Whether you’re a long-time remote employee or have just started regular working from home, you’ll know the challenges it entails.
It can be hard to stay focused. Procrastination options are all around. Self-discipline can feel like it’s in short supply.
But one proven technique to boost productivity is good old decluttering. And it’s easier to do than you might think, provided you’ve got the right tools — and attitude!
Step 1: Break the Project Down
Project management and decluttering start with the same step: breaking the job into small chunks. In terms of tidying up your home office, that means dividing the office into sections such as desk, cabinets, drawers and shelves.
The key here is to complete one section before moving on to the next. It will avoid you feeling overwhelmed and boost your confidence that you can get the whole job done.
Step 2: Remove Out-Of-Place Items
Kitchen scissors? Back in the kitchen. TV remote? Back in the living room. Unplugged USB cables? In the right drawer. You get the idea; this step is all about removing the items that inevitably end up in the office after a few days.
Yes, it’s standard tidying up practice, but it also helps you focus on the essentials once everything is organised in the right place.
Step 3: Update Your Storage Options
Clutter happens for two reasons; laziness, and a lack of the right storage options. About the first reason, well, it happens to everyone. But for the second there’s no excuse. All you need is to take a good look at your space and see what is working well and what needs updating such as:
First of all, a little retail therapy has never hurt anyone. What’s more, you get to maximize your workspace by finding the storage options that make the most sense for your home office.
Step 4: Digitize and Discard
Is old paperwork piling up and just gathering dust? It might be working thinking about replacing all these folders with a single external hard drive. If you have a scanner (or even a scanner app on your phone), you could turn all of your documents into digital files.
But what to do with the paperwork once it’s been printed or scanned? Well you could file it in a ring binder and store it in another room. If you are getting rid of important documents, please do check our post on GDPR compliance, where we strongly recommend you use a paper shredder for the task. It will not only make it more efficient but will also help you and your company avoid potential hefty penalties for failing to properly discard paper based or digital data. At Rexel, we have a full range of portable and small paper shredders that are ideal for home offices.
Of course, before you go through any shredding, storing or filing, make sure you have enough digital backups.
Step 5: Stow and Label
Hopefully by now, you should have a clear view of your working area, with minimum distractions and less or no clutter. But if you are worried about filing and quick access to important sections, don’t forget to label your storage options before hiding them from sight.
Step 6: Think Beyond the Office
If you’ve managed to declutter your home office - congratulations! But the clutter will come from other sources, which is to say, you can also upgrade storage options around the whole home to ensure it doesn’t happen. So how about adding a new waste bin in the living room, or shelves in the hallway to put things away temporarily before you get to work?
Step 7: Keep at It!
One of the hardest things about decluttering is that it’s a non-stop battle. So, your goal at this stage is to come up with strategies to ensure you don’t fall back into bad old habits. Just don’t beat yourself up if it happens too often and go back to this list whenever you feel like you need to clear your office and headspace!