Working from home can be a struggle. You’re surrounded with so many distractions that keep you from focusing on the task at hand, and you don’t have a boss motivating you to stay productive. The mere act of getting out of bed, cooking breakfast, and turning on your computer (without surfing the web) can sometimes feel like a small miracle. However, there are plenty of ways to stay engaged when working remotely, and perhaps the best thing you can do is maintain a clean workspace. Below, we’ve outlined a few practical tips for home office organization, whether you’re dealing with a cluttered desk or a chaotic file cabinet.
Create Categories
First, collecting similar items in one place can help to reduce needless time spent searching for things, especially if you’ve come up with consistent categories. For example, you can put all of your office stationery, stamps, and envelopes in the same drawer, so that whenever you need to mail a letter, all of the necessary items are together. We recommend having a distinct area for your office tools, accounting information (i.e. receipts, invoices, tax paperwork), and mail.
Collect and Label Important Papers
Next, any personal documents or paperwork that you may need in an emergency (work-related, disaster-related, or otherwise) should be stowed in the same binder. If you have too many valuable papers to fit them in one binder, you can split them up into multiple categories, so that they’re ready to grab at a moment’s notice. This may include a binder filled with medical records, auto insurance/maintenance records, and of course, your most important office documents.
Install a Mail Inbox
When dealing with day-to-day work responsibilities, it’s so easy to let mail and other assignments build up into massive mountains of paper. To help control this daily influx of information, you can invest in a mail organizer with dedicated spaces for new mail, outgoing assignments, invoices, and other categories. Home office organization works best when it reflects your personal needs, so make a mail inbox with sections that you’ll actually use on a daily basis. When new mail and paperwork comes in, just file it into the appropriate section, and then deal with it when time permits.
Set a Day for Purging
Finally, it’s important to commit at least one day a month for purging unnecessary clutter from your workspace. This includes discarding or filing paperwork that you no longer need, throwing out junk mail, putting office supplies back into their proper drawers, and dusting your office so that it’s a pleasant place to work. If you have hoarder tendencies, ask yourself these 3 questions: Should I shred this? If not, should I file it away? If not, how can I complete this task today? Regular purging is perhaps the best thing you can do to maintain a productive work area in your home.