Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Organize Your Home Office Day

Today happens to be "Organize Your Home Office" Day. Not everybody works from home, but most of us still have a need for a spot to do office-like tasks. We need a spot for our computers, a printer, office supplies and a place to pay bills. It may be a separate room or a corner shared in another space. whatever your situation is, here are a few tips to organize your home office in a few steps.

1) Pick a spot. If you don't have a room called "the office" then find a corner where you can set one up. If possible, away from where you sleep and eat. Consider good lighting and where a good work surface will fit.

2) Gather office things and put them in that spot. Go around your home and gather all the things you need for your computer, mailing, and doing office-like tasks. Use a large laundry basket if you want and drop things in as you see them.

3) Organize the office supplies first. No matter if you use your office for personal or professional purposes the office supplies are used for both. Once you have everything gathered you can see what you have and what needs to be sorted and organized. Many times we buy more of something because we either forget where we put it, or we don't remember we had it. Get rid of what doesn't work or is no longer needed for the type of office-tasks you will be doing. A good place to start is testing if pens and markers work or not. Rubber bands do get old and break, and paper does get yellow. Throw out, recycle or shred things you immediately see that you don't need.

4) Set up your office space and surrounding area to function for your specific needs. Decide whether you will use it for tasks related to your personal life, professional career, or a combination of the two.

*Designate zones in your work space to separate papers, reference materials and supplies specific for each area or task you will be performing. For instance, if you will use it for primarily bill paying, checking email and updating your facebook account, have a container for bill paying supplies and a filer to sort your bills. Put just a couple of nice family photos nearby or a plant and keep your work surface clutter free. If you will be doing more tasks, for instance if you work from home, have a selection of magazine holders or a desktop file sorter labeled with various categories related to your business. Keep personal papers separate from your work papers, labeled for easy access, and in a different zone. You can even think about color coding: one color labels for personal and one for professional.

*Keep the things you reference or use the most often in the closest reach. Keep things you use less often labeled and stored further away. A nearby shelf, file cabinet, or small closet next to your work space is a great option.

5) Need a fun and inexpensive option for a desk? My sister uses a door turned flat for a work surface. She placed it on top of a couple of file cabinets. The great thing about it is that if you take the door handle out you are left with a spot to feed computer cords down to the floor.

6) Start small. Little steps lead to bigger accomplishments. If your work space is organized and set up to function for your specific needs you will be more productive and will have more time to do the things that matter most to you.

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