Learning how to organize your home office is not about choosing the perfect desk or office shelves. Those choices are going to vary by office anyway. So I’m going to address the organizing needs that are universal to all home offices.
Dedicated Productive Space
For starters, be sure that you give yourself a home office. Maybe you are running a business or maybe you just need a place to pay the bills. In either case, dedicate a room or area to just office work. These are important tasks to complete, so don’t clutter the space with laundry, toys and recipe books. Distractions compromise productivity. For all organizing challenges, you must prioritize before you organize. The home office is no exception. The priority here must be on productivity. As with the kitchen, the home office must be like an “engine room” with multiple moving systems.
A Plan for Movement is the key
Life is constantly moving so you need organizing systems that move with it. Movement is the subject of my book, “The Circulation Solution.” Circulation Prevents Accumulation. Circulation is dependent on manageable, reliable stages. In other words, reduce the barriers and make it easy.
1. Ongoing projects should have easy homes, so they can circulate off your desk.
2. Your file cabinet should be user-friendly so you can easily find finished files.
3. Archive files should easily circulate away from your desk area every year.
4. Discards should be easiest of all. Keep separate bins for trash, recycles and shred at you fingertips.
5. Keep just the bare minimum of supplies at your desk and easily findable replacements more remotely, using the showroom vs. stockroom model. See how in my kitchen video.
6. The one area that should be off limits for storage in your home office is your work surface, because it is your number one organizing tool. I tell you how to keep it clear in my desk clear video.
7. As for digital clutter, I won’t go into detail here but I can tell you circulation prevents accumulation on the hard drive too.
One thing I hear a lot from my home office clients is “I used to be really organized in my corporate office.” That’s because all these systems tend to be in place in a corporate office. To stay organized in your home office, you need to bring these systems home.