Today we welcome guest blogger Jason Womack, a workplace effectiveness and productivity consultant. You can find him on his corporate website at womackcompany.com.
If you’ve decided to quit your commute and work from home, one of your big challenges may be maintaining the sanctity of your work area. When your office is disorganized, it can easily become a magnet for bills, toys, receipts, homework papers and even dirty laundry. This clutter can quickly bring your productivity to a screaming halt.
In order to stay one step ahead of the chaos, keep your workspace as productive as you are. Here some ideas to keep a clean desk and a clean path to productivity:
- Make processing a priority: Processing your inboxes (voicemail, email, paper, and files) clears the deck for your life and work. Every five days, you need to make processing your focus. This weekly overview will enable you to create the space you need in order to work the way you would like.
- Get it: Take everything out of your briefcase or bag and put it on your desk to tackle.
- Supply it: Go through your travel and business supplies and replace or restock anything that is low. Also purge and restock an area or two on your desk (fill printer with paper, stapler with staples, water a plant, check the electric plugs by the floor to make sure they are in contact, etc.)
- Gather it: Put any as-yet-unprocessed notes into the in-basket. These can be from anywhere – meeting notes, Post-its, business cards you have picked up, email messages, or other mail.
- Update it: Review any papers in your “pending” file to make sure their status is up to date. Also open and review your current project folders.
- Find it: Check your calendar and your to-do list. On your calendar, look two weeks back and four weeks ahead. If you have any reminders in there, add them to your to-do list. Add to your to-do list by going through the notes in your inbox or other reminders you have. Check off anything you have completed.
- Assess it: Finally, take an overview of your outcomes and inventory your incomplete goals. Reassess your commitment and decide if there is an action that can be added to your to-do list in order to reach that goal.
If you undergo this weekly assessment of your workspace, you can spend a lot more of your time on your actual work in your home office.
This post has been updated since its original publication in 2008.