The modern home office has an enormous capacity for electronic efficiency, and a carefully conceived, organized space can help turbocharge your personal productivity.
A busy home office can sometimes translate into a messy office space, but these tips will help allow your creativity to flow and your mental attitude to stay positive.
The first step to organizing an office space is to clearly delineate your office from the rest of your home.
Remember - An office is for work.
Your tax advisor will tell you that it should be a dedicated space, and he is right. It should be an island that is free of junk mail, bills and traffic ticket! These things add distraction, clutter and stress, even when you aren't paying them any attention.
Clear these things away from your creative space.
Paper is the enemy. When Bill Gates was running Microsoft, he would warn his subordinates not to bring him anything on paper; he always wanted electronic copy. This is good policy.
Move every activity that you can away from hard copies.
Remember the old "IN" boxes from your cubicle days?
Nowadays, your "IN" mail is electronic. Your "OUT" box, too.
Ditch these old ideas. Avoid printing when you can. Buy an all-in-one printer with the best document feeder that you can find, and scan documents into memory when you can't avoid hard copies. Paper mail shouldn't see your desk, it either goes into the scanner or the recycle bin.
Here is a lesson that you can bring from the kitchen into the home office: If you do not want to live with a big mess, do not create a big mess. Easy, right?
Organization isn't just something you do when you get frustrated, it's a work flow process.
Develop a routine work process to handle daily tasks, and keep notes. This will help you stay focused, and gives a peek into how you spend your time. Tweak those processes often, and make improvements.
Your space should inspire creativity and clear your mind. It should also be inviting. Remember, you're going to spend a decent amount of time (and effort) in that office. Make it comfortable and simple.
Remember, those old decorating rules from the cube farm have gone out the window. Do you like it to be as dark as a cave, or do you crave tons of natural light? Hot? Cold?
Plug in your favorite appliances, turn the thermostat down, and enjoy.
If you aren't careful, cords and cables can take over your desk, and it can be an ugly sight. Some of them are unavoidable, but you can reduce the cluttered look in your home office.
Plastic conduit and zip ties can go a long way to minimize sprawling cables.
Bundle them together, zip-tie them close and wrap the conduit around the whole bundle.
It's cheap, and looks great. If you have a laptop power supply or USB hub that lives on your desk, why not attach it to the bottom of the desk? Use pegboard and zip ties to attach the components to the unseen bottom/back, and you'll have less clutter.
Creative solutions and a constant, evolving workflow will help your home office to be more comfortable and productive than ever.