Feeling overwhelmed as you try to get office work done at home? In as little as a few hours, your cluttered home office space can become an efficient machine, capable of maximizing your productivity, and ensuring better time management.
It's all within easy reach. In fact, reach is one of the first concepts to consider when reorganizing your work space. At your fingertips should be items you need often throughout the day -- your tablet, phone, and something to drink. That may seem obvious, but how often do you waste time searching for a pen or notepad?
A little further away but within reach should be items you use a few times a week -- reference items, files, or receipt storage. Items you need only monthly, quarterly or annually such as last year's tax returns can be shelved or stored out of reach. Minimize wasted time by having plenty of the supplies you need and keep them handy.
You may pay your bills online or through direct deposit, but you still have to know where your money's going. And you may need records for tax purposes, which means you have to have a place to put the paper trail.
If you don't want to miss a payment on a bill, or miss a tax deduction, start a filing system to keep items like receivables, bills, and receipts in order and prevent lost time searching through stacks of paper when you need something.
Ideally, you want to be able to file documents without having to get up from your desk and walk across the room. A filing drawer should house your files and be kept relatively neat as you go along.
And as you introduce new categories of files, keep them together alphabetically or by subject, for example - car expenses, home insurance, then mortgage. Some topics may need to be broken down three or more times into smaller groupings like Receipts A-K, L-S, and T-Z. If you're not a filer, keep categories simple -- house, car, taxes, etc.
Start each day with a master to-do list, suggests BusinessKnowHow.com. Establishing a three-tier system for mail is useful. A good template to follow is to-read, to-file, and to-contact (call, text or write). Try to handle each piece of paper only once so it doesn't pile up. A three-tier letter tray is the perfect solution.
You want to keep your workspace clean and clutter-free. If you have a piece of paper or mail that hasn't been attended, throw it away. This can include magazines, brochures, old coupons, or anything else that you don't need anymore. Also, if you have papers from old projects that are already on your computer and don't need filing, throw them away too!
Showmomthemoney.com says that tangled cords can be a liability if you have small children around, so group computer cables together with zip-ties to minimize clutter and to make your home-office safe.
Try to go as paper-free as possible. If you have a calendar on your phone or computer, that's a great place to plan your week, keep notes, and store important dates. If you prefer to see it all the time, attach a calendar to your wall as part of your décor.
If space is still limited, add shelves above or around your desk to increase surface area, so you can minimize clutter on your desk.
Make it a goal to clean your desk off weekly. You'd be surprised how much you can accumulate in dust, coffee stains, and clutter in a week. If something gets lost, it's easier to find after a week than a month.
Creating a functioning office space is easy, but keeping it that way takes some dedication. As long as you are motivated to keep your office space clean, clutter-free and efficient, you'll save time and energy, and possibly some money, too.