Tips for Working from Home

By Jeff Haden – @jeff_haden

Tell people your schedule—and then “enforce” your schedule.

Interruptions are productivity killers, and when you work from home, your family and friends can be the most frequent sources of interruption. So be proactive. Share your schedule. Provide visual cues like shutting your door to let people know that you shouldn’t be interrupted.

Buy a great chair.

Working from home implicitly means you’re a knowledge worker. That means you spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. So no matter what else you do, invest in the most comfortable and ergonomically-correct chair you can find. If you aren’t comfortable, you can’t stay focused and you can’t stay productive.

Ruthlessly set limits.

Generally speaking, we can focus on any given task for 90 to 120 minutes. After that, we need a break so we can recharge. Split your day into 90-minute windows. That way, you’ll be able to work much more efficiently.

Include breaks in your schedule.

Your calendar should include scheduled break periods. Otherwise, your day will get away from you, and so will your opportunities to recharge. Never forget that the best recovery is active recovery.

Turn off your notifications.

Turning off alerts on your computer and phone will greatly improve your ability to focus on projects. When you need to get something done, turn off anything that might interrupt you, and then when you’re done, pop your head back up and see what you might have missed.

Adopt a productivity system.

Maybe one of the things you like best about working from home is the lack of enforced structure. That’s great, but unless you create your own structure, you’ll fritter away much of your day bouncing from task to task and mistaking things that seem urgent for things that truly important. Create a system that will work for you.


De-clutter at least once a week.

Purge, purge, and purge some more. Your workspace needs to look productive in order to be productive.

Create a nighttime routine.

Make a list. Make a few notes. Review information. Prime yourself to hit the ground running the next day. Knocking out an important task first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Create a morning routine.

Don’t dawdle, don’t ease your way into your morning, and don’t make sure you get some “me” time. Get up, clean up, fuel up, and start rolling.

Create a happy shelf.

When you surround yourself with things that make you happy, you will do better work.

Make your home office your home court advantage.

See your ability to conveniently do what you need to do when you need to do it as your home court advantage: if you want, you can leverage the efficiency to be more responsible and flexible than anyone else, and that can be a significant competitive advantage.

Does Your Phone Run Your Life?

By Kelli Smith

Do you put your phone on the table next to you at meals? Do you check it every 10 seconds? Do you panic when it runs out of battery, or, gasp, you forget it at home? (Just kidding, you’d never forget it at home.)

If you said yes to all three, there’s a good chance you’re addicted to your phone. Worse, you’re letting it run your life. Think about it: How many times have you been late to dinner because your phone just had to charge? Then, how many dinners have you kinda ruined by checking your notifications throughout the meal?

Before you claim you’re just “really busy” and you need it on you at all times, see how many of these symptoms you recognize in yourself. (And then see all my awesome ideas to help you start relying less on it.)thinkingceo

1. You Sleep With It

You need an alarm clock, obviously. But is that really the reason your phone’s in your bedroom? Or, do you want to “just peek” at Twitter when you’re trying to fall asleep?

The Fix

If you don’t want to buy an actual alarm clock or put your phone on the other side of the room—that’s OK!—try OFFTIME. It lets you schedule times to turn off your apps. This way you can still get that landed-at-the-airport call from your significant other without ending up on Facebook for the next two hours.

2. You Check it First Thing Each Day

Do you reach for your phone before you even open your eyes in the mothinkingceorning? Do you see news that instantly stresses you out? How about an email from your boss? If that sounds familiar, you may want to re-think how you’re starting your days.

The Fix

BreakFree is an app that measures how much you use your phone and gently reminds you to keep your screen time under control. And, with BreakFree, you can set times (like when you normally wake-up) to disable the internet so you can start your day on the calmest note possible.

3. You Have it in Your Hand at All Times

If you’re that person who takes their phone with them everywhere they go—yes, your colleagues see you carrying it with you to the bathroom—then you need an incentive to let it go (cue the song from Frozen).

The Fix

If you have a competitive streak, then you might want to grab a couple of friends and check out the Forest app. It’s somewhat silly, but also slightly addicting. The basic gist is that you nourish a tiny seed Into a magnificent tree by staying off your phone long enough for it to flourish. The more you resist temptation, the faster it grows. Plus, you can track your virtual forest’s progress and see if you’re beating your pals.

4. You’re Constantly Charging It

You swear that you’re only checking email and texts, but you keep running out of juice before noon. Constantly being out of battery is a sure sign that you’re on that thing way too much.

The Fix

If you find yourself always coming up short on power, Moment will tell you where you’re spending time on your phone so you can cut back as needed. Or, if that’s not enough, you can have it coach you by setting a daily limit for how much you use it.

5. You Get Notifications for All Your Apps

It’s time to be honest with yourself. Do you really have to hear about every post, message, or tweet right now? When you think about it, I bet you’ll realize that most of them (maybe even all?) aren’t exactly urgent.

The Fix

Luckily, you can get them under control with just a few clicks in your phone’s settings. With either iOS or Android, you can choose which apps you see that dreaded red badge for, and you can even stop notifications for certain apps from showing up on your lock screen.

6. You Imagine it Beeping and Buzzing When It’s Not

You swear you’re not crazy, and yet you keep pulling your phone out of your pocket because you felt something that seemed a lot like a notification.

The Fix

The iPhone’s Do Not Disturb mode lets you decide which calls ring through or if you want to stop both calls and notifications completely when you really need to focus. And Android Nougat’s Do Not Disturb does all that, plus lets you choose on an app-by-app basis when you get beeped or buzzed.

7. Your Notification Badges Are Always at Zero

Don’t be offended. I’m not saying that you don’t have notifications because you don’t have friends. But I’ve seen this in myself—I never have any little numbers on my home screen because I rush to check every one as soon as it pops up.

The Fix

Of course you can turn off those notifications like I mentioned previously. Or, you can just do some spring cleaning on your home screen. On Android, use an app launcher like Nova Launcher to go totally Marie Kondo and remove all app icons from view. On iOS, if you’re a believer in “out of sight, out of mind,” the simplest way is to put those apps in a new folder and move that folder to the last page of your apps. You’ll be able to get to them if you need to, but that red circle won’t be glaring at you every time you unlock your phone.

Recognize yourself in any of these signs? If you did, there is a way to stop the madness! If apps don’t do it for you (or, make things worse), try leaving your phone at home when you go out for dinner, or turning it off at night and actually buying an alarm clock. It’s the little actions you take daily that will make a huge impact on your addiction. Because every time you survive without it, you’ll remember that you don’t actually need it to survive.

Read More:


Join the Conversation

Are you part of our LinkedIn group?  Why not?!

To join the CMCA group on LinkedIn, you must first log in to your LinkedIn account. Then visit the group’s page at and click the “Ask to Join” button. Your request will be reviewed within 24 hours and you will then receive a notification regarding the status of your request.

Join the conversation!

LinkedIn facts


Did you get the Community Association Management SmartBrief this week? CAMICB provides a free, weekly e-mail newsbrief specifically designed for community association managers. Sign up here.

This complimentary resource is aimed at bringing you a quick, two-minute read that will help you keep up-to-date with the latest news and trends in our profession. SmartBrief will provide short summaries of the news articles that will be of interest to you as a community association manager. We know it will save you time, keep you informed and add to your success. I hope you will subscribe.


CMCA and the CAM Career Path


Very Positive Outlook for the Career Path of Credentialed Community Association Managers

Community association management remains a strong career path, both in the U.S. and abroad. The job market here at home has dramatically changed over the last decade, with many once-secure positions having shifted out of the country. For the foreseeable future, community association management’s person-to-person focus will protect it from automation, robots, or companies moving overseas, making it a great career choice.

The Community Associations Institute (CAI) estimates that as of 2016, there are approximately 342,000 to 344,000 community associations in the United States housing over 68 million residents. This is a significant increase, up from 222,500 community associations and 42.5 million residents in 2000. As the number of people living in community associations increases, so does the number of jobs for community association managers.

Career Outlook

Job prospects in the field of community association management are excellent. According to CAI’s Community Association Manager Compensation and Salary Survey, it’s estimated that 24% – 26% of all ownership housing is in one of the three basic types of community associations. Many new job opportunities will open for those interested in the field, while others will arise from the need to replace community association managers who transfer, retire, or leave the field. As of May 2016, the median annual wage for community association managers was just over $57,000.  Employment in the industry is projected to grow eight percent from 2014 to 2024.

As job prospects and wages vary from state to state, it’s a good idea to check out your area’s particulars.

CMCA – The Essential Credential

The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential is key to building a successful career in community association management. It signifies to employers that you are competent in specific management practices and are committed to professional excellence, ethical business standards, and continuing education. Employers are always on the lookout for dedicated professionals, and the CMCA certification after your name can often make the difference between whether or not you land the all-important first interview.

The CMCA credential is highly accessible:

§  It can be achieved with a minimal investment of time and money on your part.

§  It takes just a few days of prerequisite course work, one day for an exam, and some time for study in between.

§  It’s relatively low cost is a great investment in your future.

Obtaining the CMCA credential is a great first step in building your professional expertise and image. It opens the door to earning additional credentials and higher earnings – on average 18% more than non-credentialed community association managers.

Is a Certified Manager of Community Associations Career Right for You?

This may be an excellent career choice for you if you have a strong interest in working for community associations, providing the management activities they need to keep residents satisfied. As a certified manager, you should have a thorough knowledge of the policies of the community association you hope to work for.

Attention to detail, flexibility, good organization skills and, as previously mentioned, that all-important patience, are essential characteristics that good community association managers possess. There’s more! Community association managers must also have excellent interpersonal skills, be able to effectively communicate with a diverse range of people, and be able to deal with a variety of unrelated tasks at once.

All Work and No Fun?

Not at all! The best parts of life as a community association manager are also built into the job itself. Not only do you earn a decent living, but you are constantly learning new things, and meeting interesting people from all walks of life. The odds of becoming bored on the job are slim – there are just too many different and interesting things to do.

That said, community association management is not for everyone. If you prefer a more laid-back work life with fixed hours and minimal or no job-related stress, you might want to pursue another career. But if you’re a real people person who gets excited about staying up to date on frequent community management regulatory changes, possess a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards life, and can keep your wits about you when others around you are stressed, you can’t ask for a more engaging and stimulating career!

Becoming a certified manager of community associations is not merely a certification – it can be the journey of a lifetime. It elevates your credibility as a community association manager and makes employers more confident in hiring you. Finally, it offers you a wealth of opportunity, stability, and growth in an exciting career that shows no sign of slowing down.

Anniversary Pins

CMCA credential holders celebrating 10, 15 and 20 years as credential holders were sent a commemorative pin to recognize their achievement.   Congratulations!

All CMCAs work with CAMICB to set and maintain the standard for the community association management profession worldwide.  Take a moment to reflect on what you have achieved:

·         You earned the CMCA credential, the only internationally recognized credential for community association managers, making a clear and visible commitment to professionalism in your field and becoming part of a highly respected community of over 17,000 CMCA-credentialed managers around the world

·         You committed to uphold the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, a commitment indicative of genuine respect for your clients, your peers, and your profession, and you have honored that commitment

·         You have reaffirmed your commitment to professionalism in your field by maintaining your CMCA credential in good standing and completing an ongoing program of professional continuing education

For those of you with a new pin, wear it with pride!  Take a selfie with your pin and send it to CAMICB at – we’d love to share your accomplishment on our Facebook page.

CAMICB’s mission is to ensure that community association managers practice with professionalism, integrity, and knowledge.  For more than 20 years we have been dedicated to working on your behalf, maintaining the strength and integrity of the CMCA credential and advancing the community association management profession.  Your commitment to your CMCA credential represents your commitment to your career, your peers, and your profession.