Home Office Organization
Home office organization is something we may not think about until it's somewhat too late.
When you decided you needed a place to work, you most likely found the most appropriate area in your home, which may not have been designated as a home office. This approach often causes things to stack and layer haphazardly around you - stacks of files you keep meaning to put somewhere else, pens, used coffee mugs and empty boxes, etc... Then one day something gets in your way or you can't find the files you are looking for once again... Realization sets in that it is time for home office organization!
Get the Right Furniture for Home Office Organization
A home office needs a clear work area and also space for equipment such as a computer, printer, scanner, etc and a spot for reference materials, files, and supplies such as paper, pens, etc... Your home office furniture should have plenty of space for work and storage.
Set Activity Based Areas
An office that is efficient has sectioned off activity areas:
- The Work Centre - this your clear workspace, your computer and office products that you use everyday. Every square inch on your desk is "high real estate value". This space must be respected as it is costing you in productivity. A desk may be a mess when you are working, but it should be cleaned up at the end of the day. When you go home at nght, what does your desk look like?
- The Reference Centre - this space is made up by binders, manuals, a dictionary and any professional books and materials.
- The Supply Centre - has your office and paper supplies.
Home Office Organization By Frequency
Have your tools in proximity to you based on the frequency of use. Items such as pens and pencils that you may use everyday should be really close to you. The items that you use on a weekly basis should be within arm's reach. All these items should be available to you without your butt leaving the chair. If you have to leave your chair, there is a good chance that you will be gone for 15 minutes and there is a good chance that you will not come back with whatn you went to get.
Items that you only need once a month can be kept in the office space and it's okay for you to get up and get, if need be. If you use something less than once a month, you may want to put it somewhere else. You will want to make the most of the space around you for more frequently used items.
4 Home Office Organization File System
Every home office needs four key tools: an in box, a hot file, a to-read file and a to-file file.
The in box should be reviewed and empted every 24 hours. You may not need to do everything in the in box, but it is important to review and choose the items that you are going to do.
The hot file contains all the files you need every day or every other day. For example it could be current projects, current clients or tasks that you repeat frequently.
The to-read file holds items that you are wanting to read at some point. Most times you will get more reading material on your desk than you are able to read. When this file is full, fan it out and pick out the four to five most important items to read, put those back and throw the others away. If you are not reading it, it just contributes to a big pile of guilt.
The to-file file are items that need to be filed!
Categorizing your papers into these four files will reduce the scattering of paper mess all over your desk.