As I write this I realize the irony of it all. I am even embarrassed because the clutter in my home office is ridiculous. Between finishing taxes, and working from home while raising three littles, I haven’t spent nearly enough time getting my office in order. In fact, it’s what I call my “shame room”. Come on, admit it, you know you have one too. That one room in the house that you don’t bother to clean because company doesn’t see it anyways right? Just recently, the thought occurred to me that if I worked outside the home, I would never let my office space get this cluttered. If I’m going to be a business owner I need to treat my business “space” in my home office as just that.
That’s why I’m bringing in an expert for you all. I am by no means the example of organization and I will be following this post along with the rest of you! I have asked Christina Scalise to share her wealth of information on getting our home office and lives organized. So please welcome her and her much-appreciated advice below.
Organization isn’t about perfection; it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money and improving your overall quality of life.Christina Scalise author of Organize Your Life and More
My name is Christina Scalise. I am an Author, Professional Organizer, Certified Reiki Master, wife and mother of three. My kids, even though they are now getting older, still keep me quite busy. As a work-at-home mom, I know the challenges of trying to balance a business and a job with family life. It can be both trying and rewarding all at the same time. I currently live in upstate New York with my family and when I’m not writing or helping someone get organized, you can usually find me spending time with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, playing in the garden, providing Reiki treatments for those in need or simply organizing anything I can get my hands on.
I have been organizing things my entire life; and after helping a few friends de-clutter and organize their homes, they encouraged me to share my knowledge with others. So, that’s when I decided to write my very first book on organizing tips……Organize Your Finances, Your Kids, Your Life! – published in 1997. As the years went on, my passion for organizing continued to grow. In 2004, I started working as a professional organizer and in 2010, I created my website OrganizeYourLifeAndMore where I provide a free newsletter, Organizing Tips, Daily Do Its, Articles, Inspirational Quotes, Product Recommendations and much more. And, then in December 2012 I published my second book Organize Your Life and More. Helping people get organized is my passion and will always be an integral part of my life.
How to Organize Your Home Office for Maximum Efficiency
Working from home can seem like a monumental task but it doesn’t have to be. Start organizing today and you will notice just how productive and efficient you will become. Getting organized not only improves efficiency, but it also helps reduce stress and clutter and save time and money. Organization truly is the key to success! To keep your home office organized for maximum efficiency, try these tips…..
1. Go through everything in your office (including inside, and on top of, your desk). Toss any unwanted or unnecessary items. The less clutter you have, the less distracted you will become when trying to work on important tasks.
2. Store all items used daily within reach, those used less often nearby and those rarely used items – and extra supplies you’ve stocked up on – inside storage cabinets.
3. Use desk and drawer organizers and/or small baskets and containers to organize small office supplies such as paperclips, rubber bands, pens and pencils – both inside and on top of your desk.
4. Make sure all office supplies are in stock (ink, paper, pens, staples, paperclips, etc.) and ready to use each day. Sharpen pencils, toss dried up pens, markers and highlighters; refill the paper in the copy machine and make sure your label maker has plenty of labels.
5. Neaten up all cords underneath and around your desk. Label those that need it with permanent marker or tags.
6. To reduce the number of papers stored in your office and on your desk, scan and save what you can into your computer. Create computer documents and digital file folders and then save each document into its corresponding folder. And, don’t forget to back up your computer files often.
7. Deal with all paperwork and incoming mail as soon as it comes in; file it, make any necessary phone calls or simply toss it immediately. And, for those items that just can’t be dealt with right away; use a paper tray or desktop filing system and separate them into categories…..To Do, To Be Filed, For Review, Reference, Inbox, Outbox and Pending.
8. Don’t rely on your memory; write it down. Add all tasks to your calendar including those you only do once a year and/or use a Microsoft Excel sheet saved on your computer and categorize your To Dos and Reminders into the following categories…..Do ASAP, Do Soon, Do Later, Don’t Forget, etc. To reduce the amount of paper post-it notes used…..try using digital post-it notes on your computer or a dry erase board.
9. Make important information stand out and be noticed…..for file folders and post-it notes; use different shapes, colors and sizes. For important information contained in computer documents and emails…..change font styles, sizes, boldness and colors orsimply highlight those words you want to be noticed.
10. Use a label maker to create labels. Clearly printed labels are not only easier to read, but they are also quicker to find and look much neater than handwritten ones.
11. Store all papers you plan on shredding into a small file folder within reach of your desk. Place newer papers towards the back and push older ones to the front each time. When the file starts to get full, grab a handful from the front of the file and start shredding. This gives you time to change your mind and prevent accidental shredding of important papers.
12. Purge all unwanted emails, computer documents and paper files often. Spending a few minutes doing this at the beginning, and end, of each day can save lots of time.
13. Learn how to use computer programs that will help you become more efficient such as accounting programs and Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.) and keep a list of computer keyboard shortcuts close by.
14. Store important business information such as passwords and business contact information (name, address, phone and fax numbers; and any pertinent information about the person and/or business you may need to remember) onto your computer and update those lists often – Microsoft Excel works great for this. And, once again, be sure to back up your files often and print out a paper copy as well for your reference, if needed.
15. Schedule in time for checking emails (2-3 times a day is usually best) and then avoid getting sidetracked by checking it more often than necessary. When you do check your email, take care of each one right away…..delete, file, unsubscribe, flag or respond.
16. For remembering how to use office equipment, computer programs or accomplishing certain tasks…..keep a set of written instruction sheets in a file folder close by or posted next to the corresponding office equipment involved. And for frequent updating of instruction sheets, save them into a computer file.
17. Give yourself a break. Get up, move and stretch every so often. This will give both your body and brain a chance to rest and restart; renewing your level of concentration.
18. Don’t over commit to too many things. Keep your schedule under control by learning how to say “No thank you” a little more often.
19. Keep the lines of communication open with family and coworkers by taking time each week to discuss any problems or concerns. If there are any, work together to find the best solution for everyone involved.
20. Take 5-10 minutes at the end of each day to put a few things away. If you find an item that does not have a designated storage place; create one and then keep it there when it’s not in use. Remember these organizing proverbs…..
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As the founder of Why Not Mom; a unique online directory of mom-owned boutiques and mom-invented products, Tonia has strived to create a unique organization of female business owners, creating a diverse network that assists each other in driving more business to one another, in addition to providing tools and resources to achieve success in their business endeavors. It is her passion to make Why Not Mom the world’s largest online directory of women-owned businesses in the pursuit of strengthening families and supporting small business owners worldwide.