Feeling disorganized is no fun: Being disorganized, even less so. Yet so many of us stumble on, lamenting to friends and family that our lives are so chaotic.
We have so many reasons for not making the changes we need. We think it’s down to all the circumstances in our lives: The three toddlers we’ve been wrangling (except that two of them are now in school); the elderly relative we’ve been part-caretaking (which leaves us too exhausted the rest of the week for proactive activity); the kids’ after school activities that seem to eat up the week in a flash…
Here are my five steps to organizing your shizzle into a beautiful haven of work happiness!
1.Set aside a morning or afternoon to work on your home office.
Make sure you choose a time period where you won’t be interrupted by children, phone calls or deadlines. Schedule it. Treat it as sacred.
Make a commitment not to let anyone or anything distract you from doing this.
David Allen, in his awesome book, “Getting Things Done,” advocates more than just a few hours. He tells his clients to set aside up to three days to fully organize their office (and life). So if you think your office might need a bit more than just an afternoon, don’t be afraid to commit to a longer period of time. It will be well worth it in the end!
2.Look around. Assess your home office space as objectively as you can.
On the morning of your Home Office Organization Day, don’t straight away rush into cleaning. Instead, make a cup of your favourite relaxing beverage. Sit comfortably, turning your chair away from the computer. Look around. Identify areas that:
- Have accumulated piles of clutter (even small ones)
- Contain items you never use
- Contain broken elements
- Cause you difficulty when you go to sit there or get something (e.g. shelves that are too high to simply reach up to)
- Are hard to keep organized
3.Make a list
(Or draw a thumbnail-sketch plan, if you are a visual planner.)
List each trouble spot—for example, “filing drawer that sticks half-way.”
4.Make a second list, answering the questions:
- “Is this really the best space for my office?”
- “What are its problems?”
- “Is the lighting adequate during my working hours? Can I see what I’m doing??”
- “Are my working hours reasonable and fit into the best time slots for me, my family and my lifestyle?”
- “Could I move my home office somewhere else in the house? Do I need to?”
- “What would make my home office feel even better?”
- “What am I always wishing I had in my home office that I don’t have?
- “What am I always wishing I could get rid of?”
Next, under the heading of “Ergonomics,” ask yourself:
- “Is my chair comfortable enough? Does it support me well or does it cut off my circulation, make my back tired or is too low or too high?”
- “Is my desk comfortable or am I ‘making do’ with an old table or a desk not meant for my computer?”
- “Do I need to adjust:
- The desk height?
- The chair height?
- The lighting level in my office?”
- “Is the lighting in my office pleasant and adequate or does it give my eyestrain or headaches?”
- “Is the light in the right spot for me?”
5.Don’t ignore your digital clutter.
Most of your disorganization stress likely stems from not being able to find (or easily access) your digital documents, so spend some time thinking about how you’d like your ideal workflow to look. Consider things like:
- Additional devices you use—a laptop, second desktop, mobile phone or tablet.
- Other locations you work from—whether on the road or just your local coffee shop.
- The ability to share files with clients and your virtual assistants.
- The ability to quickly search for and find relevant notes and files.