Working out more, losing weight and getting more organized are usually at the top of a New Year’s resolution list. In January and February, many of us are filled with good intentions for the months ahead. It is essential to take a resolution and make it into a goal that turns into reality.
While it can take time and a bit of patience to see improvements in the areas of wellness, organizing a home office is one space that can realize big improvements and efficiencies in a short amount of time. A temporary workspace that was expected to last for a few weeks or months has become a somewhat permanent area — and perhaps a bit disorganized. In just a few easy steps, a messy and inefficient area can become a stylish and effective work environment.
Cut the Clutter
Once there is a commitment to get a workspace organized, it is time to take action. Begin by getting rid of post-it notes that you no longer need, envelopes that are housing bills that have been paid and file folders that can be more effectively used if put someplace else. On a regular basis, give yourself a few moments to tidy so that things do not get cluttered. Working from an organized space feels great, and you will notice that you will get more done each day. Once you start, you will never want to stop.
A good habit to start is to clear your workspace before you shut down your computer for the night. Many people also find that writing a to-do list before shutting down for the day allows you to be efficient first thing the next morning.
Prioritize Important Items
The theory goes that if you only keep essential items on your desk, there will be less chaos, and the space you use will be organized and easily maintained. Only keep the items that are important and that you use regularly. The rest is clutter. Office supplies, including pens and paper clips, can be kept in a drawer, and only a few of each need be kept on your desk. This methodology is also useful for items like staplers, tape and note holders. Experts in home organization recommend desk organizers for drawers. If you are not looking to purchase any new office organization supplies, try using long or narrow boxes from holiday gifts. Used in drawers, it’s a fun and upcycled way to keep track of small items.
Organization Is Stylish
When a home office looks and feels professional, we start the day with a positive outlook. A stylish desk creates the optics of an efficient workspace. Professional organizers recommend Love Desk Mats, which are similar to an oversized mouse pad and which protect desks from dust and scratches. They also keep your desk space clear and organized, and they can reflect your personality in a professional way. Plus, a mat will put you in a good mood from the moment you sit down. Love Desk Mats are made from neoprene, are super soft, easy to clean, and made with one-eight-inch-thick non-skid, natural rubber backing.
Establish a Reference Center
A reference center is a designated area to keep important books, files and folders that you use regularly but not daily. Often, these items are placed on a desk, are never used and sit there for months until they start to pile up on the floor. Dedicate an area for files, notebooks and reference items that is not on your desk.
Some people are able to find a spot in a closet; others have a file cabinet. You can even use a sturdy tote bag that can hold the items, which can add to the personality of the work area. The general idea is to keep only essential items on your desk and have the important ones in a location that is easy to reach.
Schedule a Maintenance Meeting
Periodically — each month or every other month — take time to check on supplies. Ensure that papers and notebooks are in their proper places, and try to keep a running list of tasks. Maintaining the space ensures that the time you spent making the area clean, clear and organized was well-used. Remove all of those important notes that are so abundant that they don’t catch your attention anymore. Schedule 10 to 15 minutes regularly, and honor it like a work appointment.
If after organizing, cleaning and styling your space, it still does not feel right, check your surroundings. Be sure that light bulbs in your office have been selected for the right wattage. Check that the size and placement of your computer monitor is strategically placed to avoid neck, shoulder, back and wrist aches. These details are often overlooked and may seem insignificant, but over the many hours, days, weeks and months that we sit at a computer, they make a big difference.
Being organized is a habit and might even be considered a life change. No one is perfect, but if you keep practicing, staying organized and efficient will become second nature.
Jacob Mathias is an SEO and digital marketing executive with a passion for organized and stylish work spaces. He founded Love Desk Mats as a way for people who are working from home to create a comfortable and professional environment that reflects their personalities. Learn more at lovedeskmats.com.