Are you lucky enough to work from home full-time or a few hours each week? You're more likely to stay focused and be productive if your home office is organized. Here are several tips for you to consider as you celebrate Organize Your Home Office Day tomorrow, March 10th.
Clear the Clutter
Before you do anything else in your home office, clear the clutter. Piles of papers, files or clothing need a different home. Replace individual equipment items with multipurpose pieces, too, as you reduce chaos and increase calmness. If this task scares you, set a timer for 15 minutes and work as fast as you can before taking a break. Then commit to clearing clutter every evening before you close up shop for the day.
Create an Organizational System That Works for You
Maybe you prefer a messy desk or specialize in color-coded filing systems. Either way, your system functions efficiently when you at least have a filing cabinet, letter organizer, pencil holder, shredder, and trash can. Then set up a system that sorts and stores policies, mail and office supplies invoices and mail alphabetically, by date or with another method that works for you.
Store Frequently Used Items Nearby
Stop wasting valuable time searching for the stapler or highlighter. If you use an item at least daily, store it near your desk for easy access. Less frequently used items like the hole punch or pencil sharpener can stay in a drawer or on a shelf. The same principle applies to reference books and equipment, too.
Cut the Cables
How much time do you waste each day stepping over wires or figuring out which plug goes to your cell phone charger? If you can't go completely wireless, label each wire then tie them together with twisty ties or Velcro straps before plugging everything into a surge protector. You reduce tripping risks and keep your office organized with this simple step.
Establish a Workflow
With your organized office space, you're ready to establish a workflow. Decide that you'll handle each piece of paper or email only once. Either file, toss or answer it immediately as you keep your desk and inbox tidy. Once every quarter, go through your files and get rid of paperwork you no longer need for even greater workflow efficiency.
You're more likely to stay focused at work if your office is neat and tidy. However, you might also need additional tools that help you stay on task and finish your daily to-do list. Try these tricks.
Set office hours, and let your family and friends know that you're unavailable during those times.
Tackle hard tasks first when you're fresh.
Don't check email until you've worked an hour.
Set a timer and take at least a five-minute break every hour.
Shut your office door, turn off your work phone and relax every evening.
Working from home allows you to work a flexible schedule, but you'll need to stay organized and focused on making this arrangement successful.