Home Office Organization Tips for Maximum Productivity
What is a Power Office?
The power office is an environment that sets you up to be efficient so that you can be effective.
Before you start creating your power office, it helps to look at and analyze your current space to understand what’s working and what’s not.
Usually you have a pretty good idea if something isn’t working, but it is not always easy to know how to fix it. Even when you know how to fix something, sometimes it’s hard to make the change. We know that the piles of paper we see aren’t working well for us. Neither are the emails popping up as a frequent distraction.
What’s the value of setting up a power office?
Maybe it’s being able to walk into your office and start being productive within a couple of minutes or less. Maybe you want to feel more relaxed in your office or more productive.
Whatever your reason is, it’s important that you identify that before you start making changes. How do you feel in your office?
You should feel powerful. What does power mean to you in relationship to your office or work environment? Through the years, some of the people I’ve worked with have defined power as being in control. Others say it’s being in command of knowing where and how to access everything easily and quickly, and focusing on the task at hand. Others say it’s about feeling respected, whether in person or speaking on the phone, by both your peers and customers. Power can also mean you inspire your employees and others to have confidence in you.
Home Office Organization Tips
We know that having piles of papers covering a desk can have a negative impact on your career.
- Studies show that bosses are less likely to promote someone who has a disorganized or messy workspace.
- Statistics also indicate that if you have disorganized work areas, you may not have that feeling of power that we define as being respected, inspiring confidence, and simply being able to find things.
Having a power office will empower you. More important, you will have a work space that will help you be more productive and reflect a positive image.
- Uncluttered surfaces
When you organize your work areas, your surfaces are uncluttered and items that you use every day are easily accessible. You have a separate system for future tasks and activities so that your work area helps you focus on your current tasks. This setup allows you to achieve a natural flow of work through your desk or office. Creating a flow of future, current, and past work ensures that nothing gets stuck in piles, which reduces clutter.
- Designated areas
Think about creating different zones for the different activities that you do in your office.
The desk is your zone for working on your laptop and current projects, sorting mail, filing, and making phone calls. You’ll want to have a filing system and paper shredder close to where you handle your incoming mail and other papers. If you spend time on research, staying current in your field, or reviewing proposals, you might want a separate, more comfortable area for your reading activities. You could cluster a few chairs with a little table for meetings that happen in your office.
- Backup systems and storage
If you only have on hand what you need for your immediate activities, that means you will need a system for backup items, such as extra office supplies and reference files that you don’t need to access very often.
Perhaps there is a storage closet located in a central area. If you have a home office, consider carving out some room in your basement or your attic. Maybe you have a couple of shelves high up on a bookshelf. There’s always a way to make it work.
You don’t necessarily have to spend money to buy furniture or containers. By making a conscious decision about where you are going to store things and putting these backup items somewhere less accessible, you free up space within your immediate work areas.
- Work area efficiency
You should have anything you need in your Power Office within the vicinity of your desk and office chair.
Take time to think about what files you want immediately accessible, which ones you will reference less frequently but fairly often, and then those you’ll need infrequently, if at all. In an ideal situation, you will have a file drawer or two in your desk with your current and active projects and papers that you need to access. Behind you, place a larger filing cabinet with reference materials that you don’t need to access all the time. Keep your storage files in a more remote location.
- Folder systems and files
The last element of an organized work area is to create a well-thought out file system. It may be easier to keep information organized chronologically, and it’s possible a physical format for collecting this data will help you more than a digital one. Some great physical organization methods include:
- Filing cabinets
- Magazine boxes on a shelf
- Decorative boxes
- A vertical filing organizer
You might want to have multiple types of filing systems depending on the type of information, how you use it, and how often you need access.
Getting Used to Your New Power Office
Research says it usually takes about twenty-one days to break a habit and form a new one. Once you decide what the best system is and you implement the changes, set up at least a weekly maintenance schedule. Once a week, maybe on Friday afternoons, or whatever day fits into your schedule, set up time to routinely maintain your new system.