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Effective, Efficient, Productive Home Office

 

Organizing your home office, whether it is for personal or business reasons, makes all the difference!  Getting down to business at your desk is a chore if it is piled with papers! Establishing a comfortable area for paper work and other office activities is important for productivity. Use these tips to create a space dedicated to effectiveness, efficiency and organization.

Create a Work Zone
As you begin, determine what tasks you are doing in your office and the tools needed for these tasks. By making these decisions at the outset, you are preparing your space for accomplishment. Create areas specifically designated for most frequent activities. As for room arrangement, place your desk in a position that allows maximum use of natural light. Position the desk in a direction that allows for direct viewing of all who enter without you having to turn.  Add an L shape or credenza behind for easy access storage for your command center or project files. 

Desk drawers should have only what you use at the desk in them. Store your additional office supplies in another area. Keep specific categories of items individually stored in different drawers. One drawer should contain checks and bill paying items, one drawer stationary and note pads, one drawer with a pencil tray holding pencils, pens, tape, stapler and scissors. Again, keep just enough to use and not over stuff the drawers. Place books on book shelves, magazines or reading material in a basket to grab and go. Be sure that your telephone, computer and other essentials are placed easily in reach.

A Personalized Paper Plan
A “paper plan” is most important in this work zone. Create an area for “Action” files. This is a temporary home where papers live until either filed away or thrown away. Papers used frequently or that are a “hot topic” need a basket, vertical file, or other space on your desk. Label them according to what actions or terms fit best with your needs. These files can be call, file, mail, or pay. Or these can be named by client name, project name, or other key word that comes to mind quickly. Clearly label your files so you will always know what is in them, and just as importantly, the labels will remind you what not to put in them.

Arrange for the placement of frequently used files to be placed in the desk’s file drawer. Less frequently accessed files can be placed in a separate filing cabinet. As for filing cabinets, use a low-lying, two-drawer cabinet that can be placed next to or near your desk for the added use of its top for other items that you often need. Filing system should be simple easy and manageable. Create categories in your files for the different major work/home areas. For work it may be clients, administrative, financial. For home it may be home/auto, personal, and financial. Use general key words that come to mind quickly, and sub categorize as needed. An example would be Car – insurance, Car – maintenance, or Insurance – Car, Insurance – Home. Think about how YOU think about the paper to find it. Color-coding your files makes it faster to find information. Use one color hanging file to easily slip information into a file. Label the file with a tab using a label maker!

Delegating and Team Building at Home

delegating and team building

You come home after work and start the 2nd shift.  There’s always more to do than time to do it.  Gather your family around you and think delegate, a.k.a. team building!

 

There are a few ground rules that apply at home, that don’t apply at the office.  The complexity of family relationships makes delegating at home more challenging than at work. But it is not impossible.  Truly applying team building makes this happen!

 

Begin with the family motto of “we’re all in this together!”  Start with a family meeting to talk about what this means.  Keep it simple but think through all the responsibilities at home and create a list of the options.  There are lunches and dinner to make, groceries to buy, laundry to do, lawns to mow, toilets to clean and more.  So getting a list together that hits on the most important tasks is a starting point.  Here is where we start being creative!

·                 Works from family members’ strengths. Who is great at what? Give your family jobs they do well rather than struggle with.

·                 Give the chores different point values by “difficulty” of completion.  Bathroom and toilet 3 points, kitchen clean up 2, dusting 1.

·                 Create partnerships to complete the chores, such as mom/sister make the dinner, dad/other daughter do the dishes.  It is always more fun with a partner.

·                 Set a time everyone does the same task.  Set the kitchen timer, turn on the high energy music, or sing the clean up song. 

·                 Set a standard of completion everyone agrees on.  What does it mean to have the dishes “done” or the laundry “complete”?  Set a time frame for completion. Emptying a dishwasher after the dishes are piled in the sink defeats the purpose. 

·                 Put aside your perfectionism.  Encourage your family to do their best job, even if it is not to your standards, the manner in which you would do it or at the speed you would do it.   

·                 Affirm each family member’s contribution each week.  Praise goes a long way in getting things done.

·                 Create a chores chart and post it in a common space.  It is the chart that reminds the family, rather than the parents.

·                 Incentivize your family’s work.  Incentives can be whatever works for you, but the simpler the better.  

·                 Use this method for every day responsibilities and upcoming family events, including holidays, birthdays and special occasions.

·                 Make it fun!  Everyone wants to work together when the atmosphere is relaxed and happy. 

 

 Great resources are available on www.familymanager.com including lists, charts and more!  How does team work happen in your family?