Expert Tips on How to Keep Your Home Office Organized for Maximum Productivity
Everyone who works from home knows that it’s easy to get distracted. Paperwork piles up, your desk starts looking like a disaster zone, and things can snowball out of control. These experts let us pick their brains for tips on how to stay on top of organizing, so your home business can be as productive and profitable as possible! Here’s what they had to say:
Juli Oliver is a local and international Professional Organizer based in NYC and Founder of OrganizeNY.
- Keep office hours. Do not get distracted by your home surroundings. That includes pets, kids, and neighbors.
- Make a dedicated space. Get creative. Have key essentials and furniture that works for you. Proper lighting, desk organizer, fun practical supplies, a comfortable chair.
- Avoid clutter: Keep only current project materials needed on your desk at arms reach and clear away the rest.
Dmytro Moroz from Kanbanize has these tips to make work at home life a bit simpler!
- Stop managing time and start managing work. Get yourself a work management tool that also tracks time, instead of pomodoro timers and other time-centered solutions. Despite common belief, you are not paid for time, you are paid for the value your work brings to your customer. Use a project management software to visualize all of your work and progress, this will take away the stress of trying to remember everything. Plus seeing your progress helps you stay motivated.
- Full focus & single tasking.If you are to be productive, dedicate 100% of your efforts to the task at hand. Forget about all the other tasks and deadlines. There are plenty of tools letting you limit the use of your browser, specific apps of functions of your computer for a limited period of time. Concentrate and work for as long as you need to finish the task. Don’t try to do a little bit of everything, context switching will make you tired faster and won’t bear any real fruit. Definitely, don’t take unnecessary breaks to walk around your house, that will only get your mind distracted.
- Plan time to socialize. This might sound counterproductive, but you need to put human interaction, chatting and small talk on your schedule. Working from home means there is a 0% chance of casually exchanging a few words at the water-cooler, little to no chance of someone stopping by your desk to ask/remind/tell you about something. Unless you really function best without human interaction, set time for conversations with your colleagues on the other side of the internet. These brief talks will wake you up and, very often, give you a fresh boost of energy and ideas.
Reed Floren from Business Success Systems has some great suggestions to keep things organized, and multi-task!
- Use a treadmill desk,. This is a great way to start my day while getting a light workout in allowing me to organizing my to-do list or responding to messages. I have found that when I do this, I feel better about the day and it gives me a nice boost of energy, much better than drinking coffee.
- Using multiple computer screens has allowed me to get work done a lot faster. It’s fantastic to be able to look up information on one screen and implement it on the other.
- The Pomodoro technique of focusing on a task for 25 minutes and not multitasking followed by a short break of 3-5 minutes then going back to the task for another 25 minutes has really boosted productivity.
Keeping things organized is what she does best! Here are some tips from Nancy Haworth of On Task Organizing, LLC
- Arrange your office into categories to save time searching for items. Create separate storage areas for extra office supplies and reference materials, and a designated work space area.
- Eliminate paper piles by having a shredder and recycle bin in your home office. Process mail near the recycling bin and shredder.
- Add lighting to your work space. The desk area should have plenty of lighting, in addition to natural and/or overhead light, also add a task light to reduce eyestrain, glare and mental fatigue.
Elizabeth Becker is the Client Partner of IT Staffing Firm PROTECH,coming through with these tips.
- Shred, scan or file. Paperwork tends to clutter up a home office. Instead of letting clutter pile up, put a system in place where you either shred, scan to the cloud, or manually any completed paperwork as soon as it’s completed.
- Add wheels. Likely your office chair will likely have wheels but have you considered using a filing cabinet or other office equipment with wheels? It makes it easy to wheel out whatever you need for the day then push it under your desk or into a closet at the end of the day. This is especially useful if you use your home office space for other purposes, like a home gym, as you can quickly consolidate and roll out the yoga mat without feeling cluttered.
- Schedule time to clean. Setting aside 10-15 minutes of your day to tidy up your home office will keep the clutter and dust under control. If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, then you know it’s perfectly acceptable to use some time each day to tidy up – so why not do it when it’s a work at home office?
Note from Leslie:
I’m organizationally challenged, so there’s always a little bit of clutter on my desk. But I do think you need to create systems to stay on top of work that needs to be done, as well as keeping your items organized. While I use digital tools for most things, I use a paper planner. I recently started to use the Happy Planner, which I like because I can organize by week the way I work, and it’s fun. I use Google Calendar for my appointments (I don’t have many), but will add them to my Happy Planner too. There’s an organized chaos on my desk. Bills are in one pile, to-be-read in another pile etc. My file pile is stacked on the floor. About once a week, I go through to file and straighten.
The experts above have great ideas that you should consider. The more organize you are, more you can get done in less time.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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