Office clutter is not only annoying, it can also sap your passion for your business and interfere with your business building time. Discover my favorite clutter-busting tool for the home office and kick office clutter to the curb!
My Favorite Home Office Clutter-Busting Tool
Nothing will kill your business building excitement (or productivity) more quickly than office clutter!
Think about the times you tried to work in a messy office or sat down at a cluttered desk….
Hello, instant overwhelm!
But there’s help in the form of an easy to set up, simple to use tool: the office inbox!
Today I’m sharing all about my favorite home office clutter-busting tool: why you need an office inbox, how to set one up in minutes, and how to establish a simple inbox management routine that will make this tool work wonders for you.
Let’s get started!
Why You Need an Office Inbox
In case you aren’t completely convinced that an office inbox is THE tool you need to conquer clutter, here’s more about why I love this tool and why you need one. Like right now.
Your office inbox is the catch-all filter for any paper item entering your office. Imagine it like a net surrounding your workspace or covering your office entrance. It will keep paper piles off your desk and control the flow of information into your office, so you stop missing things (business, family, and household).
No more searching for the business card of that potential client you met last week.
No more rummaging through paper piles for your child’s field trip permission form.
And say buh-bye to tearing apart your office to find that bill that’s due TODAY!
Convinced of the amazing clutter-busting benefits of the office inbox?
Awesome! Now, talk about how easy it is to set up.
The Office Inbox: Easy to Set Up and Affordable
You can set up an office inbox for FREE with items you have laying around your house right now!
Anything that will hold standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper can work for an inbox:
- Empty Boxes
- Empty Baskets or Bins
- Magazine Sorters
- Horizontal or Vertical Organizers
Put it on the corner of your desk and tell your family and team members that anything they need you to see goes in your inbox: school papers, pay stubs, unopened mail, party invites, etc.
See? I told you it was easy!
For more free and inexpensive ways to set up an office inbox, check out this post: 5 Easy Ways to Set Up an Office Inbox.
Before we start happy dancing, there’s one more vital piece to this tool…..
Setting up your office inbox isn’t the most important part of this clutter-busting office tool. The most crucial part of using this tool is your inbox management routine!
The Office Inbox Management Routine
If you don’t create an inbox management routine, items will pile up in your inbox, you’ll never see them or move them through the steps they require, you’ll miss deadlines, and feel just as stressed as you did without an inbox. Eventually, the items in your inbox will start overflowing onto your desk and throughout your office, which defeats the clutter-busting purpose of this tool.
So, to make this tool work for you, you must establish an office inbox management routine.
But it’s not as time or energy-intensive as it sounds!
An office inbox management routine is simple and time-effective when done on a daily basis. It requires emptying your inbox and acting on, recording, or filing the items in it.
Let’s walk through the steps in the office inbox management routine.
Step #1: Choose a Time to Consistently Empty Your Inbox
Choose a time to process the items in your inbox. Make sure it’s a time that works for you!
You could manage your inbox:
- At the beginning of the day
- At the end of the day
- Right after lunch
- Or any other time during the day or during your work time that is convenient for you
The crucial piece here is that you choose a time and STICK WITH IT!
Think about your work day and decide what timing will be best for you. Pick one time and stick to it for a couple of weeks or a month. Then you can tweak the timing, if needed.
Set an alarm on your phone, a reminder on your computer, write yourself a reminder note and stick it where you’ll see it at the appropriate time. Make sure you can’t miss your inbox management time block!
Now, that you have a regular time each day to clean out your inbox, let’s talk about how to actually process the items in your inbox.
Step #2: Process the Items in Your Inbox
Processing the items in your inbox isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
You’re going to pick up the first item in your inbox and “process” it by completing the tasks the item requires.
For example, if the first item I pick up is the business card of a potential client, I might add calling that potential client to my to-do list and input the contact information into my client management software or contacts app.
If the first item in my inbox is a piece of unopened mail, I’ll open it then decide what to do next. If the item is a bill, I’ll either pay it or file it in my financial binder so I see it on pay day. If it’s junk, I’ll shred it.
Let’s say the first item I pick up is a field trip permission form. I’ll sign it, record the date of the trip on my calendar, make a copy of the form (if necessary), give it to my child, and WATCH my child put it in his or her backpack.
If you have time to go through all the steps required to completely process an item, do it!
If not, you can add the actions required to your task list, then file the item in a general task file, an action file, or tickler file.
Learn more about how to use action files and tickler files in these posts:
- How to Use Action Files to Manage Your To-Do’s
- Get Organized with a Tickler File
- 4 Simple Ways to Organize Your Life with a Tickler File
If you complete this office inbox management routine daily, it should take less than 15 minutes, and you’ll be able to say “buh-bye!” to office clutter for good!
My Favorite Home Office Clutter-Busting Tool
Setting up an office inbox will help you to keep paper piles and clutter off your desk and to control the flow of information into your office, so you stop missing things (business, family, and household). It will also make your business building time more productive.
An office inbox is easy to set up, simple to use, and it will make busting office clutter a breeze!
If you found today’s post helpful, you might enjoy these related posts:
- 3 Essential Routines for Home Office Organization
- 5-Minute Organization Hacks for Your Office
- 8 Steps to an Organized Home Office
- How to Write a Better To-Do List and Actually Get Your To-Do’s Done
What tools have you found helpful in the battle against home office clutter?
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