Keeping a home office organized doesn’t have to be a daunting task. A few simple (good) habits will keep your space neat and organized, and will improve your productivity. Here are a few tips to improve your efficiency in your home office.
Home Office Efficiency Tip: Keep Everyday Items Close at Hand
Do you spend half your day looking for your stapler or paper clips? Improve your efficiency with a quick trip to your local office supply store. Invest in a few desktop organizers to keep your most frequently used items at your fingertips. Pencil cups, business card holders, and desktop tape dispensers are just a few accessories that will keep your most used tools within arm’s reach.
Home Office Efficiency Tip: Touch Each Piece of Paper Only Once
Stay ahead of endless piles of paper on your desk by touching each piece of paper only once! It’s as easy as 1-2-3. When going through your mail, look at one item at a time and deal with it NOW:
1. If it is trash, throw it away or shred it NOW.
2. If it needs your immediate attention – RSVPs, surveys, bills, etc., take the required action NOW.
3. If you need it for archival purposes, file it NOW.
Taking action NOW, saves time and energy-and a lot of frustration-when you need to locate an important document.
Home Office Efficiency Tip: Schedule Time to Check Your Mail
Allow time in your schedule every day for going through your mail. Avoid making stacks that you will “get to later.” Instead, take action now! See previous tip.
This works for email, too. Schedule a time to check your email only once or twice a day. Otherwise, turn off the automatic mail notification so you are not tempted by the “you’ve got mail” beep that can eat away your day one message at a time.
Delete junk or spam immediately (and empty your Deleted Items folder), respond to messages, and delete or archive old messages. Eliminate the urge to save every message in the hopes that you will one day wake up and find you have more than 24 hours in the day to deal with it.
Home Office Efficiency Tip: File Every Day
We all hate to file, but it is a necessary evil if you want your office to remain organized. Don’t keep a growing pile of “to be filed” papers on your desk. This only leads to an overwhelming feeling that you are being buried in paperwork.
You can enlist the help of your children for this task. They can easily file credit card statements in file folders labeled for each account. Even better, sign up for online statements. This eliminates the need for a lot of filing cabinets and helps the environment, too. You may even receive a credit from your provider for going paperless!
Home Office Efficiency Tip: Purge Files Once a Year
Don’t waste valuable file space on documents you don’t need to keep at your fingertips! Did you know that 80 percent of what we file is never looked at again?At year-end, move this year’s files to the archives, freeing up space for this year’s documents.
When the required time for keeping records expires, shred and dispose of those documents you no longer need. Bankrate.com offers a comprehensive list of what documents should be kept and for how long.
Follow these five tips for improving and maintaining your home office efficiency. Handling mail and filing may not be the most glamorous part of your day, but starting a few good habits will increase your efficiency, resulting in increased productivity and decreased stress. Try a few of these ideas and let me know how it works for you!
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