Working from home has many advantages and also a sort of familiarity that can become a downright pitfall in some instances. It is easy and sometimes quickly discovered that away from an office your productivity is not as high as you thought it would be. Working from a home office can easily become a productivity killer when a business owner doesn’t stay on top of thing. However, don’t fret! This can be changed with a few simple steps to get your business organized making productivity easier.
First of all, realize what you do is run a business. Your business needs a permanent place to live. It could be your dining room, a corner of your den or the entire den. Some people set up shop in their garage or kitchen. Wherever you decide is where your home office will reside, recognize that it is your work space and nothing else can share that spot. Yes, that includes the laundry you forgot to fold last night too.
Moving on, now that you have an office space, set some guidelines for how you will run your business. These guidelines don’t run to the particulars of your chosen industry but more to organization for better operation of the enterprise. In plain terms, if everything is in its place, you won’t waste time looking for it.
A filing system will be your best friend. This includes a filing cabinet for important papers. Every correspondence doesn’t have to exist in paper form. Contractual agreements with clients and copies of past invoices can be filed, but emails don’t need to be. Save yourself some time, money and fresh air by not printing every client email that comes to your inbox.
An electronic filing system keeps emails, project specs and proposals organized by client without adding to the paperwork you already have to handle. Electronic files are easy to organize and can be zipped to clients in an instant if need be. You won’t even have to use snail mail.
Also, keep an in and out box on your desk (we almost forgot about the desk). Incoming mail is organized as soon as it hits the desk. Junk mail is shredded, orders are filed in a box to be filled and other mail is sorted according to purpose. Dealing with mail first thing prevents anything from getting overlooked.
Along the same lines, create a priority box. This is the box that will be checked first thing in the morning and last thing before you leave your home office. In the morning, the box contains all of the items that need attention that day. In the evening, organize the contents to be ready for the next morning. This makes it much easier to have your daily work tasks set when you get to the “office” each morning. No more wasted time planning your day while an hour or two of it is vanishing.
Low productivity in a home office arises mainly from disorganization. We aren’t sure what we want to work on or what is most important sometimes, so it takes a little while to get that together. If you are organized from the beginning and keep your priorities current, you won’t spend your time deciding what to do next – you’ll already know. Good bye time wasters, hello productivity!