Triage – How to Prioritize for High Income and Low Stress Working From Home

Triage – How to Prioritize for High Income and Low Stress Working From Home

Working from the home office can be both a blessing and a curse. Blessings abound working from home and personally I wouldn’t have it any other way, but there is a method necessary to control the conquer the madness!

For Entrepreneurs there is always something to do, something to be completed or created or expanded.  It’s quite different than heading to a job which offers a fixed task list, or at least and end to the day.  For entrepreneurs working from home the list includes everything related to ones work, and then the home list which can also be somewhat endless. I personally feel that women entrepreneurs who work from home have this even harder than men. I find I can’t write when their are dishes in the sink or laundry on the floor – even if I’m not sitting in those rooms.

Yesterday I had my work at home tasks all laid out. I am sponsoring a influential live event in San Diego next week and have much to get ready. Last week we had 2. 5 cords of wood delivered. We heat our Colorado home in the winter with primarily wood and solar. We stacked the wood quickly without paying great attention to it.

Lo and Behold when I went to use it in the wood stove, it didn’t fit. Out came the tape measure. Oh No!  At least 2/3 of the wood was 2 -3 inches too long. I don’t own a chainsaw, nor do I want to learn to use one even though I love power tools. Chainsaws scare me. So we had an issue.

After a few calls to the wood man, he phoned back at noon yesterday saying he’s be there in an hour and half. He needed all the wood that was too long to be taken out from under the deck so it could be cut. Thus, my well organized work from home afternoon was instead spent on my knees with a tape measure, tossing a few hundred logs and then helping the men pile and sort as they cut it. Needless to say this blog post did not get written yesterday!



noun: triage


(in medical use) the assignment of degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties.
  • the process of determining the most important people or things from amongst a large number that require attention.
verb: triage; 3rd person present: triages; past tense: triaged; past participle: triaged; gerund or present participle: triaging


assign degrees of urgency to (wounded or ill patients).

Click to Tweet – Triage =The Process of Determining the

Most Important Things from

Those That Require Attention

Triage was and most likely is still a medical term. It means to decide who requires treatment first. On the battlefields and in emergency rooms, triage is a constant existing on the border between art and science.

Working from home requires triage too, if anything effective and productive is going to be accomplished.  For Entrepreneurs, particularly solo entrepreneurs (solopreneurs) time must be spent on activities that generate income and also on the activities that set the stage for generating income. As I shared above, life also gets has a pesky habit of presenting itself too, often on the days where much is on the agenda.


triage working from home for more income

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The method I use to control the chaos, increase income and reduce stress is thus:

1. I lay out my week on Sunday. Personally I use a paper calendar so I can view an entire week at one time and erase, circle, make notes and draw arrow. Yes, I am still in the 20th century on this one. Humor me.

2. Each night I examine the following day and list the top 3 items that must be done. This step is crucial to waking up in the morning with a plan. The day makes  more sense when it is laid out before you first thing.

3. I keep a Things I Could Be Doing list to fill in times that are too short for a full project but too long for just a glance at social media. These are ideas, creative whims, an organizing project and anything that is not my main productive activities but things I want to get to at some point.

4. I make time and space for exercise daily. Move your body daily. It will thank you for a lifetime.

5. I read every day even if my tasks were not completed. When interviewed, the most successful people in the world all admit to being adamant readers. Filling your mind with business books, motivational ideas, or just good literature is necessary to being able to produce, create and expand.

6. I give a day per week up to house things – often on a weekend. It has to get done. I tend to enjoy cleaning and painting and wood stacking etc… It clears my mind and puts love into my space.

7. I never never ever save anything for the last minute . This one is so crucial. Pressure creates stress and life rarely unfolds exactly as planned.  If there is a deadline and I’m working on that project with some padding to the timing, I won’t freak out if the wood guy calls or my child ends up home sick from school. Plan ahead for low stress.

High income working from home comes from a combination of clarity of purpose and action, committed daily activity, marketing skills, consistent self-growth, and a no quit attitude. For entrepreneurs high income earners also have a few other things in common. They exercise, read, meditate or pray every day.  I recently learned about this daily practice from James Altucher. I recommend you explore it for yourself. I’d like to add that the highest income earners are always learning. They try new things and investigate new ideas. You can always teach an old dog new tricks. It keeps the dog young!


I started out by talking about Triage – How to Prioritize for High Income and Low Stress Working From Home. I shared my fire wood story and a list of my 7 step method for increasing income and lowering stress by keeping it all together and moving forward. I’m sure you have systems in place that help with your focus too.

I’d love you to share them in the comments below!

This way we can learn from each other.

And of course – tweet away – so more can engage with us!


Deborah Tutnauer

Entrepreneur Business Success Coach at Deborah Tutnauer, LLC
Inspiring change in people for over 25 years, Deborah Tutnauer, MEd, MSWdigs deep to help authentic entrepreneurs move away from the stories that no longer serve them while clarifying and solidifying those that really do! Deborah helps frustrated entrepreneurs get exquisitely clear about meaning, purpose and expertise, then facilitates the creation of a financially sustainable and joyfully structured framework in which business and business people thrive.

Coaching both privately and in groups, Deborah is also a speaker, author, event leader and consultant. Creator of the Foundation and Framework Intensive, Question Master and Leader of the Entrepreneur Business Success Club, Deborah has been called an “Architect of Magical Business and Soul Structure”by her clients because she has a powerful ability to perform alchemy, changing passions and dreams into money and time by design.

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  1. says

    Hi Deborah,

    You are so right… working from home is a real challenge. Though it may be different for many men, I can tell you that when my wife and kids are home I have to concentrate extra hard as there are lots and lots of distractions.

    I actually try to break my days up when at my home office. I make some time to spend with the family or do my daily chores around the house.

    I have a pretty tight calendar and I follow it.

    I couldn’t agree more that you have to really be clear and focused. Without it you will never have any execution and thus you will make no money or grow your business. All business is done with intentionality.

    Great post Deborah. I hope you stay nice and warm in CO and for a successful event next week in CA!!!

    ~ Don Purdum
    Don Purdum recently posted…The Decline of Content Blogging in a Context AgeMy Profile

    • says

      Thanks for the best wishes for the upcoming week Don! I do feel prepared. It took a full day of creating materials and another day at the print shop but I’m thankful to say that the results are wonderful and I took back my week and got it all done!

      Though I hate to be sexist, I think you are quite correct about it being different for men and women when it comes to having a home office. I’ve often thought of renting a space outside the house, just for the change of space and place. Instead I have structured my home so that when I walk into my office my mind is no longer in the kitchen and I cognitively shift.

      I will share a secret though…I have a variety of business tasks that I complete best in different rooms! Sometimes I even prefer heading upstairs to the bedroom area for client phone calls. Since I always meditate prior to meeting with my clients or the Entrepreneur Business Club, it makes sense to center in my quiet space – focus and clear my mind – and then move right into my call with out having to change location and shift the energy again. Also, if someone comes to the door during those times, they assume I’m not home if they don’t see me in the windows, and they go away!

      Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…Meaning of Money – Success Beyond Dollars and SenseMy Profile

  2. says

    Hi Deborah,

    I can sure resonate with this one! Working from home being a solopreneur is not as easy as people think. I do have a large home office I share with my husband. When I’m in there, I mentally shut the world out and do my tasks at hand.

    Yes, I too have that 20th century list of the day going on he he.. I work from an appointment book and schedule in everything from my work to my exercise and chill out time. If I don’t do that, I can get overwhelmed very quickly.

    I also “eat the frog” (do the most important tasks) first. It took a while, but now it is a habit thank goodness!

    But life happens! Just like your wood, something can disturb our entire day. It can be anything from a small scale to a large one. But as long as we developed this in our mindset, it is less stressful.

    I was MIA from the computer due to allergies and taking medication, which I never do. I posted on groups and Facebook that I would be gone for a while until I was on the mend. People do understand. I received so many responses …Don’t worry….Get Well….etc.

    Doing that one action put my mind at ease because there were deadlines, and responsibilities to deal with.

    I think the most important thing is to keep ourselves “ready” for any situation that comes up so that we won’t stress out.

    Thanks for sharing this because I used to be the one that stressed if something disrupted my day and I am so pleased to share this with my friends and readers.

    donna merrill recently posted…Ready For Success?My Profile

    • says

      “Eat the Frog”!

      I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that phrase before Donna. It’s a good one.

      I agree that the key is to “ready” for any situation. Or maybe it’s really to be open to anything that comes up, trusting that if our intentions and commitment are correct, then it’s all unfolding as it should be each and every day. That has been a great and ongoing lesson for me. So often we stress and struggle because it’s not as we desire or as we plan. Yet maybe it’s just right since there is always much more to the story than that which we perceive.

      Meditation has been a wonderful teacher for me as has been my studies of soul contracts and human design. Breathing through and trusting that we are here on earth for a purpose is a huge shift from the angst with which many live their lives.

      I sincerely appreciate you commenting and sharing this post Donna! Enjoy the rest of your week. I am off to a marketing conference in San Diego which I have sponsored and am hosting a booth. The next few days should be quite intense in a wonderful way!

      Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…Meaning of Money – Success Beyond Dollars and SenseMy Profile

  3. says

    Hey Deborah,

    I love working from home too. It is a challenge though, my friends use to call me whenever they had time because they knew I was at home. My neighbors love to just come over whenever and they constantly interrupt me. I finally made two signs up and put them on my door telling them to not disturb me. They get ticked when I refuse to go to the door and I forward my phone to voicemail.

    My goodness, no respect for other people’s time at all. It doesn’t matter how many times I tell them either. Urggggg

    Okay, enough about that rant but on to how to handle the work.

    I’m an annoyingly organized person, I always have been. Like you I have a wall calendar but also a notebook that I keep on my desk. The notebook is what I write everything down on for what I need to do for the day. I schedule things ahead of time as well but when I need to view specific things they are on my wall calendar. I go down the list and check them off as I complete my tasks.

    I still do last minute things at times but I try my best not too. I have my moments I’m afraid although I know darn well that I shouldn’t.

    I do walk everyday and have just started to incorporate more exercise into my day. I meditate each morning, I pray, I have my gratitude list, my vision statement and my daily devotional that I read before I even get started with my work day. Most of the reading that I do are other blogs and I do a LOT of that. :-)

    I love working from home and wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about that wood issue! LOL!!!

    Have a great week Deborah and thanks for sharing this.

    Adrienne recently posted…6 Superstar Bloggers Share Why Blog Communities Are VitalMy Profile

    • says

      You do sounds quite organized Adrienne.
      I was more that way before becoming a Mom. I know it’s still in me somewhere. Ha ha.

      I just love that you take the time in the morning for meditation and prayer and that it comes first. I struggle to not jump right into my emails in the morning. It’s like my phone has a magnet in it while I’m having my coffee and making breakfast. The closest I’ve gotten to reflection time first, is to give myself permission to take a quick look at the screen first thing then not come back to anything work related until I’ve had my centering and internal time.

      As for exercise – You Go!! Great job with that! I love being outside for hikes, walks and soon-to-be skiing. As we both know, it’s so important for our bodies and crucial for our minds too, to be outdoors and moving!

      Your notebook sounds like my TICBD Workbook – see if you can figure out the initials!! It’s a hint of something coming soon!

      Have a great week Adrienne!
      Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…Mistakes Line The Road to Success – I ConfessMy Profile

  4. says

    Oooh Deb, these are great tips. I had my own triage situation recently when I spent an unexpected week in hospital with gall stones. The first day I was planning all the stuff I would get done from my hospital bed. Then we discovered I couldn’t actually sit up without being violently ill. Suddenly I couldn’t do any work and was FORCED to rest. I remember thinking I wished I’d been a bit more up to date when I got sick!

    My best tip to control chaos is actually the opposite of one of yours. I’ve promised myself to NEVER have to take a day out for the house. I do all my chores in 15 minute spurts during the week. And I never leave a mess that needs to be cleaned up. I learned this through many unhappy experiences! But it was one of the best lessons I’ve ever learned and made a habit.

    It might be a bit odd but I can actually tell you exactly how long it takes me to do every household chore. I timed them all so I’d stop avoiding jobs that took just 3 minutes but had taken on this huge life in my head because I was avoiding them!

    Seriously – changed my life!
    Tracey Pedersen recently posted…Get Your Book Writing Help Here And Publish Your Book!My Profile

    • says

      So happy to see you! I’m so sorry to hear about your gallstones. How very painful that must have been. I hope you are fully recovered and are back to your energetic self.

      Your housework plan is so good and funny. We all have our own ways of accomplishing what must be done and I just love how creative it can become!

      Happy New Year Tracey!
      I hope this year is joyful and filled with love and abundance for you.

      Deborah Tutnauer recently posted…Can I Afford a Business CoachMy Profile

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