1. Be sure that everyone in your household understands how the space in your home office is to be used, when "business" hours are, etc. 2. Choose a location that is conducive to conducting business. As much as possible, keep this separate from your personal living space. 3. Choose comfortable furnishings and adequate lighting that will reduce fatigue, discomfort, strain and injury. 4. Create stacking trays which are labeled for the following uses and place them within easy reach of where you sit: Incoming-- where the mail goes until you open it (once opened it never returns here) Outgoing-- for outgoing mail To file-- for items you wish to file for future reference without any action required 5. Trim the F.A.T.-File, Act, Toss. Professional Organizer Barbara Hemphill tells us that these are essentially the only choices that we have when dealing with paper. If we want to file for future reference, it goes in the "to file" tray. If it requires action, we can either act on it now or place it in the tickler file for action to be taken at some future time. And, of course, 80% of what we receive we can usually toss! Better to do this sooner rather than later. Some questions to ask yourself when you are trying to decide whether or not to keep something:
What's the worst possible thing that could happen if I threw this away? Could I get it again if I needed it later? By the time I might need this, will it be obsolete? Will it enhance my personal or work life to keep this? (If not, toss it!) Are there tax or legal implications if I toss this? 6. Place a wastebasket and recycling bin near where you open your mail. This will make it easier for you to immediately toss anything that you don't need to keep for action or reference. 7. Create a tickler file system and place all of your "action required" items in the system according to when you plan to act on it. Paauwerfully Organized can teach you how to set up an outstanding tickler file system. 8. Create a system for easy retrieval of electronic files and for filing papers so you can find anything within 5 seconds or less. 9. For papers you are legally required to keep or for files you rarely access, create archive files. You can store these in a less accessible space, such as in banker's boxes in your garage or a storage closet. This will free up valuable office space for your action and reference files you need to access more frequently. Be sure your storage area is safe, dry, and free of rodents. 10. Use wall space for shelving and cabinets. You can use this space to store books, notebooks, magazines, and office supplies. These can either be built-in or stand-alone shelves and cabinets. (SAFETY NOTE: If you live in an earthquake zone, be sure that stand-alone shelving is securely bolted to a stud in the wall.)
Kathy Paauw, a certified Business/Personal Coach and Organizing/Productivity Consultant, specializes in helping busy executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs declutter their schedules, spaces and minds. Contact her at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at http://www.orgcoach.net and learn how you can Find ANYTHING in 5 Seconds --Guaranteed!
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