So, it is the end of December, 2019 is almost over and you have updated your business plan and goals for your business for the new year! Absolutely brilliant (if you haven’t set your goals for 2020 yet, have a read of my blog How and why to set goals for your business )!
However, the run up to Christmas has been manic and your home office is in a bit of a state! Not to worry, today I will share a few tips and simple ways to declutter your office in just one day so you will be ready in January to hit those goals!
Why is it important to declutter?
Why is it important to have a tidy office? Because it saves you time, and time is money as we all know! And on top of that nobody likes a messy office, it can cause stress and anxiety. When we have an untidy office and things are out of place it is difficult to concentrate and to get work done as you will feel like tidying up while you should really be working.
I am not sure about you but in my office everything has a place as I can’t stand having mess around me and hate having to look for things. I work best at a clear and tidy desk with a to-do list – I assume I am not the only one! I have several to do lists on Trello and a paper one – don’t ask me why, this seems to work for me!
Simple tips to declutter
So, let’s start decluttering your office with these easy peasy tips:
- The desk area
This is the most important area of your office as it is where you spend most of your time and it is the place where you need to have all your stationary within reach but not cluttered all over the place.
Items you find here are your computer, mouse, speakers and stationary. If you have a stand-alone computer make sure you have all your cables tidy. There is nothing worse than having lots of cables on your desk which get tangled up with your paperwork. If you have a laptop, it is slightly easier as you only have one cable, which is the power cable. I work on a laptop as I like to switch from my desk to my sofa, to my dining table. On my desk I have got my power cable positioned to the side of my desk so I can get to it easily but it is not running over my desk.
With regards to stationary, make sure you store your pens, pencils, scissors, paperclips, tape, pins, postitts and everything else you need in a pencil pot. I found a great cardboard one in Ikea, which can also store little notebooks. It is so simple but so effective. And environmentally friendly as it is made out of cardboard so should I want to change it, it is no biggie!
And last but not least make sure you have a bin under your desk! I scribble lots on bits of paper, post-itts etc while I am working as I constantly have things popping into my head, I am a bit weird like that! At first I did not have a bin and would throw the bits of paper over my head behind me once the task was executed! I would then have to tidy it all up at the end of the day! My husband kindly gave me a bin…..much easier!
Paperwork can be a bit of a hassle, whether it is actual paperwork or documents on your computer, as it can pile up quickly. The way to deal with it is to have folders for each of your clients and areas of work. Now we all know that filing paperwork immediately is not always possible either because they are active files (you are still working on them) or because you haven’t got time to file them and that is fine! For your actual paperwork you can have trays on your desk/bookcase and for your digital paperwork you can set up working folders in which you temporarily store your active documents. Of course you do need to make sure to set aside time at the end of the week to then file everything away properly in the correct folders.
Nowadays we are working more and more paperless, which is great, but it also means that our computers store a lot of information and can get slower over time. If this happens you need to set time aside to clean up your computer. Make sure you only keep the documents you really need. This also counts for photos. And make sure you store as much as possible in the cloud by using Dropbox or Icloud for example. This way your computer doesn’t get clogged up but it also means your documents are backed up should your computer crash. Quite important!
- Receipts and invoices
Of course I do not have to tell you that for tax purposes you need to keep hold of all your receipts and invoices. Again a good folder system works miracles. Nowadays billing is more and more digital so I have set up folders on my computer for invoices received, invoices paid, invoices sent out. This way I keep track of what payments I have made and which payments I have received.
- Planners, notebooks etc
I am very careful with throwing out old planners, notebooks etc as I have found in the past that I have needed them for one thing or another. I keep a shelf in my bookcase specifically for them.
So all in all not too complicated but keeping your office decluttered takes dedication! You need to make sure you set aside time each week, I do it at the end of the week, to tidy your desk, file all your paperwork and have your to-do list ready for the next week. This way it won’t get in the way of you getting your work done and growing your business!
Good luck and let me know how you get on in the comment box!