Working from home can have great benefits, but you’ve got to be organised! I personally understand the pros and cons of working from home, not just from consulting all kind of home based business, but also because Speed Organising itself has been a home-based business for almost 10 years!
So, how to get your home office productive? Here are 3 tips for success
Tip No. 1: Let’s organise your workspace
Try to find a dedicated and private place for your home office
We all know that distractions from family members, pets, and televisions can hinder your productivity. It’s hard to concentrate on your work when your kids are watching the latest Disney movie just next to you or your dog is barking while you are on the phone with a client. Therefore, try to set up a dedicated home office in the quietest area of your home, which is away from all the distractions.
Get rid of all the clutter in your home office and create a useful space
It is much easier to concentrate on your work when your workspace is free of clutter. The first step in clearing your office of clutter is to simply getting rid of everything which is not part of your work.
When setting up your space, establish four dedicated areas:
Workstation: A large enough desk or table to be able to spread out your papers, place your computer and keep the files you are currently working with.
Office accessories Center: In order to maximise your workstation, you should try to keep your printer of the desk. Find a small cabinet on rolls which you can store underneath or just next to your desk and which fits your printer on top. The drawers can be used to store all other material you need to have close by like hole puncher, stapler, tape, scissors, writing utensils
Filing Center: Set up a good filing center to store all papers and files which you don’t need for your daily work. Here is where you keep your older working files, supporting documents, insurance papers, tax files, etc.
Supply Center: Stock up with supplies you will need for your work like printer ribbons, extra paper, clear folders, hanging folders, etc. and find a dedicated place for them.
Tip No. 2: Establish efficient systems
You will have a daily flood of information coming in and going out of your home office: a bunch of letters in your mailbox, a flood of emails on your computers which need urgent attention and depending what line of business you are in a lot of phone calls. In order not to get overwhelmed and drowning in paper and email clutter you need to find systems how to deal with all these items. Sort all incoming information by “trash”, “archive” and “action” and act on them accordingly. Establish dedicated time slots when to deal with which task and bundle items together. For example, you check your emails twice a day, once in the morning and another time in the afternoon, but only for 1 or 2 hours. Choose a time when you will not be busy with phone calls. Handle mail arriving by post straight away.
Tip No. 3: Practice good time management
Working from home makes it often hard to distinguish between work and family time, so block time for work and concentrate on it and then make sure you are spending the rest of your time with your family or doing something for yourself.
In order to practice good time management, stick with these few rules:
Rule 1 - Prioritise: You should start each day with a session prioritising the tasks for that day and setting an achievable goal. If you have 30 tasks on your to do list, how many of them do you really need to complete?
Rule 2 - Get in the habit of setting time limits for tasks: For example, reading and answering emails can consume hours if you let it. Instead, set a limit of 1-2 hours a day for this task and stick to it.
Rule 3 - Eliminate Time Waster: Phone calls, the “bing” of an incoming email or and social media messages are some of the biggest distractions at the workplace. So much so, that you end up wasting 759 hours each year due to workplace distractions. So, whenever you are working on high-priority tasks, put that phone on silent mode and turning data off. You will end up saving a lot of time and take your efficiency levels higher.
Rule 4 - Don’t Multitask: Even when you believe that you are great in juggling three things at the same time, forget it. Research suggests that only 2% of people can multitask effectively. For the remaining 98% of people, multitasking actually leads to wasting time and decreasing productivity.
Rule 5 - Take a break to refresh: Good time management isn’t always about keeping busy with something. It also supports the fact that little breaks after an hour or so can take your productivity to higher level.
I hope you’re inspired to start your work from home and take control of your workspace, systems, and time. Organising these three areas will help you to optimise your home-based business and find some balance in your life. Let me know if you need some support!