Monday, October 14, 2013

De-cluttering my home office made me productive

by: Stan Washington
Date: October 14, 2013

Working from a home office has its rewards but can be distracting at times. The availability of "home" stuff like television, neighbors and errands used to find their way on my daily to do list and distract me from executing my daily business plan, but not anymore.  The main distraction seems to be organization. 

I don't know what has happened over the past year but I seem to be getting more paper than ever before!  Here are a few tips:

Clean my house in the morning - The first thing I do is clean my kitchen. I wipe down every surface and put away everything in its place. I do this before I grab my morning coffee!

Online Banking - I have switched over to on-line banking and I receive my monthly statements on-line. I can download my statement and e-mail the information to my accountant. I pay for business related items online and I don't remember the last time I wrote a check.

Handle a piece of paper twice - I was actually taught that I was only supposed to handle a piece of paper once, but who am I fooling?  I still get mail, paper invoices, articles, doctors' instructions, periodicals and statements from companies who haven't moved their processes on-line.  I look at the information to make sure nothing is pressing.  I then file the documents in their proper place on Friday. 

Create a directory structure that makes sense - I know this is tiny but many don't do it.  I have folders for everything on e-mail and I have the same folder structure on my computer.  I also back up my information in the cloud or on an external hard-drive. (I just bought a 1 TB drive for $60 and backed up all my files.
Company Name
           Projects / Workshops
           Client Documents

Delete or trash old files - Ask yourself... "Do I really need the file from 1997?" If you haven't looked at it this year, then the idea or thought is probably old. (I'm giving you a lot of leeway here)!  I finally got rid of an award certificate from one of my first companies in the 80's. I chose one or two memory items and chunked the rest.

Time box decluttering efforts - I only give my decluttering efforts 2 hours. I usually wind up making phone calls and doing other administrative tasks during this time but I can definitely benefit from scheduling this effort.  I can think better when I'm not cluttered!

Visit and organize yourself today!

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