Does your workspace promote productivity?
by Tracy Axcell
This is the No. 1 question in the minds of many home-based
business owners. Although many people struggle with creating an office
atmosphere that promotes productivity, doing so doesn't have to be difficult. Use
the following simple steps to create the stress-free home office you desire.
1. Take a fresh look at your desk. Ask yourself some basic questions: Do you have clean areas for current projects? Are there office supplies spilling out over your workspace? Do you know what's at the bottom of the pile of papers? The answers to these questions typically reveal a need to freshen up your desk and work area.
Sweep off your desk; one piece at a time. Start with one corner and work your way across the flat surfaces of your desk or workspace. Decide whether each item is necessary for your workspace or belongs elsewhere. Then trash, donate or move it to another area of the home.
Look around. Do you have wall space that could be better utilized? Moving your necessary resources and supplies up gives you more work space. Small shelves above your desk can hold current projects, books you refer to often, and containers for regularly used office supplies. Clear magazine holders can be mounted lower on a wall to hold papers, files, envelopes and projects within arm's reach. Utilizing space above and around your desk allows for a clearer work surface.
Reset your desktop and workspace. Once your desk is "swept,” choose carefully what items to put back on your desk. Make sure you're not just replacing items out of habit. Decide if each item might be better in a hanging folder, drawer or the surrounding wall space. Whether it's for your laptop or a current project, you need to be diligent in keeping the center of the desktop clear.
2. Take a fresh look at your paper. Research suggests over 80 percent of filed papers will never be referenced again. Why take time to file a paper that you'll never look at again? Clearly, a home office needs some sort of filing system but since everyone has a different "paper personality,” only you can decide what type of paper filing system works best for you.
Go paperless. Scanning documents allows you to file electronically. It can be an expensive choice based on the scanner you purchase, but the time it saves makes it well worth the investment. I recommend creating files that mimic a physical paper file system: auto, home, insurance, health, children, college, banking and so on. Have a stacker file or box on/near your desk for "to be scanned” documents. Use the 1-inch rule; once the stack gets 1 inch thick, scan and dispose of the paper. Back up your system regularly to protect yourself from losing important documents.Hang it up. Hanging folders and files allow you to keep papers at your fingertips. It is less expensive; folders added to your file cabinet are all that is needed to create a basic system. The biggest concern with a paper filing system is the issue of "putting off” filing. I recommend setting a rule similar to the paperless system; file your pile everyday so you don't end up with stacks and stacks of papers.
Tracy Axcell is a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) and the owner of Officially Organized.