Make your office work for you

In this month's blog I'll be passing on my top tips to create a productive home office space. By implementing just a few of these tips you'll become more efficient and have a more enjoyable working day!

Are you overwhelmed with a mountain of paperwork?

Labelled files

If someone is looking for a particular document, they should only need to look in 3 places.

Set up a system which has ‘To Action’, ‘To File’ and other relevant files, like ‘Invoices’, ‘Bank Statements’, etc. Use magazine racks so you can see how much is in each, this will be motivation to get things filed away!

When a letter comes in:

  • Open and throw the envelope in the recycling box (tip: keep a bin/box under your desk for recycling)

  • If you don’t have time to action now, put in your ‘To Action’ file

  • If urgent, action now or blu-tac/pin it to the wall as a visual reminder

  • If no action is needed, place in the ‘To File’ box. My ‘To File’ box usually gets pretty full by the time I get around to filing. I usually do this 3-4 times a year.

Top tip star

My top tip: go paperless as much as possible; opt for electronic statements/newsletters to save you spending time filing!

Can you find everything you need?

Your filing system should be simple and easy to use. If it is too complicated or time consuming, you will end up hanging on to papers for fear of not being able to find them again and you will soon have piles of papers covering your desk or work area.

Personally I categorize my filing system under these headings;

  • Banks

  • Car

  • Condo

  • Family

  • Medical and Dentist

  • Policies

  • Tax

  • Services

Yes, they are also in alphabetical order!

Within each box file I have sub files so I don’t have to wade through all of the contents to find for example, the car tax.

Labelled files, business & personal colour coded

Do you find yourself procrastinating and unable to focus?

I find it very difficult to focus and achieve anything when my work area is messy and unorganised. I prefer to have a clear space with very limited distractions before I can even get started.

Top tip star

My top tip: Empty your workspace of everything but the project you’re working on to cut down on distractions.

As Joshua Baker says, a clear desk “allows our mind to better focus on the most important project of the moment; the one you are working on” (source). Read his Guide to a Clutter-Free Desk for some great tips.

When your office is more than an office!

Your home office may need to accommodate more than one function. For example, office/nursery, office/guestroom, office/storage.

In our previous condo we did not have space for a separate office so had to make do with a desk and filing cabinet in the corner of our bedroom. Because of this I used a nice old wooden desk that blended in with our furniture with a matching wooden filing cabinet. The filing cabinet had to house all of our filing needs, whereas the desk drawers took care of the stationery. As this was all on show I made sure that when I had finished working everything was tidied away immediately. We now have the luxury of a separate room for our office in our new place with the added bonus of the desks and cabinets that has all been built in.

Read some tips here on how to organise an office/guest room.

Nursery / Office combo

Perhaps you have a new addition to your family? If this is the case, then you may have to use your office as a nursery too. Get some inspiration from Pinterest like the below image.

Use a small desk with shelves to create a working section to the room. With nursery items, opt for a chest of drawers to use as a changing table, creating more storage.

Image source

When your office serves another purpose it is even more important to keep everything stored away at the end of your working day.

Top tip star

My top tip: add a small chest of drawers inside a wardrobe to keep office stuff neat and tidy and out of the way.

Chest of drawers in a wardrobe for office items

Are you sitting comfortably?

Do you tire easily and find your body aching from too much sitting?

Ergonomics is really important in a home office, just as it would be in any office. Make sure you take some time choosing the right chair and adjusting it to fit your needs. Click here for some great advice on setting up your office chair.

More tips for an organised office!

Floor protector for office
  • Use a floor protector for your rolling office chairs to protect wooden flooring

  • ​If you own your own business, use different coloured files to distinguish between home and business documents.

  • Label everything to save you time searching for something.

  • Try to go as paperless as possible. Unsubscribe from things that you are no longer interested in. Receive as many things electronically as possible.

  • Don’t go and buy any organising solutions until you know exactly what you will need first.

  • If possible try to keep things you will need within reach.

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My top tip: ​Use a cutlery drawer organizer to keep your stationery neat and tidy!

Cutlery organiser used in an office drawer

  • Remove things from your office area that are not office related, such as toys, sports equipment, coffee cups etc!

  • If you are not a naturally tidy person choose cupboards and drawers as opposed to open shelving. If you are using open shelving use magazine files and lidded boxes in similar colours to help everything look coordinated.

  • Avoid having lots of little pots on your desk that become a home for unnecessary odds and ends.

  • Get creative with things you already have or take a look at Pinterest for inspiration. Did you know that SORTED is on Pinterest? I’ve saved lots of helpful images and tips to help you have an organised home.

Some helpful resources:

How long do you need to keep business records

Where to recycle your electronic equipment

20 awesome DIY office organisation to boost productivity

Do you have used ink cartridges? You can recycle them at National Library, B1, 100 Victoria Street, Singapore.

Following a recent office organisation project, a client said:

Quote from a happy client

Do you need a helping hand to get your office working for you?

SORTED can help!

Email to arrange an appointment.

Get your office in shape and be more productive and happy at work!

#office #tips #paperwork #dualoffice #ergonomics #filing

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Tracey Clark – Professional Organiser – Singapore