Working from home against popular belief can be quiet challenging and certainly isn’t as easy as many think or make it out to be. When you work and live in the same space, then your home also tends to represent work 24/7 making it almost impossible to ever completely shut off unless you have a few things in place to keep you focused. Organizing your work space, getting things done without getting sidetracked and keeping business from personal things is just the beginning and only a few of the many challenges you will face but just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
What it all does come down to is: Focus, systems in place and a little bit of good ol’ German discipline (I am from Germany after all) and trust me, I do know it’s all easier said than done and exactly the reason why I want to share with you a few of my simple and useful tips to get you started in the right direction and getting you and your work space / office organized.
Nothing will put you more into focus, give you instant inspiration and will be your biggest procrastination buster than an office or work space that you just love being in and a space that inspires you. ~Nadine McCoy
TIP 1. DESIGNATE ONE WORK SPACE / AREA: Not everyone working from home is lucky enough to have an entire office designated to getting the work done. However, the number one rule remains the same regardless of having an actual office, tiny corner in the bedroom, the dining room table or the kitchen island. Having one work space designated to work and storage of things related to work will give you a mental “I am at work now attitude . . . ” and help you keeping things together in one location. Start by making the decision on where that location might be, then collect everything that might be elsewhere in your home but should really be located in your work space.
TIP 2. KEEP A CLEAN DESK – DOWNSIZE PAPER LOAD: Personally, I can’t focus when I have stuff all over my desk and therefore make sure I clean my desk at the end of each day. From personal experience and client experience – visual clutter is distracting and procrastination is a real thing and a clean desk will help . . . It’s also a wonderful feeling to start your day with a nice, clean and organized desk.
If your desk isn’t the only problem but work related and personal papers are spread throughout your home, piles and piles of papers needing to be filed only to find that your filing cabinet is so full it can barely hold one more sheet of paper before collapsing? Paper cuts are a daily occurrence and finding what you need when you need it is almost like going on a treasure hunt in your own home? I am certain that you are fully aware that you have two options – purchase another filing cabinet that may or may not take care of the actual problem of too much paper or simply de-cluttering but you are so busy you wouldn’t even know where to start. And thus never do . . . and then that’s not even it what if you do finally get around to purging all of your papers just to end up with paper piles you then have to shred too. But there is help:
TIP 3: MAKE USE OF SHREDDING SERVICES and OTHER DISPOSAL / RECYCLING SERVICES: While the act of decision making and downsizing your papers is something simply only you can do (sometimes with the help of a professional) – shredding not so much. Did you know your corner office supply store offers shredding services?
Office Depot Secure Shredding Services – offers secure in-store shredding that is available in ALL stores no job too small or too big (smaller jobs for as low as .99 cents) and secure shredding bins for larger jobs, they also offer box programs (five or more paper boxes) and even customized on-site pickup options. Iron Mountain partnered with Office Depot to offer you secure shredding, safe you time and make your life easier. (Paper clips, staples, rubber bands must be removed before drop off.)
Staples – Shredding Services – securely shred all your confidential files and paperwork with Staples shredding services. They will shred anything from financial documents, bills, any papers, spiral-bound notebooks and even your junk mail. Trust that your documents will be securely shredded, destroyed and recycled by their partner Iron Mountain in their secure shredding plants.
P.S. Before taking your papers elsewhere for shredding – kids love this stuff too . . . ever noticed that they just want to be involved? If you have a kid or kids just let them help you – trust me they love shredding – this is probably one of the only times they don’t get in trouble for making a big mess. Added Bonus: You are getting things done and get to spend some quality time with your kid too.
Now that we talked about moving all of the dreadful, no-longer necessary papers out of your office / work space / home lets talk about recycling all the no longer needed cables, out-dated phones, batteries, used printer cartridges, old cameras etc. Best Buy offers a Best Buy Recycle Program due to technology being the fastest growing waste stream on the planet and as one the world’s largest retailer of consumer electronics Best Buy opted to be part of the solution and they have a goal
to recycle 2 billion pounds of electronics by the end of 2020. So let’s help them, be part of their solution, get rid of what you no longer need and recycle any of your outdated electronics, plus any of the other things I mentioned earlier instead of stock piling old items in your office. Just be on the look-out for any of their recycling kiosks usually right in their entry / exit area or speak to one of Best Buys customer service representatives to see what you can recycle at your local store location.
TIP 4: UTILIZE EVERY INCH: And by that I mean every inch of your wall – somehow when it comes to office organization the wall is treated like a step child where in reality it can be your best and most useful resource . . . just look at the cleaver uses of wall space throughout this blog post.
TIP 5: FUNCTION OVER QUANTITY – BUY WITH A PURPOSE: The smaller the space the more creative you have to get – you can’t afford giving up space for items you simply don’t need. Start by purchasing items that can function in more than one way and don’t – I repeat DO NOT buy anything you don’t need in the first place no matter how good the sale is. Paper and Unused Office Supplies purchased simply because they were on sale, someone gave them to you, seemed like a good idea at the time etc. are THE MOST space hogging items I have seen in my office organizing days. (Don’t get me wrong I certainly understand that office supplies are a necessary tool to get our jobs done but that doesn’t mean you have to stockpile for the next five years. Take inventory and come up with a list of your needs and moving forward purchase only what you need.)
TIP 6: CREATE AN ORGANIZING SYSTEM – This shouldn’t come as a surprise – I think at this point each and everyone of us is aware that a system will help us take the guess work out, telling us where things need to go and keep ourselves in check. Trust me – I know how hard it is for you to set up a system, it seems like such a time waster when you have a hundred and one million things on your mind that must be done. But trust me, the investment of your time on the front end will pay off in the end and is nothing compared to the time wasted searching for things on a daily basis.
You are YOUR NUMBER ONE ASSET when you work from home, no assistant – just you – so take the leap, invest in yourself, take the time to organize, define your work space, purchase a good quality filing cabinet or shelves if necessary to define where everything will go at the end of the day and no longer let things pile up – put them in their designated place now!
And if you just can’t get it done on your own – Hire an expert just like myself. I am Nadine McCoy of Organized Impressions – I am an Office Organizing Business Coach and Office Stylist catering specifically to overwhelmed female small business owners and busy professionals that are working out of their home office and help transform their cluttered offices and minds into spaces of serenity and inspiration. Learn more about my services here: Organized Impressions – Office / Life Re-Imagined, A Modern Approach and Timeless Strategies To An Office / Life You Love.
Now it’s your turn. Share with us your best practices in the comments below. Have you made use of any of my quick tips? Have they been useful? I would love to hear from you and your experience.