This article by Bonnie Joy Dewkett gives some great tips for maintaining an organized home office. We also recommend Paper Tiger Filing System Software for organizing and indexing your paper files so you can find them quickly and easily at the time you need them without having to search through stacks and stacks of paper. See also our blog article Customize Your Filing System with Paper Tiger’s Indexing Method
By Bonnie Joy Dewkett
The Joyful Organizer®
For those who work at home, organizing and maintaining a home office can be a unique challenge. After all, your kids wouldn’t put toys on your desk, and your significant other wouldn’t dump the mail on your keyboard at an office. Maintaining order and organization in your home office presents more challenges than organizing a traditional office. Keep reading to discover 10 easy ways to keep things together so you can attain your highest level of productivity.
- Invest in quality and functional furniture. If you are trying to run a business on a piece of wood propped up with cinder blocks, chances are you aren’t working as effectively as you could. Do some research and purchase furniture that meets your business and ergonomic needs. Consider looking into some discount or used furniture stores for ideas if you are working with a budget.
- Establish multiple workstations or zones. Create an area that you can do computer work, another area for letter writing and other physical paper manipulation, and finally a station for filing and housing archival information and paperwork.
- Make sure your business hardware is functioning properly, clean, and accessible. If is it extremely difficult to access your fax machine, chances are you will never use it. Keeping all your hardware clean and out in the open will help you move about your office and perform tasks quickly and efficiently.
- Keep cleaning products such as a duster and multi-surface cleaner in the room. If something needs to be cleaned, you don’t have to leave the room and risk getting distracted to clean up.
- Keep snacks and drinks on hand. If possible, utilize a mini fridge in your office. Getting thirsty or hungry during the day will lead you to leave your office for food or drink. Again, you run the risk of getting distracted and not returning to work quickly. Also you’ll do your best work when your body is nourished!
- If you are running your household finances from the same office, file all paperwork in a separate filing cabinet or a separate drawer. Color code files to make the separation clear to everyone.
- Set working hours. Create a schedule for yourself just like you would if you had a job you had to leave the house to go to. Make sure your family and customers know what business hours you keep.
- If you haven’t already, consider using a P.O. Box to receive your business mail. This will keep it separate from your personal bills, correspondence, and periodicals. This will also keep unwanted traffic to your home office if customers should not go there.
- Keep office supplies on hand. You don’t need a supply closet full like you would if you were in an office of 100 people. Running out of printer paper, and having to stop your day to go buy more, creates a distraction. If you don’t already, keep a list of your office supply inventory and make a single trip to replenish many items.
- Define your business space. Make sure the whole family knows that that is your job and they need to respect your space. Have an inbox for any items that family members want to give you for your attention during the workday. Most importantly, set the right example by respecting your time and work space.
Bonnie Joy Dewkett, CPO® is an organizing expert, author, and motivational speaker. Her company, The Joyful Organizer®, creates and implements organizational systems for the home or office. These changes allow her Customers to create calm from chaos at work and at home. Bonnie has achieved the prestigious designation of Certified Professional Organizer, CPO®, from The Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. She is a member of The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and has published The Joyful Organizer’s Guide to a Joyful Move which is available on her website http://www.thejoyfulorganizer.com.
Tags: get organized, Productivity
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