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Inauguration Day Work for Home Business Owners

by Jean Murray on January 19th, 2009

You want to watch the Inauguration tomorrow.  After all, history is being made and TV makes it possible for us to be there.  But you have a home business to run.  There must be some things you can do so you can move your business forward while still being involved in this historic occasion.

I have to travel tomorrow, but I know what I would be doing while watching the Inauguration.  Here are three things I would be doing if I were working at home:

Cleaning up email. I don’t usually get all excited about this, and I usually just let my old email pile up.  But once in a while, I do clean out.  This would be a a good day for it.  I have a procedure when I initially read an email, so I can separate the important from the junk:

  • First, I do an initial “triage” - I delete the “spam/junk” and the stuff I know I won’t read.
  • Then, I mark mail that I have to respond to and I make a note on my “to do” list.
  • As I make my initial review,  I respond to the emails I can take care of quickly, like those that just involve “what time shall we talk?” or “Can you send me this (if I know where it is)?”
  • The other emails I have to respond to that will take some time, I take care of during the time I have set aside for this.

Filing. I have been working on setting up my files to eliminate clutter and be able to find important pieces of paper more quickly.  I have been using the Getting Things Done system, but I’ve modified it to work for me.  For example, David Allen says to put everything in one file, labeled alphabetically.  I’ve set up two files - one for current stuff, and the other for stuff I need to keep, but I don’t need to get to quickly.
For example, I keep this year’s invoices and bills for my business, but I have pulled out last year’s and put them in my “2008 Business Taxes” file.  When I’m done with my 2008 taxes, I can put that file in my “archives.”

Prepare for Tax Time. While you are cleaning up, it might be a good time to get ready to file your income taxes. Start by making a checklist of all the tax tasks and forms you need.  Finding all the paperwork from last year, printing out W-2s or 1099s for employees and contractors, can all be done while you are watching TV. 

Whatever your filing system, it might be a good time to catch up.

Easy Tasks. I can’t do any heavy writing that requires concentration while I’m watching TV, but I can respond to emails, take notes on items I’m reading or find on the Internet that I want to work with.  And I’m sure there will be a few commercials I can use to make a phone call or two.

What about you?  Will you be keeping an eye on the TV tomorrow as you watch the Inauguration?  Or will you just set the DVR to “record” for the whole thing (as I’m going to do), and get to work?

Image source:  StockXchng

Tags: Getting Things Done, home business tasks, Inauguration,

POSTED IN: CheckList, Fast Biz Tips, Planning, Productivity

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