Strategies to Keep Your Home Office Organized and Highly Functional
With the onset of COVID and social distancing, many people – from various industries – have had to establish a home office space. Chances are if you’re reading this – you have a home office or you’re setting one up! But working from home isn’t exactly the same as in an office for many reasons, but that doesn’t mean a home office has to be less functional. In fact, home offices can even be more conducive to better work! But in order to achieve these results from your space, you need to ensure you are taking the best steps to organize your home office.
It’s easy for working from home to turn into a mess where you don’t know where you misplaced things, accidentally brought something to another room, maybe personal or work items pile up. To avoid the stress of working in an unorganized environment, try some of these proven strategies!
Clean, Clean, Clean
It seems fairly obvious to keep your workspace clean, but when you work from home it’s easy for the lines of work and life to blur together. This messy twilight zone of time makes it sometimes easy to miss out on doing the little things to keep your office clean. Oftentimes, paper piles up in home offices – most of these notepads or sheets are just scrap-paper and are no longer needed. To avoid an endless heap of unneeded paper, try to throw away any sheets you don’t need anymore at a regularly scheduled time. After every day, every other day, or every week, for example, remove all excess notes that you no longer need. The more often you do this – the less paper you have lying around and the more space you open up.
Likewise, if you are not using an item anymore – whether it be as simple as a pen or as big as a laptop. Make sure to put it away and in the designated space you will remember. If too much stays lying around that isn’t being used, you decrease your desk space, create more clutter, and are prone to lose that item if you don’t know where you had it lying previously.
Another method to improve office tidiness is to clean your desk. Dust or even dirt and food crumbs can find its way into your workspace. Once a week, clear items from your desk and clean the space to keep the area neat, as well as sanitary.
Put Like Things Together
To organize, make sure everything on your desk, in your cabinets, closets, and drawers are all strategically arranged with similar things being together. Pens should be in one place, notepads together, sharpies together, etc. Give each a designated location in your home office. Some of these things like pens or sharpies can go into a bigger writing utensil drawer – so avoid placing things like your computer mouse or a calendar into that drawer if it doesn’t correlate to you as being similar.
The purpose of doing this is the sake of organization and keeping everything together, but also it makes work smoother. You won’t fumble around looking for the extra cord you need if you know exactly where you keep all your chords. So be sure to place everything that’s similar together in a place you can remember and organize in a way that makes sense for your brain, so you can easily grab something when you need it.
Once you put things together that’s only one step in the right direction. If you want to take your office to the next level – label! Label your drawers, your files in your cabinet, your folders, or your books. It helps if these are even visually color-coded with colorful labels. This way you avoid forgetting where your “motivational” books are because you labeled your bookshelf or where you put that file because you gave it a header in your file cabinet. To make sure you know exactly where everything is (and don’t forget) try adding labels to boost your organization!
Also, it is important to remember to put everything back where you found it when you are done using it. This way, the labels are still valid two weeks later, because you put everything back where it needed to be. While organizing your office works, it is important to continue to keep things orderly.
Use Space Wisely
Home offices come in all different shapes and sizes. So, what works for one person, won’t work for another. If you have a smaller desk or area, you need to be smarter about how you utilize space. Hang things from the wall, like your calendar to open up space and avoid mixing too many personal items or decorations into your home office, because every inch is invaluable. This will also ensure that you avoid clutter. Or instead of in walls, place things in various dressers and cabinets around the office to keep things off the floor or desk.
For a larger home office, you have more room to play with, but if you space things out too much it becomes a hassle to do simple things like grabbing that notebook you always use. So keep everything close by and don’t use space just because you have it. Less is oftentimes more, as they always say.
Keep Everything Handy
If you know you use that binder all the time or whatever the product may be, keep it handy. Everything that you know you need every day, make sure its an arms-length away. This way you avoid taking time to get up and find something, every single day.
Similar to how keeping spaces designated for certain types of items or files is effective, so is designated spaces for certain electronics. Make a desktop computer set-up and a printer location. If you have the space in your home to do so, by separating these two into designated spaces – can keep your home office neat and improve its physical appearance.
It’s easy to forget about keeping your computer files or cords clean when you are focusing just on your desk. But these elements are just as important to your overall effectiveness and organization. Regularly delete files on your computer that you know you longer need, keep everything in designated folders, and always label your files. There are dozens of tactics to keep your desktop organized, but the less jumbled it is the better you know where files are and the less jumbled you personally feel. Your workspace can directly contribute to your own feelings and mental stress. Always try to take the time to save that file where it should be placed or delete that project that is forever gone – you’ll thank yourself later.
Another annoyance of electronics is the countless cords. Try tying up cords to reduce the space they take up (as well as for safety reasons). Additionally, implement extension cords, so that all your electronics go into one place near your desk, rather than in various outlets around the room making your home office a jungle of wires.
Organize Your Schedule
While this isn’t exactly your office, it pays off to have “to-do lists” and neat calendars. The less time you fuss about what you have to do, the more you can get to doing the work you love and the more time you have in the day to keep your place tidy. Having an organized schedule will not only improve your home office but also your day to day performance at work.
These strategies are proven effective methods to take your home office to the next step! If you are struggling with keeping your home office space organized or just want to give it an extra boost – try these methods and create a more functional workspace for you.
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