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Today is Organize Your Home Office Day. I’m probably the last person to provide information on home office organization since I’m organizationally challenged. But having worked at home for many years, I can tell you that organization is a factor in achieving work-at-home success.
While you’ll find a ton of organizational books, tools, totes and more, I believe that organization is a personal thing. I have tried so many different systems and most never worked for me. My mind just doesn’t work the way the systems require one to think and act. In the end I’ve adapted existing or developed my own systems. Here are some tips and tools I like.
iGoogle – When I turn on my computer and go online, the first page I see is my iGoogle page. It has my whole day at a glance including my calender, to-do’s, Facebook, Gmail, weather, feed reader and more. It my whole life on one page!
Gmail – If you end up having more than one email account, Gmail is a great way to organize and manage them. I send ALL my email except my business mail to a single Gmail account. From there I can respond, label, delete or do whatever needs to be done. I can change my email from profile depending on who I’m writing. The labels make sorting and organizing emails easier than files.
Google Calendar – I used to use Agendus for my desktop and phone. But now that I have a Smart phone, I don’t want to have sync when I can just go online. I can SMS text an appointment to my calendar as well as view it from any computer. It works with iGoogle so I can have it on my start page when I view my day-at-a-glance.
Binder – While I use a lot of online apps, I’m not completely paperless. I haven’t yet found the perfect daily/weekly organizer online (or offline for that matter). So I created my own. I have a fancy full size planner binder in which I keep my schedule as well as sections for my projects. For example I’ll have a section for each blog or my writing work. The actual planner is one page with my weekly view and an opposite page where I keep my weekly writing tasks. The challenge for me was that so many planners were business or personal, but didn’t integrate both. Since I move from one to the other during the day, I needed everyone on one page. So I have my everyday tasks listed at the top along side with my project goals for the week and my home cleaning zone (I try to be like Flylady although I’m not so good at it). Below that I have a section for each day of the week Monday through Friday and the tasks that need to be done that day. For example Monday is grocery day and post all job on the blog for the week. There are blank lines for me to fill in other activities or appointments as well. I use a highlighter to highlight appointments and tasks that have to be done.
Organization is really about being able to access your information and materials when you need them and knowing what you need to be doing and at what time you need to do it. However you’re able to set up your home office to achieve that goal is going to be the best organizational system for you.
You might want to check out my blog Better Living on the Web where I post all sorts of great web-based organizational and make-life-easier tools.