This post has been written by Tom Drake, the author of The Canadian Finance Blog. Tom is a Financial Analyst for a major retailer. He offered me to write about improving productivity. As I am a productivity addict, I said yes without any hesitation. Make sure to visit his blog and subscribe to his RSS Feed.
Do you have an office in your home? Maybe it’s a part time business or simply a place where you keep track of your budget and pay your bills? Chances are that you could greatly increase your productivity by removing the clutter and organizing your home office.
First, you should go through your papers and decide what you don’t need to keep. Be sure to shred anything with personal information before throwing it out. If you don’t have one, a decent shredder can be picked up for as little as $50.
With the papers you plan to keep, use a file cabinet with separate folders for each type of bill, as well as taxes, receipts and important documents. For new papers coming in, use an inbox to collect them temporarily, but file everything away regularly so that the inbox doesn’t overflow. For documents like wills, birth certificates, home inventory and insurance papers, consider using a scanner to back them up to a digital file. This could then be burned to a CD or DVD and put somewhere safe in case of fire or theft.
You will benefit from a clear desktop as well. Only leave items on the desk that are used regularly and need to be in easy reach. Less used items can be put in drawers or storage bins or placed on a shelf. For a tidy look, use cable organizers for all the wires coming out of your computer and its peripherals.
To be more organized and productive on your computer, you can use Microsoft Outlook to keep track of addresses and appointments. For a free alternative, try Google Calendar. Another great program is Google Desktop, which can not only search the internet, but also your own files, emails, and instant messages to help you find anything with a quick search.
These are just a few steps that you can take to organize your home office. The small amount of time it might take will pay off when you become more productive, can find documents easily, and never miss paying a bill on time!
TFB Thoughts: I actually setup my home office with my laptop and desktop side by side. Hence, I can now work on 2 computers at the same time. It is perfect to look at financial information on one computer and use the other one to type a great post 😉
I actually use Google calendar to improve efficiency. Everything I can plug in and take off my mind is a good thing. My blackberry reminds me of my schedule through Google calendar… I don’t have to think anymore 😉
Unfortunately, my home office still remains a mess (even my desktop screen is full of shortcut and documents!). I need a way to classify my stuff so I can find it easily and my kids stop playing with my paperwork 😉
image source: Paladin 27
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