Having a functional and inviting office space is KEY to being productive while working from home. Here are the tips we find ourselves giving over and over about how to set up a functioning work space:
Get a desk that is wide enough so you can set your elbows and a few papers on it, but not so wide that it becomes catch-all. For most people, 48 inches seems to be the sweet spot.
Store only the essential office supplies that you use daily out on your desk. For most of us, that’s probably pens and sticky notes, plus perhaps some paper clips, binder clips and/or a stapler. A little tray with separate compartments is very helpful here. Everything else can go into labeled bins on a shelf or in an office closet.
Set up 3 folders or magazine holders for corralling papers. One folder is for To Do papers, one is for Pending/In Process papers, one is for To File papers. Set aside time each week to process the papers in your folders so they don’t get overstuffed.
If you have lots of papers or materials for various projects, set up separate folders for those too, labeled by project.
Set up a spot near an electrical outlet for charging your devices. Storing your electronics in a charger with multiple vertical slots will keep your surfaces tidier than charging your devices flat on your desk.
Overall, the less you can keep in this space, the easier it will be to keep it tidy. So if you struggle with chronic disorganization, resist the urge to add lots of decorative items, things that you can get from another room (e.g. snacks, cups, silverware), old electronics and old files/documents. Ideally, the space around your desk holds only the things you are touching daily or weekly. Everything else goes in a closet or out of the too.
Ten minutes before the end of each day, use this time to tidy up your desk, file papers and put things away. It will give you a boost of energy to start your day with a clear desk space rather than with the detritus of yesterday’s projects.
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