As the New Year looms, work tends to slow down a bit, making it time to take on the work from home version of spring cleaning. Not only is this about tidying up your workspace, it is an important ritual that signifies the "out with the old, in with the new" attitude of gearing up for another year of success of working from home. (It's important for work from home employees to be positive.) While the definition of "organized" differs from one person to another, decluttering your home office can be quite the morale booster as the end result is a functional space in which to get your best work done.
Ready to get at it? Here's a few tips that can keep things from becoming too overwhelming. (Especially if it' been a while since you've seen your desk!)
Break it down now! Don't feel like you have to put yourself through a military inspection. Some of us have a small enough workspace that we can get everything done in one fell swoop. But then there are those that tend to just, uh, "shove things out of the way". Start small. Begin at the door and move from wall to wall and then to the middle of the room. Take your time but set a small goal for having each "zone" cleared by a certain deadline. (Depending on the size of your workspace, that may be the end of the afternoon, day or week.)
Get your feng shui on! Don't just reorganize your office, rearrange it! If you have the space to do it, move things around in a way that will help you feel a revitalizing flow of energy… or simply do whatever gives you a different perspective than the one you've had over the last year. Put up new curtains, rearrange pictures, add plants, take down posters or just get rid of everything altogether. Freshen up your workspace in a way that is invigorating to you!
Set a day for organizing all emails, papers and other data. Back up your system information, organize and file papers that need to be kept and toss out anything else. Consider cardboard filing boxes to store information and records that may not be immediately pertinent but need to be kept. Clear out space so that new info and data will always have a place to go and you won't be cluttered up again by the end of the week.
Get a new stash! Get yourself a nice new reserve of fresh office supplies! There's nothing wrong with keeping what you have if you might still use it but there's also nothing wrong with tossing out the old, half-used provisions you forgot you had.
Get help! If you're not good at organizing, ask someone who is! Sometimes, even kids get a kick out of helping mom or dad "get it together". It not only strengthens their own organizational skills, it helps them understand that you have a real job-- even if it is a position where you get to work from home-- and your office (and all that goes with it) is important.
Productivity is everything and the more organized your office is, the less time you waste looking for that one important brief that was "somewhere on top of the file cabinet the last time you saw it". When you need a receipt or some other record from six months ago, you'll know right where to look. Not only will this make you feel accomplished, you will come off as professional and on top of your game. When working from home, that's something you always have to work just a little bit harder at.Organization and clearing out the clutter is a tremendous help with this.
Well, here's to a coming New Year and a decluttered office to kick off the new work year in!