Are you a naturally tidy person or more of a packrat? One of the key habits of successfully working from home is the ability to get and stay organized. Getting your work files mixed up with your shopping list is going to do nothing for your professionalism or your productivity.
If you're currently sitting at your desk surrounded by random piles of paper, post-it notes, and invoices, you need to get yourself better organized. Here are some expert tips to help you out.
1. Have A System
Remember that saying 'a place for everything and everything in its place'? That needs to be your home office motto. Get yourself a set of binders or a filing cabinet and sort out all your paperwork. File completed projects and only have your current work on your desk.
Keep stationery items in one drawer and use old-fashioned in and out trays to manage paper flows.
Scan invoices and receipts to cut down on paperwork and make sure your computer filing system matches your hardcopy system.
2. Keep Your Work Space Separate and Uncluttered
Your office space should only be used for work purposes. Whether you have a separate home office or just a desk, don't let the household detritus spill into your workspace.
Keep your desk clear, except for what you're currently working on. Don't let paper, books or stationery build up. Nobody needs more than one stapler!
3. Have Regular Clean-Ups
Your home office shouldn't get to crisis point before you declutter. Schedule weekly or monthly sessions where you do any outstanding filing, re-order office supplies like printer ink and paper. Reward yourself by buying some flowers for your desk.
4. Keep Home and Work Admin Separate
Everything related to your work should go straight to your home office space. Business mail, bills, and other paperwork should be kept completely separate from home and personal papers. You could have a business or work 'mailbox' so any work-related documents go straight in there and don't get the chance to get mixed up with household mail.
5. Schedule Routine Tasks
Having piles of unpaid bills, unissued invoices, and other paperwork piling up adds to your stress and lowers your productivity. Schedule regular admin time either at the end of every working day or at the end of the week so you can pay bills, prepare invoices, and do the filing.
If it's part of your regular schedule, you won't worry about falling behind.