Working from home can be fun, but if you aren’t organized properly, then it can be hell.
Below are some tips for organizing your home office.
Tip #1: Tools for organization
When I say tools, I don’t mean a screw driver and wrench. I mean a few basic tools like an inbox where you can put assignments, bills, letters and other projects on your to-do list, a file rack (or a few) to hold current projects, a trash basket, recycling container and shredder, and a filing cabinet. Day planner, wall calendar, white board should be considered to keep meetings, assignments and notes in order.
These basic tools are a must have because it not only keeps your office organized but it keeps you organized as well.
Tip #2: Develop a workflow.
Working from home can be tricky because, well, you are home. So it is important to make sure you establish a workflow that works best with not only your business plan but with your personal life. Let’s be honest, most people working from home, work from home so they can spend more time with their families, or with themselves. I suggest mapping out at least 2 hours to do whatever you want. Since you work from home, your work hours aren’t traditional anyways, so finding 2 hours to spend with your loved ones or with yourself shouldn’t be so hard.
Tip #3: A Clean Desk is a great desk.
Keep your desk cleaned. See tip 1 for some ideas on some office supplies to use to keep your desk clean. Also think of including shelves and bookshelves in your office which will help clear up your desk as well.
Tip #4: An unorganized filing cabinet is a terrible thing to have
A filing cabinet is a great, easy, convenient way for you to have all of your documents you need within hands reach. However, don’t make the mistake of filing everything away. Some documents don’t need to be printed, and you might want to think about developing an e-filing system to ensure you have all of the documents you need, but without the clutter.
Tip #5: Everything doesn’t need to be kept
Don’t be afraid to shred and/or throw out items that do not need to be used.
Below are some items that you shouldn’t be afraid to toss:
- Pens that no longer work
- Paper clips that are bent out of shape
- Old magazines and newspapers
- Unused or broken office equipment, including old phones, computers, and printers/scanners (you can recycle many of these products)
- Outdated documents
- Unsure when it’s okay to throw out certain documents? Here’s a guide to how long you need to keep important papers:
- Tax returns and supporting documents (canceled checks and receipts): seven years (Keep tax returns forever if you have the space)
- Pay stubs: one year, until you get your W-2
- Investment statements: one year, until your year-end statements arrive
- Bank statements: one year
- Medical bills: one year
- Credit card statements: one month, after you’ve checked them for accuracy
- Newspapers, magazines, Internet print-outs: as soon as you’ve read them or are finished using them
Tip #6: Keep office equipment off of your desk.
This is pretty easy. Put your PC Tower on the floor, and any other office equipment that may not need to be on your desk should be moved to a different surface.
Tip #7: Combine your Calendar and To Do List.
I know it may seem like you should keep your calendar and to do list separately but honestly it could completely overwhelm you. I suggest using a calendar/to do list template that includes a calendar and to do list in one place.
Tip #8: Keep your PC Clutter Free.
I have an issue with this myself, I tend to find documents I like and/or think will be useful at a later date. I do find my PC will be cluttered up with documents I don’t need right away. One thing I decided to do was start keeping those documents on Google Drive. I find that way my PC is clear and I also still have the documents I want to look at later.
What are some of the things you do to keep your home office organized?
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