A messy office is a huge problem. It inhibits productivity on so many levels. Sometimes the problem is not knowing where everything is. Maybe it is just the mental clutter that hinders you from getting things done. I can be one of the most unorganized people I know. I can organize my office and three days later don’t know where my phone is nor can I find a pen. Speaking from experience, taking time to declutter can take valuable hours away from your productivity. The best way to keep organized is to declutter your office and keep the habits up so you do not have to stop to organize. Here are my best decluttering tips for your home office.
Designate a Specific Place for Work
Making a place in your house that is designated just for working has a lot of benefits. First, the distinction between work and home can be good for physical boundaries and mental boundaries. Mental clarity for when you are in work mode versus home mode can greatly improve work satisfaction for those who work at home. Secondly, if you keep all items related to business is the same designated spot, EVEN if it a cluttered office, you know it is in the office and it is not in your living space. Having work materials in living spaces can prevent you from leaving work when you “go home” for the day.
Organize and Store Documents Digitally
Keep records and receipts in the same place. Use an app on your phone to scan these so you can get rid of the physical paper. Less paper means less clutter. Scanning receipts at the end of the day or once a week will keep the clutter from piling up.
Plan Your Day
Using a planner either on paper or an online program, keeping tabs of your time is super important. This will declutter your mind as well as your time. I like using a planner I can write in. For me, it doesn’t really “connect” in my head until it is written down. Either way is fine; it just has to work for you.
Plan time or build time into your day to stay organized as you go. Throwing trash in the bin, organizing documents or answering emails at specific times can be super helpful on a day to day basis.
Organize Your Inbox
I get so many emails that it is daunting. As we speak, my phone says I have 42,387 emails. Honestly, I have just let it go at this point. Here are some tips that I will be using too to get my email to a manageable level. This may not technically be decluttering tips for your home office per se, but necessary tips to staying mentally organized.
- Go through your lists and unsubscribe to anything that you don’t want. I am sure there are a LOT of emails you do not want in your inbox every day. My favorite tool for this is Unroll Me. Check it out here. It rolls up a ton of my advertisements into one big email so I get one email a day rather than 150 of them. It can also help you unsubscribe to newsletters.
- Search by company or address and delete all of those as a way to start cleaning your email up.
- Set up mailbox folders and route certain emails in those folders automatically. I get a lot of purchase receipts from when customers pay and they all go into a specific folder to prevent build up in my inbox.
- Use the Flag system. On my phone, I can star or flag my emails I read that I know I want to reference later or send a response at a later time. This is super helpful when you do get hundreds of emails a day. It is easy to lose track of ones that are time sensitive or important in between a bunch of advertisements, etc.
- Use different emails. I never did this before and I regret it. Use an email to give out for making purchases online so you always know where the receipts go and the advertising emails don’t get sent to your regular email. Keep your work email for work and your home for home things.
Back Up All Electronics and Computers
This one is big. If you decide to go the paperless route and keep a lot of documents, receipts, etc. on computers or servers, it is worth the money to have those computers and hard drives backed up at a different location. The best solution is backing up your information onto the “Cloud”. By backing up your information in a cloud you can access your documents
anywhere you can connect to the internet! We live in a scary world and if someone hacks into your computer or even if your laptop crashes, it is still stored somewhere. Your mind will thank you. So will your bookkeeper, accountant, and significant other.
Now that you have decluttered your home office, I will be talking next week about tips to stay organized, both digitally and in your workspace!
Do you have tips to keep your home office organized? Comment below or contact me
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for more ideas on how to look and feel organized!