I am always on the quest for finding ways, whether they be new ways or old standby ways, of working smarter, not harder for my home business. In doing some research, I came across a goldmine of information that not only seemed simple enough to put into motion for myself, but also worth sharing. I have outlined ten (10) organizational tips below that I think are not only important, but easy enough to incorporate into your daily routine.
- Don’t mix business and pleasure. Don’t keep household paperwork other personal items where they can distract you. Blending business and personal work at your desk is usually distracting rather than efficient. This is one that I personally have to contend with on a daily basis because my office is on the main floor of my house. I have to constantly remind not only my husband, but myself, that to-do’s for work do not go in the same area as to-do’s for the household.
- Determine your goals. Before you start anything, determine your goal or goals for the day and remember to set mini-goals and reward yourself for your successes. This is a tough one for me, however, the more I get into the habit of opening up my calendar each morning to see what appointments have already been set, the easier it gets for me to plan out my day or set goals for the day.
- Determine your best time for tasks. Use your most productive time to do your most productive work. Tackle your most difficult, important work during the time of day when you’re at your best and you’re most likely to complete it. I tackle any large or in-depth projects after my son goes down for a nap. This way it’s quiet and there are no distractions.
- Open your planner or turn on your PDA and place it on your desk. Use it to keep track of to-dos, follow-ups and ideas. I utilize Gmail for both my calendar as well as any tasks. It’s always open for me to reference back to throughout the day and I put keep both personal as well as professional all on one (1) calendar. This helps eliminate double-booking.
- Keep a spiral notebook by the phone for messages and notes. Write your voicemail messages in it as well as any reference notes for your upcoming call. I have at least one on my desk at all times and a spare close by if needed. I also make sure to have a notebook handy if I know I will be working away from my desk for a period of time.
- Create forms for everyday tasks. For example, type up your own Fax Transmittal Form that includes your name, company name and other pertinent information. Make copies and leave them by your fax machine for efficient and effective communication. Better yet, create a template instead and print out only when needed. Why waste paper and additional space?
- Develop false deadlines. Record your deadline (due-date) at least four days earlier. This should give you enough of a window to avoid last-minute completions as well as any unexpected happenings that may occur. This is where planning and task management come into play. Get out your planners, calendars, or PDA’s and start scheduling those due dates pronto!
- Take ten minutes at the end of each day to keep your desk organized. Place tomorrow’s top priority project in the center of your desk. You’re ready for anything! Since I work primarily off of a laptop, I place my most important “must-do” projects on top of it, once I am done for the day. It’s a constant reminder for me of what is due the next day.
If you would like to further your own research on organizing your home office, check these sites out. They were most helpful!