You have a lot going on in your life. You’re balancing your relationships with family and friends, kids, their schedules and your professional life. In an effort to make things a little easier, you have moved your office to the home to try and simplify your tasks, but all these efforts will be pointless if you do not have a clean space to collect your thoughts and get work done.
Taking the time to organise your home office can boost your mental performance and give you a clearer state of mind. Having spare or unnecessary things lying around can distract you and delay your ability function. You have your designated work place at your home so you can be a better parent and adult everywhere else in your home.
We have collected the top eight tips to help organise your home office. Start cleaning up by reading below!
1. Keeping your office within reach
Design your home office by what you need the most. You’re probably going to need a desk, chair, computer and a few shelves. Keep everything together in one part of the office. Having a few necessary items across the room can lead to excess movement and more distractions. It is certainly well-intentioned if you spread out the needed items so that you can stay on your feet at home, but it will distract your work and hurt your performance in the end.
Your home likely already has so many boxes, folders and, for lack of a better word, junk stuck in corners and hiding in attics and basements. Do not turn your home office into another place where you can ditch unneeded items. Keep the things that are important to your office within arm’s reach. If it requires you get up, make sure you do not need it ten times on a daily basis.
2. Use an organised filing system
Being a professional at home means having everything where you need it, when you need it. This is true for papers, contacts and other documents. Even in the digital age, paper is everywhere and is widely used. An email does not have the same utility as a piece of paper and a pen during a meeting. Be it an invoice to be mailed, a plan for the next ad campaign or a resume, it is likely going to be printed sooner or later.
You need to organise these things in some manner that makes sense to you. Take some time on deciding this. Once you fall into a certain way of doing things, it is very difficult to turn it around. Organise by date received, alphabetically or by content, it doesn’t matter as long as it is organised. Play around with the methods of organisation to determine what is best for your business needs.
This need for an organisational system extends to the digital world as well. Every office needs a computer and they clutter up with as many emails and documents as desks do with papers and files. Organise your computer’s files with the same method, whatever works best. Organising similarly across mediums can unify your mental process of storage and make storing documents even easier.
3. Have an “In Tray”
Every office desk has an In Tray to remind you what you have to do yet. This is handy in the long grinds against the clock. In that race to take it easy, but still get work done, an In Tray can help motivate you towards the singular goal of productivity. When the tray’s empty, you’ll know you’ve really accomplished something.
During stressful work days, you can always be rest assured that the cause of your stresses is in one place. There is no excuse for losing an important paper or folder if you have a tray where it will always go.
4. Keep things clean for the long haul
No matter how much effort you make to organise your home office, it will always get dirty again. It is in our nature to let things sit out where we can see them easily. The problem with that is those things we let sit out are going to pile up.
Take some time, once a week is best, to clean up your office again. This will not be nearly as intense as the re-invention you have to do first. The nature of this weekly clean-up is on you. You can just revisit where all your papers are and evaluate how well your filing system is holding up, to keep it simple. You can go as crazy as cleaning under surfaces by breaking out the surface cleaner and Windex.
5. Get a filing cabinet
Vertical space is one of the most underutilised organisation methods across spaces, locations and purposes. Most people just don’t think about how much space they have available to them along the walls of their home. This is usually because it would mean cluttering walls and obscuring pictures. The filing cabinet is a great answer to use your vertical space.
Not only are you extending upwards, without stacking things on top of each other, the filing cabinet can be a vital part of your organisational system. It normally comes with large drawers that can accommodate folders and other organisational mediums.
6. Decide what is actually useful
When you finally begin to clean up your office, keep a trash bag handy. There is a large chance that you have useless things sitting around your office. There is a difference between sometimes useful tools and junk. When you are cleaning up your office, keep an eye out for the following things. They might only be holding you back.
- Dead pens,
- Broken pencils,
- Outdated magazines and
- Old documents (that invoice from five months ago?)
- Broken office supplies
If you have a solid reason for holding onto any of these items, go ahead. To organise your home office though, it’s best to get rid of those things.
7. Marginalize personal items
When you are at the office, it makes sense why you should bring photos of loved ones. You are away from home for hours on end and you may miss them. However, if you have a home office at home, why would you need these pictures? This is your home. It is full of memories and images that can remind you of fun nights with friends and family and memories made within these walls.
If you start missing those you love, take a five minute break and just walk around your home. If family members are home, say hi and see what they are up to. Not for too long though, you still have work to do. In the home office, there is not a lot of space or reason to have lots of photos and mementos hanging about.
If you have a home office, it is more than just a home. It is also your livelihood. Your ability to support your family depends on getting the job done at the highest quality possible. Having a messy workplace can hurt your ability to accomplish this task. Do not wait for a situation to arise, start cleaning your home office right now!