Home Office Productivity Tips
If you work at home you know the importance of being organized and staying focused. There can be many distractions at home that may hinder your productivity and possibly negate all the benefits of working at home. Kids, pets, personal phone calls, and visitors can all keep you from performing at your optimum. The biggest hindrance however is usually working in an unorganized manner. How can get organized and keep your focus on the work that needs to get done? Well, let’s look at a few options
Getting organized and staying organized are extremely important to home office productivity. You need to develop systems or processes that either automate or streamline your daily tasks. A simple and long used example is the in-out box. If you have paperwork that needs to be done everyday then an in-out box will allow you to keep the paperwork separated and you will quickly be able to ascertain how much work is left and how much is done. Make a decision on all paperwork. Does it need to be read, filed, scanned, or thrown away? Make the decision and act upon it. Perhaps a more multi-faceted in-out box is in order. A vertically tiered box with with multiple step files can hold paperwork for each priority.
Another aspect of organization is your calender. Try to keep just one main calender to work off of. If you have calenders on your PC, your PDA, and your phone then you are going to be wasting time making adjustments to each calender during the day and they will most likely never match up properly. Try to integrate your PDA and phone calenders with your PC calender so that a change on the main calender is reflected in the others automatically.
Think about utilizing time management software which will allow you to structure your schedule each day so that you know what you should be working on at any particular time. This type of software is especially useful if you tend to do the same routine everyday. You can set it up so that it will remind you that at 10am you should work on some specific task for one hour, after which you will move to the next pre-determined task. It’s almost like having a boss watching over your shoulder making sure you do what you need to do.
Keep on the lookout for small things that can be made more efficient. Create separate email folders for each type of correspondence and filters so that they are forwarded to the appropriate folder automatically. That way you can easily see when a high priority email comes in and you won’t waste time reading unimportant emails. Buy a document scanner and scan most of your documents thereby keeping your office clutter free. Use a headset so that when you are on the phone you will have your hands free to work when talking.
All of these things can help you get better organized and stay more focused on what you need to get done each day. While the benefits of working at home can be fantastic you still need to get work done in a timely manner. After all, you don’t want to go back to the daily commute and cubicle do you?
Jay Todd works at home and is always on the lookout for ways to automate and organize the home office.
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