Powerful Tips for Home Offices That Will Drastically Increase Work Flow
If you work from home then you will probably be familiar with what a struggle it is constantly to remain productive and to get work done when you’re surrounded by distractions. When your work environment is the same as your home environment either all the time or sometimes, it’s far too easy to make excuses to pop to the kitchen or to pick up that tempting book lying on the coffee table and these things can actually destroy our productivity.
Another problem is that home offices are designed and maintained by us. There’s no boss telling us to keep our desk tidy and no HR team to advise us on the best posture or the best point in the room for enhancing productivity. Below are some fixes that can help you stay on task.
Having papers everywhere is a problem that affects not just home workers but pretty much everyone else too. The first solution to this issue is to get paper trays which allow you to quickly and easily ‘dump’ your papers out the way so they at least aren’t making mess.
Here you’re going to have two trays with maybe a third one. One will be your ‘working memory’ and one will be your ‘short term memory’. Anything that you’re done with but not ready to get rid of will go in your ‘short term memory’, whereas anything that you’re currently still working with or that you’ll be able to throw away later will go in your ‘working memory’. At a predefined time every day/week/month you’ll then sort through the trays and move anything from the short-term memory tray into a filing cabinet – your ‘long term memory’. This mimics the way the human brain stores information and it makes it much easier to keep on top of everything.
Portable scanners are scanners that can take paper through a feed in a similar manner to a printer. Some of these can even take multiple sheets of paper at once and this actually makes it much easier to quickly scan reams of documents, while OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software will automatically catalogue and organize them. This allows you to get rid of an awful lot of paper and to thereby create far less paper for yourself. Likewise you should of course go paperless with your bills, statements and everything else you can.
My all in one printer actually serves as my scanner also. (its a wirieless HP OfficeJet Pro 6978)
I’ve found that turning my normally printable files into pdfs works well for me and I can file them in my Dropbox storage in the Cloud. When I pay my taxes and register my vehicle online I save the receipts as pdfs and file them online. This is easy to do as my computer has a “print to pdf” option and that pdf I file online in my cloud storage.
Here are some cool paper scanners you might consider.
So what is a “desk toy”? This is what wikipedia says:
An office toy (sometimes called an executive toy or desk toy) is a novelty item typically placed on the desk of a corporate executive or other office worker. They have no work-related function, but are often intended to provide decoration or pleasure, relieve stress or inspire creativity.
If you do struggle with procrastination,then a desk toy can go a long way to help. This can include things like small rakes and sand pits, or like cat’s cradles. The reason these work well is that they provide work for idle thumbs but aren’t nearly as engaging as a mobile phone. In other words, you can play with these little toys while your computer loads and not risk getting ‘sucked in’. They also add to that business feel and make your home office feel more like a real place of work.
Here are some cool “desk toys”
- Make Your Office Color a soothing one. Green is a great color for an office (my own office is painted green)
- Pick a room with a window. You can put bird feeders, bird houses, a fountain or plants outside the window so you have something not too distracting to look at
- Keep a few distractions handy. Like a book, a game app, a musical instrument so you can take a nice break every now and then.
- Choose a chair that is comfortable and make sure your computer screen and keyboard is at the right height (some people enjoy a standing height desktop (not me because I’m in a wheelchair that has a soft cushion in it).
- Be sure and de-clutter frequently (I tend to keep too much “junk” around) so de-cluttering is a real need for me. A neat and well organized office space is fun to work in and certainly makes it easier to work.
- Take breaks for your eyes. Every 20 minutes stop working and stare at something further way (I like to look out the window to my right and check out the bird feeder and birdhouse and bath.
- Make a TODO list daily. This will help you keep on track and its very satisfying to cross off a task.
- Consider getting dressed like you were going to a regular job. It will make you feel more professional and also you are ready if you need to make a video call or someone knocks on your door. (I consider doing that but often wear my lounging clothes for comfort so I fail this regularly).
- Act like you are going to work (get dressed, make coffee, set your computer up for working – create a work toolbar and a home toolbar on your browsers)
- Start work early and get a lot done before the family or spouse is up and about. This helps when you have children in the home too.
- Set up your daily work schedule (what times to start different tasks, when to take a break or lunch and when to return to your home office to work some more.)
- Try to avoid social media by logging out of every social media account, hiding the icons so they are not at your fingertips.
- Save phone calls for the afternoon to give you more time when productivity is at its peak.
- If you have children, schedule work time around their naps and before and after bedtimes.
- Use doing laundry as a work timer. Complete a task when laundry is in the washer and do another task when it is in dryer.
- Pick some different music to play (some w/o lyrics so you will not be tempted to sing along)
I hope some of these suggestions will help you be more productive in working at home.
I’d love to have your comments or questions, leave yours below -Shirley
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