One of the issues that I deal with daily is keeping myself organized. I admit that this is a big struggle for me. If I don’t stay on top of it, I quickly fall into a mess of clutter. Working from home makes it tempting to turn your work area into a dumping spot, especially if it is in an out-in-the-open area. For example, my desk is in the dining room and you pass it on the way to the kitchen. It is easy for me set things down on it when I am picking up and moving from room to room. Before long, I can’t find my work items buried beneath the folded laundry and piles of magazines.
When you work from home, you are in charge of keeping yourself organized and motivated. Don’t fall victim to the idea that because you don’t have a boss breathing down your neck you can keep your area as messy as you want.
So how do you get your home office/work area organized?
First and foremost, de-clutter the spot. You can’t be well organized if you are having to sort through your kids homework and permission slips or old to-do lists. Step back from your work spot and take a good look at it. Often, we get so used to the unnecessary stuff being there that we don’t even realize it is there anymore. So look at it with a critical eye. Open your drawers. Bring the trash can over and start pitching anything that doesn’t need to be kept. And if it isn’t work related, put it somewhere else. Not only do those things cut into your work space, they serve as potential distractions when you sit down to work.
Once you have your space de-cluttered and cleared off, place your notepad in an open spot for writing out your to-do list. Even if you use your smartphone as your organizer and calendar, a notepad is indispensible for quickly writing down anything that comes to mind. If you are working and remember you need to add cream of tartar to the grocery list, write it down right then on that pad and move on with your work. Potential distraction diverted.
Purchase a couple of brightly colored file folders and use those to place important papers in. This will at least create a barrier between them and anything else you set on top of them, allowing you to still quickly locate what you are working on.
Continuing on with the file folders: as much as I love technology, I still find that the best way for me to stay organized is to print out paper copies of anything that I need to be working on. I am a tactile person, so holding the paper and writing directly on it helps me to internalize what I am doing and need to do. That is not to say that I don’t use my online calendar and reminder program to assist me, but having a paper copy also allows me to step away from my computer and still be able to keep my finger on what I am working on.
At the end of the day, straighten your desk. Don’t leave it a mess. When you sit down and face it the next morning, chances are you won’t remember whether those random papers are important or not. Don’t waste valuable time sorting and trying to recall something that wouldn’t have even been an issue had you just put it away the night before.
All of these suggestions are important, regardless of the size of your workspace. Having a large office space doesn’t mean you don’t have to be so stringent. It just means that you can create even more clutter.
There are plenty of ways to organize yourself. What works for you, may not work for the next person, so it is important to consider your work habits and styles as you get yourself set up. Keep these basics in mind and continue from there.
photo source: Stillframe
Sound off: How do you keep your home office space tidy and organized?
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