5 Ways To Make Traveling Easier

5 Travel tips working from home

During the past few weeks I’ve been traveling for both business and pleasure. While I was flying home yesterday I realized not everyone flies often, some people haven’t flown in years, and after shooting Sprite through my nose while reading Johanna Stein’s* book How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane, I should probably sit in a row by myself.

The infrequent flyers are easy to spot. They’re the ones who argue with the TSA agent about what they can bring on board. One high-heeled woman in a low-cut top flirted with one of the agents hoping he would let her bring her bottle of water through security. Along with her dignity, she left the bottle at the checkpoint.

Another guy tried to explain that he couldn’t take his cowboy boots off easily so he should be able to go through the scanner with his boots on. He didn’t understand that although he was flying to Texas, the rule about removing shoes (including boots) applies in all states.

As I am often helpful when I travel, and by helpful I mean as impatient as a toddler, I offer these five tips for making traveling easier.

1. Bring a current ID.

While a TSA agent was checking my ID, the guy at the next stand must have forgotten he was inside the airport, considering he was yelling louder than the planes taking off outside. He didn’t understand why they wouldn’t accept his Visa card in place of his driver’s license. Unlike the yeller, my friend remembered to bring her passport for her family’s flight to the Bahamas, but hadn’t checked the expiration date. She and her family, along with her expired passport, spent a week in Puerto Rico instead.

2. Make sure the name on your ticket matches the name on your ID.

A few years ago I didn’t realize until I was already at the airport that the name on my ticket didn’t match my driver’s license. My client had booked the flight for me and confirmed the itinerary with me, but I forgot to mention that Lisa is my nickname, not my legal name. After providing everything but a blood sample, the agent let me board the plane.

3. Store your liquids in a clear bag and keep the bag within reach.

As I was pulling my laptop and toiletries out of my bag, I looked over and saw a woman digging through the clothes in her suitcase like a bargain hunter on Black Friday. I couldn’t believe how casual she was about what was spilling out of her bag while she was searching for her shampoo and perfume bottles. When you see a stranger’s undies, I think they should be obligated to buy you dinner or at least a drink!

4. Limit your carry-on bags to two.

Flight attendants guard their bin space like a stock boy at Costco. If you have more than two bags, they’ll make you check one of them. A couple waiting to board the plane heard the carry-on announcement and started consolidating their five bags into four. By the time the woman had stuffed souvenirs and socks in her shirt and sweatpants, she looked like the Michelin man. But they boarded the plane with two bags each. Mission accomplished.

5. Remember where you park your car.

Normally I leave my car at Ridiculously Priced Parking so I can avoid paying more than $20 a day to park at the airport. After one of my trips, I found two tickets that listed my parking space. I didn’t know which ticket was from a prior trip and which was from the current trip. After walking through half of the parking lot looking for my car, I’ve never made that mistake again.

The next time you fly, feel free to share these tips with your fellow passengers. Keep in mind these tips will not only make flying easier for infrequent flyers, but will make traveling with them more tolerable for the rest of us.

*If you haven’t seen Johanna Stein’s hilarious “Mom Head” video, watch it here.

5 Ways to Keep Your Family From Resenting Your Business

include family in home business

When you have a built-in pep squad — your family — cheering you on and reassuring you that you made the right decision to give up a guaranteed income and amazing health care benefits, starting a business can be exciting, fulfilling, and a dream come true. When your family resents your business, your new business venture can become a horrible nightmare. [Read more…]

5 Ways to Turn a Bad Day Around

Home office happy dance

You know those days when everything clicks and you can’t believe how amazing you are? You replay the highlights of the day in your head like you’re the star in the epic movie about your life, you tell yourself that you can accomplish anything, and you even do the happy dance.

You are awesome! [Read more…]

The Straight Poop About Working From Home

Straight poop working from home

I have a confession to make.

Actually, it’s a little embarrassing. [Read more…]

A Know-It-All Doesn’t Know Everything

Know-it-all

Last weekend at a BBQ (and by BBQ I mean an outdoor party where everyone was sweating) there was a woman I hoped I would never see again. I tried to avoid eye contact with her and pretend I didn’t see her (don’t judge), but near the end of the party I looked to my left and there she was.

Crap! I had to talk to her.

I never rarely avoid people, but this woman is like a walking “Cool Facts” app that you wish you hadn’t downloaded. No matter what the topic, from marriage, to kids, to why the Botox she uses is better than what others use (seriously?), she has to share her opinion.

You probably know someone like that. We all do. Those are the friends you take a little longer to answer when they call or text. They’re the ones who are so exhausting you have to refer to your list of excuses to avoid getting together with them. (Am I the only one with a list like that?) [Read more…]

You CAN Share a Home Office Without Plotting a Murder

I admire couples that can work from home together and not strangle each other by the end of the day. It’s not that I’m unreasonable, bitchy or territorial (at least not all of the time), but there’s no way I could stand to share a home office with my spouse.

Period.

Part of the reason I have issues with needing my own space is that I have four siblings. As the middle child, I never had my own room. Either my older sister or my younger, annoying sister (who is now my best friend), was my roommate. We had to share everything. [Read more…]

How to Treat Yourself As Well As You Treat Your Clients

take care of yourself

Most of us do what we can to keep our clients happy, yet we forget about our own needs. Today as you get ready to tackle your to-do list, consider these four ways to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

1. Pace yourself.

Realize your limitations and stop working when you’ve accomplished the goals you’ve set for the day. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your business (that’s one of the goals of working for yourself, isn’t it?), but too much of a good thing can be harmful and ultimately lead to burnout. [Read more…]

35 Habits to Help Entrepreneurs Stay Productive

Being productive is tough, especially around the holidays. There are some people, though, who manage to power through their to-do list no matter what. This infographic from Entrepreneur.com shares 35 habits of productive people. Think about how much more you could accomplish each day if you adopted only a few of these habits.

35 habits to stay productive

Source: Entrepreneur.com

Getting Work Done At Home, Even During the Holidays

Guest Post by Angelo DiGangiWorking from home during holidays

The holidays offer a special challenge to those who work from home. Family members don’t always understand that freelancers or small business owners can’t necessarily take the holidays off the way those who work nine-to-five in an office are generally able do. Here are some tips to help you organize your home life in a way that will enable you to get things accomplished, even during the holiday season.

1. Make sure to have a distinct work space.

One key step towards maintaining a strong focus is having a clear delineation between your professional and home life. That means setting a space aside for work and nothing else. Even if you don’t have the funds or square footage for your own home office, you can still create a dedicated area that you use just for professional activities. Of course this should be a part of the house that other people use as little as possible.

2. Make sure your work space looks professional.

When working from home, it is easy to get in the habit of working on your laptop on the couch in front of the television. Having a professional-looking work space instead will help set the right mood and encourage you to get things done. Make sure you have an actual computer desk and an organized-looking workspace, with a filing system for your papers and records. Using appropriate furniture, especially a good office chair, will also help ensure that you don’t get carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive motion related injuries.

3. Make sure to have a distinct work time.

Setting a specific time of day to get work done can help you hold yourself accountable. In addition, it can make it easier for you to schedule other times to do activities with your family and any guests you have in town, so that they don’t feel neglected. You can all plan on enjoying dinner together, for example, then while everyone else goes to a movie, you can go home and take care of whatever business is at hand.

4. Take steps to eliminate distractions.

One of the biggest barriers to getting work done at home is the constant availability of distractions. Once you’ve figured out where and when you’re going to work, try to free the surrounding space of distractions. Keep your desk free of personal papers. Put holiday catalogs and gift to-do lists out of your line of vision. In particular, unless you need the Internet for a project, consider using programs that allow you to turn off the Internet for a few hours to ensure that you use this work time as efficiently as possible.

Angelo DiGangi has been helping customers as a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago area since 1994. Angelo provides advice on home offices for Home Depot’s Home Decorators website. He provides DIY tips on using room dividers, bookcases and other furniture to accent home offices, and separate these areas from the rest of the home.