Have you got piles of paperwork sitting on your desk, Post-it notes all around your screen or a notice board that is too crowded to make sense of anymore? If so, it’s time to make a change. Your desk is not a storage space, and a messy office is extremely counterproductive to getting work done.
When you work from home, a sense of guilt can set in if you’re not completing tasks that solely drive revenue. Whether it's a humble desk in the closet or a converted attic, no home office should be cluttered.
Step 1: Sort
The biggest job is to consolidate and arrange your paperwork. Determine which of the following categories each piece of paper falls into, and get sorting.
- Containers – put aside any empty folders, plastic sleeves, blank envelopes etc.
- Recycle – paper that has no use
- Destroy/Shred – personal or sensitive documents that need to be disposed of safely
- Move – paperwork that belongs in another location
- Keep/File – paperwork that is useful or important
Step 2: Prepare
The next step is to prepare the space. Now that the room is clear you may want to give it a lick of paint, add shelving or rearrange the furniture. Perhaps you need to purchase some storage boxes or a filing cabinet. Be sure to give the room a good dust and clean too.
Step 3: Store
All that’s left now is to decide how you want to file everything going forward. Put the items that you are keeping in their new location. Give everything a home, such as a dedicated drawer for your stationery. And once that location is full, keep sorting and removing old or unused items.
Having a maintenance schedule will help stop the mess from re-accumulating. Perhaps you will dedicate Tuesday mornings to filing, or Friday afternoons to cleaning. If you don’t feel that you will keep on top of things without a little nudge, trying popping a reminder in your calendar.
We all have tasks that we put off, but in the words of Ralph Marston,
“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”
Does your home office need an overhaul? How do you keep on top of the clutter?