Clutter is a problem. A cluttered home office makes it difficult to find something when you’re looking for it. It becomes difficult to work with piles of material stacked on every available surface. It’s even harder to think with distractions everywhere. Here are five ways to de-clutter your home office, increase your productivity, lower stress and generally improve your life.
1. Sort and store your papers. Invest in plastic storage cabinets, file cabinets or file folders to store various categories of paperwork. Anything that can be thrown away, shred and toss. If it needs to be saved, see if you can digitize it and file the paper copy away in a box. Depending on how much paperwork you have stacked up, this can be a significant time investment. The key is to do it before it gets any worse and keep up with it as you go.
2. Sort through everything in the room. Anything thats not part of your home office, your business, or an otherwise essential part of your operation has to go. The less you have in your home office, the fewer distractions you have to keep you from working. You don’t need to work in a sterile white void, but you should minimize distractions.
3. Make sure you have space to work. The ideal is a desk set up with your computer, easy access to any file folders you need frequently, and space to spread them out to work on them. Keep a corner aside for beverages and snacks, if you’re the type to eat while you work.
4. Form and keep clean habits. When you’re done with a set of papers, file them away. If you finish a snack, clean up. At the end of your workday, file anything thats been left out over the course of your work. Create a small pile for immediate interest the next day, but file most everything else away.
5. Audit your files and papers monthly or bi-monthly. Just like you need to keep up the habit of filing your papers away, you need to remain in the habit of discarding unnecessary papers when their usefulness ends. The more you let it build up, the harder it will be to go back and fix later.
Putting these tips to use will help you de-clutter your home office and help keep it that way. A clean workplace leads to more productivity and less stress overall.