Did you know that today is “Organize Your Home Office Day”?
Having a home office is a big deal these days, but for some, organizing it to fit your needs can be even more of a problem. Most of us have very busy schedules whether it comes to managing your home, finances, your family’s activities and schedules, your college schedules or even running a business. Some of us may be blessed with a large home office while others may only have a corner in a room to work from. The key is to create an environment that is efficient and works for you and whoever else you share with. Whatever the size of your space, here are some very important things to keep in mind while organizing your home office.
What are your goals for your space? What do you intend to accomplish there. Do you pay bills? Manage your family? Do you run a business? Do you study? Does your family use the space?
How do you think you can accomplish these goals and achieve good results? Write a list of things that you need to accomplish in your space. If you do more than one activity in your office, then write a separate list for each one, and then you can proceed to the next step.
Is your office capable of serving your purposes? Do you have the right tools to help you to achieve your goals, like a computer, printer, fax, scanner, phone, shredder, filing cabinet, etc? Is everything fully operational? Are you being practical about where they are placed or are you more concerned about the decorative aspect? Remember, when it comes to running a productive office, efficiency is more important than how things look. The big picture is not a perfectly clean and decorated office space, but one that functions properly.
This is one of the most important aspects of organizing your office space. This is when you decide where everything needs to be placed. This may be the hardest part for most, because some may have a very small space with a lot to accomplish. This is where you would take the time to examine your space and create the flow for the activities taking place there. This is where you refer to the lists you created and come up with solutions that will help you accomplish each goal.
Here are some examples of things that you should take into consideration while planning your space:
Are you right or left handed? What activities take place here? Do you have to create or produce products or services? Do you have children? Do you study? How many people will be using the space? From which direction does the traffic flow in and out?
This will help you decide where to put things like your telephone, filing cabinet, printer, in and out boxes, etc. If you are right handed, keep your phone to the left and vice versa. If you have a small space, wall mounted in and out boxes would be ideal. Always keep your active files or in boxes at arms reach. If you don’t have a desk drawer, use a good desktop organizer for miscellaneous items like paperclips, stapler, etc. Your printer should be kept as close as possible as well as your most commonly used filing cabinet. Rolling open filing drawers are also great to move around the room or hide if need be.
Don’t forget storage.
Another thing to plan for would be storage for supplies. If you have a small space, you can always use a space in a closet; otherwise, your drawers and cabinets are just fine. Establish a place to keep trash and recycling. If you have a family keep an in box for each person and label them accordingly. Keep a main in and out box for mail and separate in boxes for your business or school work.
Putting all of these things in place not only gives you a place for all the paper when it comes in but creates good flow and functionality. Just remember to refer to your list and create a place for everything you need to accomplish your goals. If things don’t work right, don’t give up or get frustrated. It’s okay to keep moving things around till you create your ideal workspace. Even the pros know that!
What is your personality type? Are you a Visual, Auditory or Kinesthetic person (hands on)?
A visual person might get distracted by things on the desk and keep them from getting their work done, yet they still like to see things or post things for reminders. Desktop file organizers and bulletin boards are great for this type of person.
Auditory personalities may get distracted by sounds or noises, so having a quiet place to work free from distractions would be ideal, yet they also work better if they have someone to bounce ideas off of. A good tape recorder comes in handy for someone like this who needs reminders of things to do or takes notes.
The Kinesthetic person is the one who probably needs more workspace and doesn’t mind having piles here and there. These are the ones that are more able to multi-task and like to do things on their own. I would keep plenty of notepads available for taking notes.
Some of you may have characteristics of all three types. (For more information on learning styles, try this link.)
Comfort and Style
Last, but definitely not the least in my book is establishing a comfortable workspace that fits is your personal style.
Choose appropriate lighting: Do you like it dim sometimes, but brighter at others? A lamp would be ideal for someone who likes a little less lighting.
Make sure that you have a comfortable chair. This might keep you from getting pain in your back or neck and help you sit for longer periods of time.
Surround yourself with things that you love, like pictures, favorite quotes, plants, books, etc.
Buy office supplies that fit your personal style and paint your space to make it feel cozier.
All of these things will help you want to be in your office more thus, help you to become more productive and efficient in your workspace.
About the Author:
Jennifer Tisdel, Professional Organizer and owner Creative Organizing in Salem, Oregon, started her business with a desire teach others better organizing skills. As a busy working mother of five, Jennifer knows how important it is to stay organized. She has had a passion for organizing her whole life and loves to help others find and maintain a sense for order in their lives. In her second year of business she has worked with a variety of different types of clients organizing homes, offices and small businesses. She listens to each client and works with them one on one to create simple “Solutions for Everyday Living”. It is her goal to not only to organize for her clients, but give them the tools to stay that way.