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Organize Your Home Office and Increase Productivity

Mar 31, 2008
Is your home office space affecting your productivity? Do you hunt for pens and pencils continuously? Is your document search an exercise in frustration? Are your papers a chronological stack of filing that is impossible to successfully navigate? Do you have an irrational fear of a paper flood catastrophe if you look for something at the bottom of the pile?

Every home office deals with excess paper and whether you are running a small or large business, it is still something to contend with, and one that gets worth when there is no organization.

So, how do you clear the clutter and gain control?

Space Is Essential

The biggest problem with staying organized in an office is that people set up a system and do not give themselves enough room to grow.

If you have spent the better part of a day cleaning out a drawer and replacing the items in organized, labeled files, but you cannot squeeze a single extra sheet, of paper, you have wasted your time and the un-filed papers will grow again.

Having space to add home office furniture in the form of filing cabinets and storage bins will help considerably with organization. Be sure and have at least one quarter to one third or more growing room when you implement your system. Extra space encourages you to keep up with your organization efforts.

This also goes for items such as architectural drawings or other products or documents you may accumulate.

Set aside time to purge unnecessary documents. Not only will this provide more space but it will save you time that would otherwise be wasted looking through worthless paperwork.

Implementing a Filing System

Keep It Simple. When it comes to filing, the simpler the better. If you make it too complicated, you will not keep up with it because it is too hard to follow. Consider color-coding, but do not go overboard with the number of categories. Use general topics like "Projects", "Correspondence" and "Expenses", or something similar. Not too many of them or you will get lost in your categories.

For filing of large groups of clients, projects or invoices, use a single drawer for each group of related files. A tall filing cabinet can even be divided into alphabetical or chronological systems.

Another class of things you will need to make room for are the things that you refer to daily or even hourly. A posting board or corkboard near your desk would be in order. You can hang things like phone lists, 'To-Do" lists and appointment calendars in one central location for easy reference.

Maintenance

A system is only as good as the person using it is. If you do not keep it up, no system is useful. Starting with a smaller, simpler system of files in a cabinet near you is good. You can then take your daily or weekly items and store them in a more permanent place when you are finished.

This also works for items that you need nearby such as current project information or price lists etc.

Filing Style

Consider if you can realistically maintain a filing system. Perhaps labeled boxes would suit you better (especially if you tend to pile papers). The key is to find something you will feel comfortable maintaining. If papers are sorted and occasionally purged, your system will work.

All Things Need a Place

Everything MUST be assigned a home. By giving each item a place, you will not loose pens, cell phones, glasses, and so on. Do not crowd the items or you will get frustrated. Recognize that all of your efforts will help you run your business more efficiently and thus productively. Reward yourself for keeping the system working!
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Think your home office is uninspiring discover how to give it the latest new computer technology and everything else that is business, technology, education and the web. Info to power your life into the future.
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