Working Remotely: Secrets for Productivity and Success

Katie Corbett headshot

By Katie Corbett

Working remotely—usually from home—can seem like a glorious adventure. No commute, plenty of alone time, and the ability to work in your pajamas if you so choose. Thing is, if you’re not careful, it can be easy to get distracted by the dishes you need to do or the laundry piling up. Here are some tips I’ve found helpful to keep in mind whenever I work from home.

Listen and enjoy!

Why am I on the Payroll?: Thinking About Results

Katie Corbett holds a book

By Katie Corbett

When evaluating your career, thinking about what you bring to each job you do is important. I find it necessary from time to time to ask myself some questions to keep the challenges of my job in perspective and contemplate the value I bring to my position.

Brian Tracy, author of “Eat that Frog”, says it can be helpful to start by asking yourself this question: Why am I on the payroll? I’ve added some other questions to create a list you might find helpful to ponder.

1. Why am I on the payroll?
2. In what ways does my role bring value to the company?
3. In what specific ways do I bring value to my position?
4. What unique skills do I bring?
5. What attitudes do I bring that contribute to my success?
6. Why did I choose this job in the first place?
7. Why do I think my employers chose me for this position?
8. How has the company improved since I’ve been there?
9. How has my department improved as a result of me working there?
10. What are the perks of my job and how is my value recognized?

Take a few minutes and jot down whatever comes to mind. You might gain a new appreciation for your current role.

And if you are unemployed or between jobs, think about your favorite job and answer these questions in regards to that position. It might provide insight for your job search, such as what to look for in your next job or what skills you can bring to a new company.

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Why Your Weekend Needs a Plan

Katie Corbett holds a book

By Katie Corbett

Many people don’t think about their weekend plans until it’s Friday. They might think planning shouldn’t be undertaken when deciding how to spend their leisure time. People also tend to think about the weekend as one large chunk of time. I’ve started thinking differently, and it’s been a game-changer.

Laura Vanderkam, time management expert and author of the book, “What the Most Successful People do on the Weekend”, suggests planning some aspects of the weekend in advance and thinking about the weekend in chunks. I have tried this and feel I have gained much more satisfaction out of my weekend. Here is what a typical weekend looks like for me:

Friday Night: Go to a fish fry with my husband, spend time reading fiction.
Saturday Morning: Run errands, decide on a plan for the day.
Saturday Afternoon: Go antiquing, take a nap, spend time outdoors, solve a crossword puzzle.
Saturday Night: Get dinner with friends, read fiction.
Sunday Morning: Go to church, have brunch.
Sunday Afternoon: Finish up errands, read a magazine.
Sunday Night: Volunteer, participate in a book club, plan for the week ahead.

As you can see, some aspects of my weekend, such as plans with others, need to be determined in advance. Other activities can be done if and when I have the energy and desire. Separating the weekend hours into these seven blocks of time gives me the freedom to both plan and relax. Also, I can think about what I did in each of the seven blocks and am less likely to feel like I wasted an entire weekend.

If you planned your weekend in the seven time blocks, what might it look like? Give it a try and see how it works for you.

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Having a Mindset of Moving Mountains

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The Power of Who"

By Katie Corbett

It is a fact of life that when you are working on a project, road-blocks are bound to come up. Instead of seeing these obstacles as a sign to give up, it is important to view them as another challenge that will, in the end, make you a better person and contribute to future success.

In the book, “The Power of Who,” Bob Beaudine lists the ability to overcome obstacles as a hallmark of a successful person. Some questions I ask myself when I encounter a challenge are:

• What can I personally do to mitigate this obstacle?
• Who can I reach out to who might be able to help?
• If I don’t currently know anyone who could help, what qualities and skills might this person need to have and where could I find such a person?
• Is there another way of looking at this challenge?
• What are the positives that could come as a result of this road-block?
• What am I learning about myself, others, or my project?
• Are there any “off the beaten path” solutions I have yet to consider?
• What will I lose by needing to work through this issue?
• What will I gain?
• How have I overcome challenges in the past?

It is my hope that, if you are facing an obstacle right now, this list of questions can get you out of analysis paralysis and onto a solution. Keep staying the course and striving for your dreams. You might take an unexpected detour or two along the way. That is okay. Move forward one day, one challenge, one step at a time. Eventually you will see the fruits of your labor.

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For Inspiration, Read About Those Worse off Than you who got to Where You Want to Be

Katie Corbett holds the book, "One Minute Millionaire"

By Katie Corbett

When I’m looking to achieve a goal, one of the first questions I ask myself is: Has anyone else done this? After getting the training wheels taken off my bike when I was in elementary school, I knew I would be okay because my younger sister had gotten hers taken off a few moments earlier. I can still hear her voice exclaiming, “You can do it, Katie! It’s easy!” She showed me how to keep my balance and repeatedly shouted words of encouragement as I rode my bike down the street. My little sister has done a lot of things first; things I sometimes didn’t even want to do until I witnessed her doing them.

When I made the decision to work towards becoming a millionaire, I knew I would benefit from finding evidence it was possible through the story of someone starting off with fewer advantages than I had, who got their anyway. So I picked up “The One-Minute Millionaire,” by Mark Victor Hansen and Robert G. Allen, and set about reading the fictional story of a woman named Michelle. Like me, Michelle was broke and trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Unlike me, however, Michelle was a widow, and her two children had been taken from her by her former in-laws. She needed the money to prove to her in-laws, and to the court system, that she was capable of financially providing for her children. I have not gone through the devastating loss of a spouse, and I wasn’t racing against the clock to get my children out of someone else’s custody. In my mind, I thought: “Wow! If this lady could become a millionaire, in spite of those odds, I can, too.” (And yes, I realize Michelle’s story is fictional, but it was easy enough for me to suspect that real people who are now millionaires started in Michelle’s position.)

What goals do you want to achieve in your life? Is there someone who has achieved that goal who started off worse than you, is less intelligent than you, or did not have the chances and opportunities you have? Going back to my sister, while we were growing up, she was shorter than me. In my kid brain, I figured that if shorty could do it, why couldn’t I? I know that my sister has gifts, talents and opportunities different than me. I know that I’m not better than her. I know that in some ways, she’s smarter than me. But I was born first, and when you’re the oldest, there can be this idea that you’re more capable than your younger siblings, or are more responsible or something. I have no idea where this silly superiority complex comes from, but hey, as long as I don’t lord it over my sibs and use it to help me achieve my goals, that should be okay. So, in what ways are you more attractive, more intelligent, or taller – hey, whatever works – than those who have achieved what you want to achieve? Do you have access to information about how they accomplished this goal? Do they encourage and cheer you on, as my sister did for me? If so, what are you waiting for?

If you don’t know anyone in your personal circle who has achieved your goal, do what I did and find a story about such a person. Many people are more than happy to share how they got to where they are. Believe in yourself. You can do it!

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