When you work from home, you face the added responsibilities of establishing your own workspace, balancing your family members’ schedules, and maintaining your career focus in a home environment. Of course, there are perks too. You have far more flexibility and control, and you can be available for those all-important family matters. But for all these perks and responsibilities, organization is key.
Establish your home office
Create a space in which you can be your most productive self, complete with storage solutions and an enabling ‘fengshui’ (the Chinese practice of harmonizing with your environment). Draw in natural light instead of opting for overhead artificial light that pools in one area and zaps your energy. Add some foliage to purify the air while inspiring creativity. And finally, decide whether or not your office will be a childfree zone, and make alterations with your child’s safety in mind.
Outsource your workload
You can outsource some of your tasks for next to nothing these days. With delivery services and smart devices, you can save loads of time. Amazon, as well as many grocery stores, offers online shopping that will deliver groceries right to your door. Smart devices like climate control systems allow you to adjust settings from your smart phone and can help you save on your energy bills. You can even find babysitters, pet sitters, and other domestic help on websites like Care.
Automate your systems
With today’s technology, you can now automate tasks that otherwise might require extra hours each month. Bill paying is a great example, as you can easily automate your payments with online banking services. These services may also include budgeting tools like Intuit’s Mint, which allows you to track and categorize various expenses. Communication is another realm that you can automate, from social media to email, depending on your needs. To add another level of organization to your communication strategy, come up with a quarterly schedule that outlines when email blasts or social media posts are scheduled to go out. Then prepare the content on a weekly basis.
Manage your time
While your schedule may be more flexible when you work from home, you should still strive to maintain somewhat regular distraction-free hours. If you have children who attend school full-time, you will have a window until mid afternoon to get a lot done. If you choose to work later in the day, let your kids know that you need their help in maintaining a work-friendly environment by encouraging them not to interrupt unless there’s an emergency.
Problems are bound to arise if you divide your focus. Organization levels will drop, and you may find that you’ve inadvertently overlapped parts of different tasks. Make a reasonable list of the tasks you want to accomplish on a given day, in order of priority, and then tackle them one at a time.
Make it a clutter-free zone
Organization’s antithesis, clutter can really reduce your daily accomplishments. With a messy desk, papers or notes can easily be lost. With a messy room, your distraction veers to the piles awaiting disassembly. Or worse yet, the mess might deter clients from working with you. Take the time at the end of each workday to tidy your space.
As you go about mastering your organizational techniques, don’t forget to factor yourself in. Part of keeping organized is self-care. Without it, the systems you’ve got in place may lose optimization as your energy levels deplete. To make yourself a priority, be sure to take breaks, observe weekends, and unplug at the end of a workday.