Have you ever spent days organizing your home office only to find it cluttered and messy again a few weeks later? It’s so maddening! But there’s a simple solution…or actually 3 of them! In order to maintain your hard-won, clutter-free space you need to develop 3 essential routines for home office organization. Today, I’m talking about those routines and helping you to get started with simple, easy-to-implement action steps!
3 Essential Routines for Home Office Organization
If you’ve spent any time here at Calyx and Corolla, you know that I’m a big proponent of routines. Routines help us to automate regularly occurring tasks, conserve energy and time, manage messes before they begin, and feel a sense of calm control. The 3 routines below are ones that I’ve found the most helpful in maintaining the organization of my home office!
#1 Office Inbox Management
Having an inbox in your home office is an absolute must! With your home office doing double or triple duty, it’s important to have a catch-all filter for incoming items. An office inbox allows you to control the flow of information and papers into your home office, avoid piles taking over your desk, and review all of the information coming into your home office.
But the most important part of your inbox system is management! You have to create a regular routine for emptying, filing, acting on, or recording the items in your inbox, or you’ll fall behind, miss things, and quickly become disorganized.
Your inbox management routine can be as simple as setting aside 5 minutes first thing in the morning to take action on the items in your inbox. Or maybe it’s more convenient for you to take a few minutes at the end of the day. Perhaps the flow of items into your home office is slow enough that you can manage your inbox items once a week, say on Fridays or Mondays.
Take action on the items in your inbox consistently, and you’ll keep your inbox from overflowing, stay ahead of incoming items, and maintain your home office organization!
- Set up a home office inbox, if you don’t already have one. For some inbox inspiration and ways to get your home office inbox set up in minutes, check out THIS post!
- Choose a time to maintain your inbox, set an alarm on your phone and your computer to remind you, and DO IT!
Learn how to eliminate paper clutter for good HERE!
#2 Paper Filing
Just as you need a consistent time to manage your inbox, you need time set aside each day or week to file those papers coming into your home office! Or, if you have a paperless (or mostly paperless) office, this can be your scanning time.
This routine involves sorting and filing papers. Pretty easy, right?! 🙂
Again, the key here is consistency! File (or scan) on a regular basis, so that your filing pile doesn’t start to overflow and migrate to other areas of your home office.
You can also file as you go when it’s convenient. I file as I go when I’m opening mail (at my desk with my filing drawer right next to me) and when I go through my kids’ school papers (I sort those papers next to our keepsakes file box).
I like to use a Tickler File in addition to my office inbox. You can learn more HERE!
- Set up a file drawer or box, if you don’t already have one.
- Choose a time to file each day or week, set an alarm to remind yourself, and DO IT!
- For the first few filing sessions, set a timer for 15 minutes and file until the timer goes off.
- Maintain your system by filing all items daily or weekly!
#3 Task Management
In order to make the most of your valuable work time, it’s imperative to have a routine for managing your tasks. This will include not only writing a to-do list, but also creating and maintaining a master task list, regular brain dumps, and task prioritization.
It sounds like a lot, but once you hone this routine, you will be able to complete it in a few minutes a day. And you’ll always have your tasks prioritized and organized!
Set a timer for 5-15 minutes. Start the timer and write down all of the tasks that you can think of. This is a brain dump, and it’s a great way to clear your mind and get that “fresh slate” feeling. I like to do a brain dump on Sunday evening of each week.
Now, prioritize the tasks you listed during your brain dump, add top priority tasks to your current to-do list, and record any remaining, lower-priority items to your master to-do list.
As you develop this routine, feel free to tweak it and make it your own!
This system is a regular part of my Sunday routine. To learn more about how I prepare on Sundays for the best work week ever, click HERE!
- Complete a brain dump to get all of your tasks on paper and to clear your mind.
- Prioritize your tasks.
- Transfer the highest priority tasks to your to-do list.
- Record all remaining tasks on a master to-do list.
I keep my brain dumps, master to-do list, and daily to-do lists in my bullet journal, so that I always know where to find them! You can read more about this system, and what I learned during my first year of bullet journaling HERE!
By managing the papers and information coming into your busy home office and developing a system for task management, you’ll be able to maintain your home office organization and enjoy a clutter-free work space!
Are you already completing any of these routines? Which one are you going to implement first?
Don’t forget to pin this post, so you have it handy whenever your need to refer to it! Or you can always come back here. 🙂
If you found today’s post helpful, you might also enjoy these related posts:
- How to Build Strong and Lasting Business Routines
- Eliminate Paper Clutter for Good
- 5 Essential Morning Routine Elements
- Kick Your Digital Clutter to the Curb
- How to Write a Better To-Do List and Actually Get Your To-Do’s Done
Thanks for joining me today!