Office organization is challenging, especially when you work from home. But by developing a few routines, you can create a clutter-free work space and ensure that it stays organized. Today, I’m walking you through the 3 essential routines for home office organization and the steps required to start implementing them right away!
3 Essential Routines for Home Office Organization
Routines are an important strategy in a business owner’s toolbox.
They can help you to:
- Automate regularly occurring tasks
- Do what must be done without the internal fighting that creates added stress and frustration
- Feel calm and in control of your time
The routines in today’s post will help you to create a clutter-free work space and help you to KEEP it that way. That’s the real trick, right?!
Read on to learn more about the 3 essential routines for home office organization and the steps you can take today to start implementing them.
#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 office inbox system isn’t having one. It’s managing it!
You have to create a regular routine for emptying, filing, acting on, or recording the items in your inbox. Otherwise, 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. To get your home office inbox set up in minutes, check out this post: 5 Easy Ways to Set Up a Home Office Inbox.
- Choose a time to maintain your inbox, set an alarm to remind you, and DO IT!
I like to use a Tickler File in addition to my office inbox. You can learn more in this post: Get Organized with a Tickler File!
#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).
- 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!
- If you have a lot of papers to file when you first implement this routine, set a timer for 15 minutes and file until the timer goes off. Then repeat the 15-minute time block the next day or week.
- Maintain your system by filing all items daily or weekly!
For more tips on managing paper clutter, check out this post: Eliminate Paper Clutter for Good!
#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’ll 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 on your master task list.
As you develop this routine, feel free to tweak it and make it your own!
- 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.
To learn more about how I prepare for the week on Sunday, check out this post: 6 Things To Do on Sunday for the Best Work Week Ever!
It’s tough to work from home and stay organized. But by creating routines for paper and task management and controlling the information coming into your busy home office, you’ll be able to organize your home office, keep it that way, and enjoy a clutter-free work space!
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
- 5 Essential Morning Routine Elements
- How to Write a Better To-Do List and Actually Get Your To-Do’s Done
Thanks for joining me today!
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