Organization is vital in your home-office if you are to function at maximum efficiency, achieve increased productivity and maintain your sanity at the same time.
When you have to search for a place to sit or an empty space to place a file it’s time to organize. When you have to spend precious minutes searching for your car keys, or the television remote control, or your cell phone, then it’s really time to organize.
Most of the following suggestions hold true for both home and office or if you’re working out of your home in a designated office space.
Find a place for everything and put everything in its place. This will mean filing and storing. If you have a home or office that’s overwhelmed with clutter, divide the task into individual areas.
Have plenty of file folders and storage bins on hand before you begin. Other important tools include paper-holding trays, pen or pencil, labelers, post-its, rubber bands, staplers and paper clips. If it’s your home you can be less formal and use colorful wicker baskets if you want and even have a “read me later” file.
A good rule of thumb is that if you’ve not read or used a piece of paper, a file or a notebook filled with remarks in the last six months you probably may trash it. But, if you’re still not sure and think you may need to keep it for any reason, including legal reasons then prepare a long-term file bin.
Try not to handle each piece of paper or file more than once. Don’t get bogged down with in depth reading of an article or you’ll never get finished. Save it for later. Right now your goal is to clear clutter and get organized.
Once the top of your desk is clear and everything is in its place, start with the drawers. Clean desk drawers provide more storage space. Keep your filing system simple. Don’t make it so complicated that it’s hard to retrieve an item. If you’re afraid you might lose track of an article, store it in a clear container or label it in bold letters.
Keep only the essential items on your desk top such as a phone, calculator, computer, and office supplies you need daily such as tape, pens and paper clips. Okay, go ahead and make a space for a family photo or your significant other, or a vision board.
You tend to get much more accomplished if the environment is user friendly. Other personal items however, should not be in plain view or on your desk. Designate a separate drawer for personals and keep them to a minimum.
Create a to-do list and keep it where you see it constantly. If you forget to do something don’t use the excuse that you didn’t check your to-do list or your calendar. Keep your appointment calendar up to date and check it often. The top of your desk should have only one project at a time to keep you focused.
Reward yourself once you’ve completed your organization. Now, keep it that way. When a project is finished, put it away. Straighten your desk and work area at the end of each day so you meet the new day with a clean desk and a clear mind.