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Friends, in the past couple of years, we have seen an increase in working remotely. While some have easily adapted to the home office environment, others still struggle to separate home from work. It’s hard to pull yourself away from your bed when you no longer have to commute to work. In fact, working from home is a lot like working from the office, or anywhere, even a coffee shop. Whether working from home or the office, it is important to maintain joy in both areas.

Disclaimer: Some links shared in this blog post are affiliate links.

Starting the morning on the right foot is essential to every workday. I like to start each day with positive affirmations. Before you pick up your phone and check emails, take time to reflect. When waking up, think of positive statements to say to yourself. These statements can be as simple as saying: “I’m confident in me and my abilities” or “I feel energized and excited for the day.” Keep it personal. I find it useful to refer to my “Bible Study Notes” when I need inspiration. When I attend Bible Study, I like to analyze the scripture and ask, what is God saying, and how can I apply it to my life? After I reflect, I get out of bed and prepare for the day.

Photo Credits: Katie Charlotte Photography

Now that you’re awake sit up in your bed, stretch and prepare to make your bed. One of the simplest ways to do this is to straighten your comforter and sheets while still in bed. Making your bed has been proven to help people feel happier and more productive. Now that your bed is made get out of it completely. It’s easy to work from your bed when you work remotely, but this can be counterproductive. Working from your bed can cause you to feel sluggish and unmotivated. This is the time where you’ll prepare for your day by showering and grooming yourself for work. Even though you work remotely, it is important to get into the mindset of preparing for work. Grooming and a change of clothes can get you into the mindset of work.

You’re ready to go. You’re dressed for work and prepared breakfast the night before. I like to prepare yogurt parfait the night before and store them in glass jars, pull out my “Weekly To-Do list,” and glance at it before leaving. This confirms to me that I have everything I need before I clock in for the day. If you’re working from an office or remotely, it is important to maintain office hours. If you work from nine to five, it is important to set those boundaries with your family member to work from home. The office hours of nine to five should be set as if you’re actually at the office to minimize interruptions. You can even create a sign that lets them know when you’re unavailable.

If you’re working from a coffee shop, I have some tips and tricks that will make your workday seamless. When working from home or in a coffee shop, technology is your friend. My advice is to do your research. Look for work-friendly coffee shops or areas. This can include a coffee shop that offers free WiFi or provides a semi-private environment for you to work. Come with your laptop and equipment fully charged just in case all the outlets are taken. I also recommend having your own hotspot when dealing with more confidential information. A coffee shop is a great place to network and socialize. It can get lonely working from home take this time to stay connected.

Friends, no matter where we are working from, whether on the beach or in a coffee shop, I hope you utilize the tools I have provided for you in my book. This is my gift to you as you progress through your career. I hope to equip you with the emotional and physical tools you need to be successful. I believe you and all the things you hope to achieve because I know you’re smart, successful, and beautifully organized.

You can also watch my video here for more tips to help you organize your work life when working from home. I hope you enjoy my tips and find them helpful to your work life.

Hugs and Love, 

Nikki


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Photo Credit: AbbyMurphy Photography

Friends, one of the challenges or rewards of going to work can be working with a team. I have the pleasure of working with a great team, although we sometimes drive each other crazy. As the head of the company, I am constantly brainstorming ways to improve my business and the work environment for my team members. Therefore, it is important for me to create systems that we all can follow and refer to when we need to. Beautifully Organized at Work is just that, a reference book for you and your team whenever you need a refresher.

Photo Credit: AbbyMurphy Photography


When working with a team –whether remotely or at the office, it is one of the most important relationships you will form. Everyone has different personalities, ideas, and working styles. Everyone has a different way of working, and this can create distractions and loss of valuable time. It is important to have a unified front when it comes to company organization. In my company, I provide my team members a customized planner, calendar, “to-do lists,” and “meeting notes.”

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I encourage my team to refer to the team calendar every day. In my planner, I keep a copy of the team calendar. I pull out my “Daily Planner” and take fifteen minutes to plan out my workday from that calendar. This time needs to be distraction-free. Next, make a list of your top three “daily goals.” This can be easier to achieve than a long scary list. Remember, it is about quality, not quantity, when you’re making this list. Completing three tasks a day will create a sense of accomplishment, and by the end of the workweek, you will accomplish fifteen goals.

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A team has a lot of moving parts, and this can create stress when it comes to deadlines. When working with a team, tasks need to be divided into a daily to-do list. The simplest way I found to do this is by utilizing an online project management system. There are many choices for project management systems. Find the one that works best for you and your team. This system is one centralized place everyone can check the status of their assigned tasks.
The benefits include creating defined deadlines for your team and a place team leads can oversee the team’s workload. Thus creating a united front.

It is important to stay connected, although some of us are still working remotely. However, even when working remotely, it is still important to express gratitude to your team members. When appropriate, take time to appreciate your team members and yourself, whether sending out words of encouragement or offering incentives for working hard. This can include providing each member of your team with a “loyalty card” and having them redeem it for a gift card or leaving early.

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At the end of a long workday, I like to remember a quote that is “If you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far, go together,” and that’s what a team is going far together. Together we can make our “home,” “work,” and life more beautifully organized.


Hugs and Love,

Nikki

Friends, are you stressed, unbalanced, or feel like there’s no work-life balance? It is often said that how well we perform at work depends on how well we manage our lives outside the office. I have found through managing my professional organizing firm At Home With Nikki that you must set yourself up for success.    

Photo Credit: Katie Charlotte Photography

Work-life balance is achievable if we make the right choices and implement systems that help us find peace. In my new book, Beautifully Organized at Work, I share tips on creating a beautifully organized work life. 

First, I would make a master list of things you need to accomplish each workday. Take out a loose sheet of paper, or “Brain Dump,” page and a pen to get started. Take this time to really think about the tasks that need to be completed. This list will include everything, from getting dressed to breakfast. Anything that takes time out of your day will need to be written down. This is the perfect time to get family members engaged especially if you start your days together. Take each task and assign it enough time to complete but remember to limit yourself so other tasks can get done. 

I like to pull out my planner and utilize my “Day on a Page.” This page is perfect for planning your day. The day is broken down by hours, to-do lists, reminders, and even a reminder on daily water intake. Start with the simple tasks of getting up in the morning, making your bed, and moving on to the rest of the day. The list can be written the day before to ensure a successful, stress-free day. 

Preparing the day before is key to achieving a more balanced work-life. After I write out what I need to do for the upcoming workday, I select my clothes. The hassle of selecting your clothes in the morning can add unnecessary time to your day. When choosing your clothes, think of the work outfit as a uniform and select pieces from a similar color palette. Save time by matching the same brand or even a neutral color palette. When selecting clothes, always consider your shoes as a part of the outfit, so you won’t end up spending fifteen minutes looking for them.

Plan your breakfast and lunch. The night before, have your lunch prepared and packed away. This saves time when you’re at work. You can use your lunch to recharge and rest instead of waiting in line for lunch. In the morning, use a programmable coffee maker to wake up to a freshly brewed pot of coffee or tea. Talk about a motivator! Next, have a simple breakfast you eat every morning, so you don’t have to think about it. A yogurt parfait is easy to make and healthy breakfast option that can be stored in the refrigerator. In my monthly meal plan, I have easy breakfast recipes that will start your morning off right. 

The next area of your work life is your desk. It is where you spend most of your day. A cluttered desk can cause frustration. When assessing the top of your desk, it is important to keep the essential items. I like to keep my planner, notebook, phone, and computer. A desk tray can keep a stapler, pen holder, tape dispenser for functionality. “Desk trays” can be used to keep small items in places like pensbinder clips, and “letter openers.” It is important to remember that everything has a place on your desk, and keeping it there will create a sense of ease throughout the day. 

The advice I share in my “Beautifully Organized at Work”  will bring peace and productivity to your day. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed remember that, that is no way to live. The tools I share take time to implement and will not happen overnight, but you will become more beautifully organized if you are committed to staying organized. 


Hugs and Love,

Nikki

Working from home instead of the office means trading in one set of distractions for another. Plus, you need to supervise yourself. How can you stay focused when your kids are bored, and Netflix just added your favorite show? 

Remote work has lots of advantages, like greater flexibility and zero commuting time. However, in order to get your work done, it’s important to create a system that keeps you focused and productive.

Photo by: Christopher Shane Photography

You can succeed at remote work by providing your own structure and motivation. Use these ideas for dealing with internal and external distractions.

Dealing with Internal Distractions:

1. Think positive. Build your own morale. Think about the things you like about your job. Appreciate the opportunity to do meaningful work that stretches your skills and helps others.

2. Set goals. Give yourself specific targets to strive for. Know what you want to accomplish each day and over the long term.

3. Write a list. Use paper and pen or a free app to make a to-do list. Block out realistic time for each task.

4. Schedule your day. Figure out your priorities and the hours when you’re most effective. Devote most of your resources to the activities that create real value.

5. Designate a workspace. Carving out an area exclusively for work will help you keep your mind on your job. It can be a spare room or one corner in your studio apartment.

6. Reduce discomfort. Pay attention to ergonomics, especially if you’re working at home full-time. Arrange your workspace for maximum efficiency. Ask your employer if they’ll help cover the costs for equipment like headphones to reduce straining your neck during phone calls.

7. Take breaks. You’ll accomplish more if you allow yourself generous helpings of downtime. Try to pause and relax before you feel fatigued.

Photo by: Katie Charlotte Photography

8. Move around. Exercise reduces stress and restores your energy. Use some of your break time to stretch and jump rope. Go for a walk or do yoga during your lunch hour.

Dealing with External Distractions:

1. Ask for support. Let your boss, coworkers, family, and friends know when you need help. Be willing to return the favor when you see them struggling.

2. Arrange childcare. Finding someone to watch your kids has become more difficult for many parents. Keep in touch with other families to learn about options near you or ask your employer about taking leave if necessary.

3. Set boundaries. Let others know the hours when you’re available for collaboration, and when you need to work without interruptions. Shut your door and turn the volume down on your phone for tasks that require concentration.

4. Interact with others. On the other hand, socializing is a valuable part of your workday too. Participate in virtual happy hours and stick around to chat before and after video meetings.

5. Play music. This is your chance to control the soundtrack at work. Create a variety of playlists to mask background noise or stimulate creative thinking.

6. Eat healthy. Your kitchen can be a distraction too. Plan your daily menu in advance around nutritious meals and snacks. It’s easier to turn down junk food when you feel full.

Check out our monthly meal plan that includes meals for every day of the month, along with coordinating recipes and videos for every meal. All for only $5 per month.

Photo by: Katie Charlotte Photography

7. Limit media. Facebook and streaming videos may consume much of your day unless you eliminate such temptations. Find methods that work for you such as turning off notifications or setting time limits on sites where you tend to linger too long.

Develop the communication and organizational skills you’ll need to excel at working from home. You can be a high performer whether you’re sitting in a cubicle or on your patio.

Hugs and Love,
Nikki

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by H&R Block Online. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view. I am not a tax professional and you should always consult a tax professional for all your tax questions and concerns.

Getting a jump on tax planning and preparation will save you time and money in the long run. The current tax filing extension due to COVID-19 allows us to get the most out of our tax preparation. Although the tax filing deadline has been extended, it’s best to still file and get your refund faster, as most people need the money now more than ever. However, if you’re not ready to file just yet, rather than waiting until the last moment, missing out on opportunities for using specific strategies, and stressing out about the process, start organizing and preparing your taxes now (but don’t delay you need a refund now). But first, let me share my tips on how to make organizing and completing your taxes easy, affordable and a total DIY.

TIP ONE: KEEP ALL TAX DOCUMENTS IN ONE PLACE

One thing that can cause you to dread filing your taxes is having to filter through all of your paper clutter to find the documents needed to file. This is such an easy problem to resolve:

  • Have one binder or folder for all tax documents. I keep a binder for each tax year. As materials arrive that I need in preparation to file my taxes, I place them in binder. Using a folder can work just as well. It is essential to make sure that your tax binder is easily accessible.
  • Within your binder keep all your documents sorted by category. Example, all w2’s together, 1099’s together etc.
  • Place your previous years tax return in your current years tax binder. This makes for a great reference tool.
  • Keep a tax log. A tax log is a great way to ensure that you received all of the documents needed to file your taxes. Place this log in the front of your tax binder.

TIP TWO: DO-IT-YOURSELF

My office is located next to an accountant’s office. During this time of year they are usually busy. Of course that is not the case this year with the need for everyone to stay socially distant. This makes for the perfect opportunity to do-it-yourself. The cost-effective way to do this is by using H&R Block Online. It allows you to easily file your taxes from your smartphone or a computer.

As a professional organizer, in my mission of living a beautiful life and helping others do the same, I am always on the hunt for four key things to start:

  • Order
  • Function
  • Money savers
  • Time savers

By focusing on these four things it makes many of my decisions a simple process. When H&R Block Online approached me about working with them, I went straight to my list.

ORDER & FUNCTION

Their website is very user-friendly. I was not intimidated one bit! As soon as I hit the site, it was clean and straightforward. I also respect the fact that they are very transparent. Right from the start, you see pricing, options, and customer reviews for each solution under their DIY service. There are no frustrating pop-ups or ads. Descriptions for each service were concise and made it easy to select the appropriate filing service.

MONEY & TIME SAVER

This was huge for me. As a small business owner (and during such difficult times) I found that H&R Block Online is at least $10 less than TurboTax. I also found that H&R Block Online offers excellent value in tax preparation. One thing that I love is that they have online assistance (from actual human beings) for anyone who is needing a little help as they complete their filing. Instead of getting a help menu that is often not helpful and a time-wasting effort, they have on-demand chat service with highly trained tax experts available for DIY filers.

TIP # 3: DON’T FORGET YOUR PETS

No, that is not a typo. You know how much I love my two pups Bentley and Albert, so of course I am going to take this opportunity to include them in my tips. But seriously, May is National Pet Month and I thought it would be the perfect time to share tax some pet-qualifying tax deductions:

  • Moving a pet. Moving expenses that involve a pet can be deducted in some instances. The move has to be work-related, and there has to be at least 50 miles between the new job and your old home.
  • Guard animals. If a dog is used as a guard animal for your business, then some expenses can be deducted. Expenses related to caring for the animal are deductible, and it’s important to save all receipts to show how much they cost. The IRS will allow a percentage of the cost of care to be deducted, depending on how much time the animal spends on guard duty.
  • Pets related to work. Jobs that involve animals are eligible for some tax deductions. Are you a professional dog breeder? Do you love to race horses? Are you a dog walker who purchases supplies to care for the animals you watch? Depending on your job, you can deduct some expenses.
  • Service dogs. Households with service dogs used for therapeutic purposes may be eligible for tax deductions. Guide dogs and service dogs fall into this category. The IRS requires careful documentation, so save all your receipts, bills, and veterinarian notices. These deductions go on the medical expenses form. Food and leashes are some of the common items that can be written off. Trips to the vet and training are also frequent deductions. The actual cost of buying the service dog or guide dog is also included.

Here are two bonus tips:

  • Fostering an animal for a charity allows households to take the cost of caring for the animal off their income. The charity has to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and registered with the Internal Revenue Service. The animal shelter can provide paperwork proving that your household is fostering animals. Items like pet beds, food, leashes, medication, vet visits, and others are eligible for deductions. The IRS may ask to see receipts, so it’s important to save all of them and keep them separate from other pet-related files to avoid confusion.
  • Sales taxes. States with sales taxes can play a part in writing off some of the cost of caring for a pet. According to the IRS, filing Schedule A and deducting state sales taxes can help some pet owners. The sales taxes include the cost of pet food, supplies and other items purchased throughout the year. Local sales taxes, which differ from state versions, also qualify for Schedule A. Saving your receipts is essential, but the IRS allows you to use Schedule A without them. The optional general sales tax tables let you calculate the deduction on a worksheet. In addition, the IRS has an online sales tax deduction calculator.

Friends, I hope that you found this information helpful and a money-saver for you this tax season. Be sure to take advantage of my 25% discount on all H&R Block Online solutions. This is the perfect time before we get back to our day to day hustle to get a major item off of your to-do list. Hugs and Love, Nikki

professional organizing services summerville

One of my new year resolutions this year was to make changes that would allow me to grow my blog and social media so I can reach and help more people with my content. I have been posting more, I’ve been looking into an organic growth service for Instagram and how bots can be harmful to your page (look on https://nitreo.com/ingramer to find out more), I’ve been collabing with more people, but the one thing I’ve been working on the hardest is a “new look” for my blog to help it reflect me a bit more. And now, all the hard work has paid off!

Today is such an exciting day! We have a “new look” friends. I finally feel like my website and brand represents me well and can be an enjoyable experience for all of my friends. I’ve even decided to use a good hosting company like hostiserverto make sure that everyone can enjoy my blog, thanks to improved speed and loading times. For a few years, I have struggled with trying to create the look that would not only make me proud to call it mine but one that would communicate my vision. If you’re struggling to make a website that speaks to you and speaks of you, you could look into sites that can help you create a website as well as give you design tips, so you can educate yourself on different aspects of site building.

It is no secret that my passion is sharing my tips and ideas on how to to make your home your beautiful haven. I am passionate about my Lord and Savior, my family and my home. They give me my strength, happiness and desire to be the best person that I can be each day.
My journey to reaching ultimate happiness with my brand did not come easy. I made many errors, I learned a lot, and made some amazing connection with some great people. I do not regret anything about this journey because it has made me wiser and more inspired to provide you with consistent and fabulous content!

I could not have this beautiful new website and brand look without the help of a few wonderful people:

With Grace & Gold

After searching high and low for the perfect company to rebrand At Home With Nikki, I was so relieved when I found the branding company With Grace & Gold. When I reached their website, I immediately knew I found “the one.” After meeting with the owners Andra and Kelly I knew that I had made the right decision trusting them with bringing my vision to life. They listened to my vision, they advised and educated me on a variety of things as it related to my goals for At Home With Nikki. I am going to miss interacting with them each day. I guess I will just have to stalk their beautiful Instagram page to keep up with them:).

professional organizing services summerville

Christopher Shane

Now that I had the perfect branding company I needed the perfect photographer to capture beautiful photographs of my home and all those wonderful DIY projects I have shared with you over the years. This was one of the easiest decisions on this journey. I knew that I wanted Christopher Shane for the job. I met Christopher two years ago when First for Women magazine hired him to photograph me in my home for an article. It was such a fun shoot, and I have been a fan of his photography ever since.

The At Home With Nikki Team

I am grateful to the At Home With Nikki team for all their dedication to the rebranding project. It is one thing to have a beautiful website, but my mission goes much further. In addition to sharing tons of weekly content with my online friends, I want to reach out to my community and share my tips and help others organize their spaces. I want to do workshops and work with social service agencies to help families that may not be in a position to hire a professional organizer. One of my most exciting missions is helping with military families with tips to enhance their home life. To get all of this done, it takes a team, and I feel so blessed to have my dream team!

Of course, none of this would be possible without YOU! Your support has been so important to me and is the reason I have my dream job. Many of you (my friends) have been with me since the beginning, and I am excited that you are still with me now. I get up every day thinking what can I share or do to give you something to benefit your life. If I can help you solve a home organization issues, organize your handbag, show you a killer deal at Target or put a smile on your face, it all brings me joy. Thank you for all your support and friendship. I have so much in store for you!

Blessings & Love

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