Without the structure of an office outside of our homes, it is easy to scatter anything work related all over the house. We still need to complete our work in a timely and efficient manner. After all, the less time we spend working, the more time we have with our family. An organized home office will make a faster and more pleasant workday.
Here are a few ideas to get you and your home office organized.
1) Do you have a home office? You don’t necessarily need an entire room, but you should have a well-defined space to contain all your office essentials and files.
A desk in your bedroom that will hold your files, paper, pens, calculator and of course computer will do fine, especially in the beginning.
If your “office” consists of the dining room table, some of the drawers in your kitchen, a file cabinet in the basement and the computer in the bedroom, you may want to think about organizing everything in one spot.
Are you spending a lot of time searching for a particular document, running from room to room to find it? Consider moving all your files and papers to one central location, preferably close to the computer if that’s where you are doing the bulk of your work.
2) Keep your personal files and papers separate from your business things.
Create a separate spot for those somewhere outside of your home office space.
3) Create a file system that works for you. Remember, you may be working for someone else, but when it comes to your home office, you are your own boss.
Think about how you look for a particular file or piece of paper. What will be the easiest way for you to find it? Then create a file system that works for you.
4) Take a good look at your work area. Do you notice anything else piling up? Set aside a few hours and put everything away. Use your new file system and find “homes” for anything else.
5) Add a personal touch to your office. Bring in some pictures of the kids; add some pretty plants, inspirational quotes, or anything else you can think of that will make your office a pleasant place to work in.
6) Let’s talk about the files on your computer. You can waist just as much time searching for an online document as for a piece of paper. If your computer is used for work as well as for personal use, create a work folder and use subfolders for particular employers, projects etc.
7) In addition to your regular files, you also want to keep your emails organized. Let’s be honest, we have all wasted time searching for a particular email that contained some vital information we needed fast. Setting up folders for different clients and projects has worked well for me, but again find a system that works for you and stick with it.
8) Now that you have a good filing system (both physical and digital) in place, set aside a little time every few months (or weeks if appropriate) to purge your files. We can quickly accumulate a lot of documents both in our file cabinet and on our hard drive that we no longer need. At the very least, try to purge your files twice a year.
I encourage you to start with a few of these ideas to get your office and yourself more organized. Before long, you won’t know how you ever functioned without an organized home office.
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