by Maya Black
A home office space can be a great way to separate your work life from the distractions that come naturally with working at home – whether it’s the newborn baby or the family pet. However, if your home desk looks like it blew up, your organized-chaos may be compromising your business’s productivity.
Before things get out of control, organize your desk so you can make the most of the time you spend in your home office.
Piles of paper – letters, invoices and notes – can clutter up a home office desk quickly and are the biggest culprit when it comes to messy desks, not to mention the frustration associated with lost files, spreadsheets and papers. To keep loose paper from taking over, consider setting up a file system. Where you store these files is up to you – in your desk drawers or in plastic, stackable filing bins – it’s more about keeping your important papers organized and in reach. You can color code files so that you know where everything is. For example, green labels or folders can stand for correspondence, blue labels or folders can represent invoices, and so on. Also, consider organizing by date so you aren't frustrated looking for important items. You might also want to create a spreadsheet of incoming correspondence and invoices so you have an electronic record of various papers and where to find them. Consider keeping just one file containing the most important loose papers on your desk and file them away as soon as you take action.
Pictures of loved ones and mementos – like seashells you picked up on your last beach vacation – are nice keepsakes, but too many items can make for a messy desk. In fact, Style at Home suggests keeping as much of your desk’s surface as uncluttered as possible to allow you to maximize the amount of working space. So, try limiting yourself to one or two sentimental items on your desk. If you want to display a picture of the family, organize a few pictures of your loved ones in a multi-picture frame and put all the others on your home office shelves or in other rooms in your home.
After you file the loose papers and minimize the do-dads, clear off the front half of your desk and use it just for your computer. Computers figure prominently in most work and it’s important to have enough space for all the related peripherals. Clear ample space for extras like a mouse pad and drives so you can operate without encumbrances. Many people use mobile phones, but if you still use a landline phone in your home, it should be next to your computer within easy reach.
Consider arranging your home desk organizers, pencil holder and paper tray, as well as stapler and other miscellaneous office supplies on the back half of the desk. If you need to have books and three-ring binders on hand, consider adding shelves to your home office. While there are infinite ways to organize a home desk, keeping it organized can help improve your efficiency and productivity.
Maya Black is a small business owner with over 10 years of experience writing and editing business and finance topics. She’s been featured in various top publications including USA Today and Yahoo Finance.