If you work from home or run a home-based business, staying organized-especially organizing paperwork-can be a challenge. It’s easy for all the activities of home-relaxing, eating sleeping, family time-to spill over and cause organizational problems. When your workspace is chaotic, you tend to accomplish less. To ensure a productive home office, try the following tips.
1.) Set boundaries. Make sure your office is only your office. An entire room devoted to this purpose is ideal, of course, as it allows you to block out other things. Still, even if your office is just a section of a room, draw an imaginary line around that space, and keep everything unrelated to work out of that space.
2.) Keep the basics on hand. Most businesses need:
- A trash can, recycling can and paper shredder
- A container or drawer for pens/pencils, paper clips, clamps, post-it notes, scissors and a stapler.
- A file cabinet or file drawers with hanging and tab file folders for organizing paperwork.
- A telephone.
- A clock and a timer.
- A notepad to write notes and to-do lists.
3.) Remove clutter. To promote order and help with organizing paperwork, remove anything that is not directly useful for your work. If you tend to accumulate piles of documents, books and other materials throughout the day, designate a few minutes each day to sort and remove what you don’t need. For many people, just the presence of clutter can disrupt productivity.
4.) Have an efficient filing system. It’s true: you should be able to locate any paper or file in 30 seconds or less! Properly organizing paperwork and files will allow you to do this. Papers you need to take action on should be in an Active File System. This system is part of your larger home office filing system and automatically brings important papers to your attention when needed.
An Active File System helps in organizing paperwork so that you can:
- Keep track of important items so you won’t forget/lose them, or miss a deadline.
- Focus on your primary work and deal with important papers at the appropriate times.
With the right tools, organizing paperwork and keeping it organized is easy!
5.) Take breaks and eat lunch elsewhere. Taking occasional breaks during the day can boost your energy and actually increase productivity. Even better: get outside! Vitamin D from 15 minutes of sunshine can lighten your mood and improve mental sharpness.
6.) Use a timer. Timers are great for two reasons: they keep you focused and limit the amount of time you spend on low-priority busy work, which allows you to give your best time to high-priority work. Decide how much time you want to spend on certain things like checking email. Set your timer for that amount of time. You will be more likely to complete tasks more efficiently, because the deadline will focus your attention and force you to prioritize.
Keeping a home office in order can be a challenge at times, but it’s certainly not impossible. Implementing these easy tips can help you use your time wisely, assist with organizing paperwork and files, keep your workspace open and free of clutter, and improve your mindset, energy, and productivity.
Heidi is a professional organizer, creator of The Fast-Filing Method home office filing system and publisher of Life Made Simple e-Magazine. Heidi energizes her readers’ lives by teaching simple and effective organizational systems and time mastery skills to help you accomplish more in less time, make more money and GAIN peace of mind! Visit ClearSimpleLiving.com to get a FREE Home Organization Kit.
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