Ideas by Vanessa Hayes
More and more people establish their home, or business at home.
With the help of the Internet, people can take their work everywhere. So why not at home where it is convenient and economic too?
It is a usual problem not to have an extra room to establish your home office.
In your home you can find many places to put it. Do you have an attic that right now is full with things you have gathered over the years but haven’t been used for many years? Well its time to go through the ones you don’t need and create your home office under the attic window. Don’t have an attic? How about the end of the upper stairs? How about a small place in your sunroom?
You still didn’t find a place? How about build an office in your closet, for a hidden office area? 

On the surface, working in a traditional job and working from home can seem totally different. In actuality, there are several similarities, especially when it comes to organization and productivity. If you have a home-based business or are thinking of starting one, check out these tips on how to organize it and be more productive:
Design your home-based office with efficiency in mind. Have a clean office desk with enough space to hold a computer, work phone, in/out box or action file and room to write or work. Additionally, keep items you use on a daily basis within arms reach of your work area such as client files or reference binders.  Less frequently used items can be stored in other file cabinets or closets that are further away from you desk or office. If you are constantly getting up to get an item then you are wasting time and potentially running the risk of getting distracted.  Click here for more information on how to organize your office desk.

Have you lost important contact information? Can’t find your contracts? Overwhelmed with all the incoming paper?
Running a small business or working from home can be very frustrating. You be constantly meeting new people and receiving information about different services and products. Do you have a system for your paperwork?
Here are a few organizing tips on keeping your office running smoothly:
  1. Everything needs a home!
  2. Create a “mail station”: a place for Read, Pay, Take Action and close to File, Shred & Trash. Also stock address labels, stamps and letter opener. This is the only place you should open the mail daily.
  3. Keep overstock office supplies in a separate location.
  4. Keep desk clear except for the ONE task you are currently working on.
  5. If more than one person used the office it is important to label everything.
  6. When you meet someone write on the back of their business card; where and when. Contact them within 48 hours.

After all, that’s one of the perks about having a home-based business.  But at least make the effort to get showered and cleaned up to allow you a fresh start to the working day.
Keep business and personal records separated. A lot of home-based businesses are also used as regular home offices where family information, calendars and schedules are maintained.  If that’s the case, I highly recommend you keep files separated in either different drawers or filing cabinets.  You don’t want to run the risk of losing or mixing client and other business documents with your personal ones.
Consider having separate home and business phone numbers with separate voicemail messages. You can do this in a number of different ways by getting multiple landlines, cell phones or a combination of each.  Or you could do like I did and have both business and personal calls directed to the same phone.  I have a Google Voice number set up as my business number that directs calls and messages to my personal phone. What’s nice about this is that I can record a separate business voicemail for my clients and colleagues if I can’t answer and it will send a notification to my email account of any missed calls or messages.
Establish rules with your family members. If your family members are at home while you are working, be sure to lay down the law for them not to bother you unless it’s for an emergency.  You may have to spell out exactly what that means but try this…”If it’s something you wouldn’t call me about if I were at another office, then it’s probably not something you need to bother me about at home.”  Or, “Pretend you are in school. Would you be able to talk to me while you are in class?”  Of course this only works for older, more self-sufficient children (and spouses) but what about younger children? Daycare…preschool…or beg for your family to help!  Believe me…it is near impossible to concentrate with little toddlers running around asking for a toy, snack or drink every 10 minutes!

Ok. So you are still drowning in work…consider hiring a virtual assistant if you’re having trouble keeping up with the day-to-day administrative tasks. Virtual assistants (VAs) are becoming increasingly popular and are reasonably affordable.  Do an Internet search to find one that can suit your needs.
Set a quitting time. I still find this hard to do, but the point here is to get into a normal work routine with a regular start and finish time everyday so that you can spend quality time with your family and friends or focus on other priorities in your life.  Yes there will be times where you’ll have to get back on the computer after the kids have gone to bed but try not to make it a habit.

Organizing is a skill that can be learned. Most of all you have to be willing to change your habits. If you get organized but don’t change how you do things then you will soon find yourself in the same place. If you have a leaky faucet you call a plumber and if you can’t find your “stuff” then you call a Professional Organizer to create custom systems for your needs

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