure you’re wondering what I mean because that doesn’t seem to make any sense. How can both be right?It’s simple. Think of it this way. Let’s say you create innovative software to help internet marketers increase their profits by automating their businesses. You have a great product and your sales are decent.But, what about the potential customers who visit your website but don’t need your product because they don’t yet have a business? They’re still exploring the marketing world. Maybe they’re trying to find products to sell or learn how to build an online business. Away they go! After all, they don’t need software to help them with their business if they don’t have a business, right?Wouldn’t it make sense to offer other products to benefit them? Maybe you don’t write e-books about how to market on the internet, but other people do. Why not offer some of those at your website to entice your visitors?If they purchase an e-book today and learn how, where and what to market, don’t you think they’ll return to your website and order *your* software that will now help them automate their brand new business?Makes sense, doesn’t it? Having your own product is great. But offering other helpful resources to your customers builds your sales even more. You’ll make money from the e-book, then from your own product. Two sales to a visitor who almost left!Offering products and resources that compliment your own products makes your website an invaluable resource for your customers.This is why so many internet marketers say you *need* multiple streams of income. There are those who swear by it. And maybe they’re right.

Really, Work at Home?

Why would anyone really want to work at home? I sure wouldn’t unless the plan for only for a short while. If you have a real job and you do it at home the interruptions, self discipline grind, the irrelevant phone calls tied in with those soap opera’s normally wipe out most people that try. Shouldn’t we be thinking about a plan that would get us out of the rat race forever and do that kind of work at home?Residual income is the real solution if you don’t have enough money at work generating a full income for you. Doing work and selling it off to make money at home is only a temporary solution. Home networking is the key issue.We get tired and old. There’s an ole saying “yesterday I was like you and tomorrow you’ll be like me” time is short so let’s get free of the working from repetitive long term work. To make money at home isn’t difficult; the key is to find a home based business opportunity that establishes an income that goes on even when you’re not working and without any employee’s. Now you’ve got something.Multiplying yourself through others is the path to major income and a residual income. Yes you still work but not under constant pressure and rigidity. We want to have time to explore our full potential’s in life, spent real meaningful time with our family and friends.Whether you’re a wholesale distributor, network marketer, or doing affiliate marketing your choice should have on the top of the list a compensation plan that rewards you for building a retailing and wholesaling network.Surely you understand that you as person can only do so much, you need to multiply and leverage yourself and time through others and you don’t need a bunch of employee’s with all the headaches and associated expenses to do that. So, if you’re going to work at home build an on going income not just more work.

Are You The Boss Or The Employee Of Your Business?

I remember when I was working, back in 1996, I was a totally lazy person. If my boss ordered me to do something, I listened to what he said, but in my heart, I kept complaining that I needed to find a new job with a better employer.All I thought about was getting a better job, with better pay, in a better environment.However, I never thought about it from my bosses point of view, until I became my own boss.******Here is what I remembered about him…He said “Henry, you need to be able to expand your boundary, if you would like to become very successful.”"I see you have great potential, but you lack ambition to get to where you want to go.”*******I remembered that he was always busy talking to clients, busy improving the store condition, and busy organizing work for the employees.He was also busy reminding me to finish my work on time. He set deadlines and expected me to meet them each and every time.I could feel that whenever he failed to meet a deadline he was very frustrated and disappointed with his own performance.Once we finalised a project he would treat us to dinner. However, the next day, he would start a new project again without even slowing down.Working with him, lead me to understand that his success was based on discipline and hard work, not just a type of luck that everybody is hoping for.Here is how I started…As you may have noticed, I started my Internet business in 1999.During that time, I kept finding many good leaders in Internet marketing. I joined one opportunity after the other.But nothing worked at all :-( I joined several Multi Level Marketing programs which I failed at, and even lost over $10,000 calling up leads as I had been taught on the tele-conference. When I saw one guy earning $10,000 in 3 days, I joined his biz-opportunity. When I failed to produce any results, I found what I thought was a better business opportunity.Failure after failure, I almost gave up the idea of so-called ‘work at home opportunities’. I began to think that may be Internet business was not for me.It brought me to the point where I was thinking about my past employers, who had taught me how to be disciplined and how to push my limits.I was thinking about the real reason why I had failed. It was not because it didn’t work, but because I hadn’t developed my own principles for becoming successful.Surely it is in everyone’s own interest to become successful. Every biz-op owner says he will help you to become #1 seller by promoting his programs.Think about it seriously, does he really care about how you feel when you fail. Does he care about how miserable you become when you fail instead of reaching your goal?The truth is “NO ONE WILL CARE”.The truth is, he has got thousands of people he has to take care of right now. He is too busy finishing his work to ask you “Are you ok?”************************Being the boss means…., you need to:1. Face every obstacle that comes your way. 2. Accept the truth. No one can help you except yourself. 3. Take responsibility to change the quality of your life. 4. Be disciplined and learn from the mistakes along the way. 5. Finish every task on time.*************************I frequently suffer from lack of sleep and food, but I enjoy it because I keep thinking about the end result, – the end of this month, next month, 1 year from now, or even 5 years from now.But unsuccessful people keep worrying about their future by saying,” What if it doesn’t work, what would they say?”The truth is, “NO ONE WILL CARE”.Henry, how can I become a true leader?Be yourself. Imagine the end result, and use other people’s knowledge to create your own result.I found out that if I kept joining business opportunities, I would create an OK income, however, instead of just being the seller, I would like to be the owner.It means that instead of helping him to sell his products, you learn how to become him by helping others to sell your own products.For example:Ask yourself: Who is more powerful?The one who uses the computer or the one who built the computer?The one who uses Microsoft word or the one who built Microsoft word?It’s obvious, the answer will be the builder, not the user. It’s obvious that the owner of the biz-op is powerful, not the seller.Henry, how can I become the builder?When you start your own Internet business, don’t just promote affiliate programs, but open your own E-store with your own unique purpose.Once you have built it up, use the business opportunity or other similar program as a plug-in opportunity.That’s the only way you can become very successful online.Another important thing is: Learn as much as possible from people who are the leaders in this field. One of the best ways, is to purchase their courses, books, audio, or even to participate in their seminars.With the combination of leadership inside you and your willingness to expand your limits, you will definitely become a leader in the industry of your choice.This is what I call 100% success rate.Closing note: Many people who send me emails on a daily basis are totally negative about their current work situation as well as their current financial situation.Your willingness to change the present by pushing your limits, is the only way you can become very successful online.Remember: If you keep expecting that somebody will rescue you, or one day you will win $1,000,000 from lottery or gambling, you will NEVER become successful.Take charge of your life by changing your habits. Instead of feeling depressed about life, you should concentrate on finding a solution to the problem.Your life will definitely become very successful.Copyright 2004 Henry Gold

What Does It Take To Succeed Online?

The one basic you need to succeed in an online business is simply the decision… to… do…. it.Not to “try”….not to “see how it goes”….Almost anyone can be successful online….yet the vast majority of those who start an online business….or an affiliate reselling program….or a multi-level marketing company…..fail.They fail for two reasons…because they never get started….or because they quit.Many of us are afraid to admit that we want to succeed in an online business. Comments often heard are:
“I’m just giving it a try…and we’ll see”

“I don’t know much about computers, so I’ll see how it goes.”

“I’ve read through it but don’t understand it cartoon porn all…so…..”

These people are giving themselves excuses for failure! It’s not a conscious choice. If you don’t expect to succeed, later you can say “I didn’t think that would work”….or…. “I didn’t think I could do that”… you won’t be rich — but you will be right!If you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities….who is going to do it?Give yourself a chance to succeed. Choose to give the online effort everything you’ve got for a realistic amount of time. You don’t have to tell others you expect to succeed….but you need to believe that you are capable of success.Define your actions in concrete terms:
I will place X number of ads 4 days a week.

I will advertise in XXXX ezines.

I will write one good finished article per week.

I will spend 8 milf porn hours each week adding links.

Your reaction to adversity is a key to success online. No one is buying your product? Check your sales letter. Does it appeal to the buyer in your target market? How c black porn an you make it better?You have sign-ups in the Multi-Level Marketing company you are working with….but no one upgrades or makes a purchase. Are you following up with the specific information they need … or just telling them about yourself?Last month your personal business website had 2000 visitors….and no sales. If you had an opt-in newsletter or free ezine your visitors could sign up for, you would at least have added good names to your mailing list each month.If you have a newsletter, send quality information to your list, not just sales talk….when you do present an e-book or software for those on your mailing list to purchase, tell them HOW it benefits them.And always…..always….give more than you promised. Add bonus information….or bonus items….offer personal mentoring.You CAN make money working online and there are many ways to do it. Some methods require substantial investment from you of money and time….but therer are excellent opportunities that require only a minimal financial investment and a few hours a week consistently to see real results.You do not have to be internet or computer savvy….all the training and information you need is available (much of it free) online.Make a decision to start and build an online business….and don’t look back or second guess yourself. Test methods, text, headlines, advertising to find what brings the best results for your business.Automate as much of the tasks as you can. Save the “personal touch” for actual purchasers or productive affiliates in your downlines. Keep adding to your e-mail opt-in list and keep in touch with updates bi-weekly or monthly.Always deliver more than you promise. If you sell an e-book, give a free guide as well (or two). If you offer a training program, include an e-book or a membership in another training course.Work consistently and efficiently for some hours each week and watch your business grow… your income will grow as well.

Are You In It For The Long Haul?

Do you own a home business? Now I’m not talking about the twice yearly yard sale. I am talking about a legitimate home based business. It doesn’t matter what type of business you are running affiliate marketing, ecommerce website, eBay auctions, etc.). The question remains the same: Are you in it for the long haul?What exactly is the “long haul” you may ask? I consider the long haul sticking with something long enough to truly determine mobile porn if it is something that is going to work for you.I’ve got you thinking now, huh?Well if you are like me, you know some one that has tried their hand at everything. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with checking out different ways to have a home based business. Owning your own business is a GREAT thing.What I am talking about here is that person that gets into something for a few weeks or months, quits or drops out, then starts something new just to find that this new thing is not what they are looking for either. On top of this, a lot of times this person will tell everyone they know that none of these programs or businesses are any good.Now as I said, there is nothing wrong with “kicking the tires” to see what is out there. The big thing is when you find something, give it an HONEST effort.How long this honest effort may take can only be determined by you and the program you are promoting or the business you are starting. Go into it with an open mind. (TIP: There are NO “Sit back and do nothing and get rich overnight” opportunities).Understand what you are getting involved with and determine your goals. Once you have these goals in place, HONESTLY work your business. If you fail to reach your set goals, step back and look at where you are. This will give you a good idea if this business is going to get you where you want to be.Don’t get me wrong. I am by no means telling you to stick with something that is OBVIOUSLY not working. None of us are in business to lose money. Just remember that building a STRONG home business can take a lot of work and a lot of time. It is not something to be taken lightly.In closing let me say that if you are a “tire kicker” and jump from one “sure thing” to the next, do us all a favor. If you don’t give the program or business an HONEST effort and enough time to truly determine what you have, don’t go around spreading “how bad this or that program” is. Let others make up their own minds. What may not have worked for you, may be that “sure thing” for some one else.

Simple Strategies For Home Based Business Owners to Reduce Stress and Be More Satisfied

Handle small emergencies fast: When a small emergency does pop up being prepared with a home medicine kit will come in handy. Make sure to have one in your car and one in the home and look through them twice a year to make sure they are up to date and have been restocked. Use this same twice-yearly update to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and to put fresh batteries in all of your flash lights. Have a special box where you store a few extra batteries, a new flashlight, some storm candles and some lamp oil for an oil lamp in case of a severe storm or power outage. Just putting these emergency kits together will give you peace of mind and when you need them you won’t have to rush around hunting for supplies you will know right where to find everything you need.Ways to cut down on interruptions from little ones when working at home: Just when you are in the middle of writing an article or have your thoughts flowing for the piece your designing, your little friend comes up and tugs on your sleeve telling you they are thirsty. When working at home with small children around you can cut down on these interruptions and still take care of their needs. Tell your children that you will be working on a project for the next two hours and set up drinks and snacks that they can get for them selves. Put a few different drinks in small single serving bottles in the door of the fridge and have them help you make a snack ahead of time that can be stored in a baggie or Tupperware. Asking your children to respect your two hour work break will help them learn to be self sufficient and they will find creative ways to entertain themselves. Then you can spend some time together and have another work break later in the day.Start with low maintenance in mind when you design: A great way to reduce home maintenance chores is to plan ahead with low maintenance fixtures, flooring, paint colors, and windows when you are building or remodeling. If you already own a home, when things wear out replace them with low maintenance replacements and cut your work time in half. Make sure to use a light color for exterior paint trim. This will reduce peeling and cracking from the sun and will wear longer. Shades and shutters just need to be vacuumed once in a while instead of taken down and laundered. Rugs with darker colors and small patterns will distract the eye from small stains. Using combination storm and screen windows will save you from changing the storm panels twice a year and using cedar trim will make the boards last longer and you won’t have to paint them.Keep your expectations in balance: Our lives become overwhelmed and cluttered from expecting too much from the outcome of something others or we are doing. Focus on the process of what you are doing. It is not what you do but how well you do it. Make the process enjoyable and an important part of what you are doing this will make you much more accepting of the outcome.Take a moment to recognize the simple joys: Our schedules have become so full and hectic we often forget what we are working for or running towards. You can remedy this by being more present. Think of the simple things that you enjoy and STOP and enjoy them and then go back to what you were doing. If you are driving along and you see a beautiful vista, pull off the road and enjoy the view for a few minutes. Do you love walking in your yard and looking at the flowers and listening to the birds, then start 10 minutes earlier so you can wonder around the yard before you start your busy schedule. Make a list of 5 simple things you enjoy and STOP to enjoy at least one a day.Be efficient at the grocery store: Plan ahead, think of 5 or 6 meals that you would like to make and make sure to get the ingredients for each to have in the freezer or pantry. Then you can still leave room for impromptu meals like that craving for take out or your neighbor bringing you some fresh fish but you will have everything you need for several meals without having to keep going to the grocery store.Don’t rush through dinner: Have everyone pitch in when it comes to making dinner and sitting down to enjoy it. The meals don’t have to be fancy, just a time to be with your family and get a bite to eat. Take turns with the cooking, setting the table, and washing the dishes. Especially in the summer when schedules seem to be tight with all the activity around the house, keep meals light and focus on catching up with what everyone is doing.Have a cleaning team: Figure out a list for the top 10 cleaning chores that need to be done each week. Give everyone a few chores to do and write them down on the calendar or post it on the refrigerator. When you each pull together and focus on the few tasks you need to do the house will get cleaned and everyone can feel like they have contributed without one person having to manage everything.Ban those useful looking gadgets from the house: The marketing of the next cleaning monster, or tool whiz is terrific, you see the ad think how great it would be to have that latest gizmo and before you know it your are stumbling over all sorts of gizmos that were supposed to simplify your life and they have just given you more stuff to clean around. Ask yourself the hard question before you get that next gizmo; is there a tool I already own that could do the same thing? You can use this same question for small handy dandy kitchen appliances. Your closets, workroom, and pantry will be cleared of clutter in no time. Take the money you would have paid for the item, make sure to include the price for shipping and handling and put it in a large savings jar at the end of the year you can use the money you saved for a fun family outing.Make sure important notes and schedules don’t get lost in the clutter of the coffee table: Designate a special area in your house where important messages and schedules can be posted. Keep this area clear except for these items and you will always know where to look.