Who’s in charge…you or the equipment and support materials in your office? Take a few minutes to calculate how much time, money and emotion you waste on equipment, reference materials and information you no longer use. The result of this quick analysis should make it easy for you to throw out, recycle or better yet, donate unnecessary items.
Here are 5 steps on how to declutter and organize your home office:
Remove all dinosaurs
Are you using out-of-date equipment or old versions of computer programs? Determine how much time you’re wasting using slow and inadequate equipment and programs with limited capabilities. What is the bottom line of all of this wasted time? Computer prices fall regularly, so determine if your time is worth investing in a new computer system. The money you’re saving by not buying new equipment may be costing you in lost time and productivity. The same rule applies to daily planners. If the system you are using (whether paper-based or electronic) no longer meets your needs, find a new one.
Control incoming information
It’s difficult (and time-consuming) to read everything, yet it’s easy to get caught up in information overload, the need to keep every publication you receive. You may keep this information because you believe that one day you’ll read it. In reality, that day never comes. If you know that you’ll never read something, get rid of it. If you ever need an article from a past issue, search for it online. Better yet, consider converting your printed subscriptions to online ones.
Develop the urge to purge
Some people keep information “just in case” they need it one day. They fear that the minute they throw or give something away, they may need it again. The first symptom of the need to purge is stacks of magazines, newspapers and paperwork scattered throughout your office. Keep in mind that when you need something, you may not be able to find it amidst the clutter you’ve accumulated. Something is worth keeping only if you’re able to locate it within minutes instead of hours.
Keep only what you use
Not everything has to be “used up” before it’s discarded. Donate an old computer, replaced long ago by a faster, smaller model, instead of stashing it in the corner of your office. Various charities welcome computer donations. Before you donate a computer, however, make sure you clear the hard drive completely.
Know what to toss and what to keep
Take the “Toss or Keep” test to determine whether or not you should keep something. 1. Have you used this item within the past year? 2. Is the item serving a specific purpose? 3. Do you have a place to store the item where you will find it again? If you answered no to any of these questions, consider giving the item away. If you decide to keep the item, make sure you have a specific place to store it.
Without technology, files and resource materials, you would have a difficult time handling daily tasks. When all of these tools, however, threaten to hamper your productivity, it’s time to take back your office.
Recommended Books on How to Declutter and Organize Your Home Office:
- The Smarter Home Office: 8 simple steps to increase your income, inspiration and comfort
- Building the Custom Home Office: Projects for the Complete Home Work Space
- At Work At Home: Design Ideas for Your Home Workplace
- Taunton’s Home Workspace Idea Book (Taunton Home Idea Books)
- A Space of My Own: Inspirational Ideas for Home Offices, Craft Rooms Studies
About the Author:
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- How to Create a Home Office that Works
- Outfitting Your Home Office
- Top 10 Ways to Earn Money at Home
- What Qualifies for a Home Office Tax Deduction?