DIY Home Office

DIY Home Office Organization Made Simple

Step One: Make Your Plan to Organize Your Home Office

It doesn’t matter whether or not your office is just a little cluttered, or resembles a room from the "Hoarders" television show. You should still consider organizing it to maximize your productivity.

While cleaning is great, that’s only one step. You also need to do some serious analysis, planning, and decision-making.

“Mess” is not always a symptom of sloppiness or procrastination. More often, it’s a clear indicator that something is not working.

Spots where clutter piles up… filing that never gets done… information that you can’t find…all mean there is a barrier or bottleneck in your home office flow.

This can all be dealt with.  And we can help!  Are you ready? Let's go...

Five Essential Steps to Getting Started

  • 1
    Set aside a morning or afternoon to work on your home office.

    Make sure you choose a time period where you won’t be interrupted by children, phone calls or deadlines. Schedule it. Treat it as sacred.

    Make a commitment not to let anyone or anything distract you from doing this.

    David Allen, in his phenomenal book, “Getting Things Done,” advocates more than just a few hours. He tells his clients to set aside up to three days to fully organize their office (and life). So if you think your office might need a bit more than just an afternoon, don’t be afraid to commit to a longer period of time. It will be well worth it in the end!
  • 2
    Look around. Assess your home office space as objectively as you can.

    On the morning of your Home Office Organization Day, don’t rush into cleaning right away. Instead, make a cup of your favorite relaxing drink - a nice hot cup of coffee, a cool glass of tea or maybe even a small glass of wine, if that's how you roll. Sit comfortably, turning your chair away from the computer. Look around. Identify areas that:
  • Have accumulated piles of clutter (even small ones)
  • Contain items you never use
  • Are hard to keep organized
  • 3
    Make a list.

    (Or draw a thumbnail-sketch plan, if you are a visual planner.)

    List each trouble spot—for example, “filing drawer that sticks half-way.” 
  • 4
    Make a second list, answering the questions:
  • “Is this really the best space for my office?”
  • “What are its problems?”
  • “Do I have enough light during my working hours?”
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    “Are my working hours reasonable and fit into the best time slots for me and my lifestyle?”
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    “Could I move my home office somewhere else in the house? Do I need to?”
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    “What am I always wishing I could get rid of?”

Next, under the heading of “Ergonomics,” ask yourself:

  • “Is my chair comfortable enough? Does it support me well or does it cut off my circulation, make my back tired or is too low or too high?”
  • “Is my desk comfortable or am I ‘making do’ with an old table or a desk not meant for my computer?”
  • “Do I need to adjust:”
  • The desk height?
  • The chair height?
  • The level of my lighting?
  • “Is the lighting in my office pleasant and adequate or does it give me eyestrain or headaches?”
  • “Is the light in the right spot for me?”
  • 5
    Don’t ignore your digital clutter.

    Most of your disorganization stress likely stems from not being able to find (or easily access) your digital documents, so spend some time thinking about how you’d like your ideal workflow to look. Consider things like:
  • Additional devices you use—a laptop, second desktop, mobile phone or tablet.
  • Other locations you work from—whether on the road or just your local coffee shop.
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    The ability to share files with clients and your virtual assistants. You can use services such as Dropbox or Google Drive to easily share documents with anyone.
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    The ability to quickly search for and find relevant notes and files. My favorite note taking app is Evernote.  You can start with the basic plan which gives you plenty of options to help getting organized easy.

Take your time on this evaluation phase—and be sure to write down your answers.

Really think about each question, no matter how small it is. One tiny inconvenience in your office set-up can literally snowball into other challenges—and bad habits.

Think about what you need to be able to handle in your office.

Are you:

  • Talking to clients on the telephone or Skype?
  • Creating products or providing services?
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    Do you need hard copy records or can everything stay on computer?
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    Once you have completed these sets of questions, prioritize each action that needs to be taken. Then number each in order of priority.

Base your prioritization on your own, personal, most important criteria.  Ask yourself, "What needs to be done first in order for other things to happen?"

In order to save your time, I have created a office organization plan to help you to keep track of your tasks that need to get done.  Just download, print and complete.

Once you get your list in order, get started!  You may be pleasantly surprised how fast you can declutter your home office.  You most certainly will feel less stressed and more comfortable once this task is complete.

I am adding a link to last week's article on "Organizing Your Home Office For Maximum Business Productivity" here just in case you missed it.

Let's talk again next week.

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