“The following blog was authored by AOE Marketing Assistant, Bailey Numbers.”
The best way to set yourself up for success while working from home is to get organized. Organizational skills are among the most transferable professional skills, helping you to be successful as a remote worker, back in an office setting and in your personal life. Organizational skills can be defined as “the ability to stay focused on different tasks and use your time, energy and resources effectively.” This is especially helpful when working remotely, where added challenges include a lack of structure, procrastination, overworking, distractions and interruptions. Below are three tips from can get you on the right path to a more organized workday.
#1 Organize your workspace
Design your home office in a way that sets you up for productivity. Pick a spot that’s quiet, ideally with a door that you can close for privacy. Keeping your desk clean and clutter-free is key: after all, a cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind. Arrange your work materials strategically in your home office based on how often you use them. Keep materials needed for current projects readily available on your desk, within arm’s reach. Reference materials you may grab once or twice throughout the day can be placed on a nearby bookcase. Lastly, any archival materials that are not necessary for daily projects should be furthest from your desk, stored somewhere out of the way.
#2 Organize your technology
Technology is vital to getting our work done, but a haphazard technology system can be a hindrance to productivity. The first thing you can do is pare down your devices, making sure the only ones you have on your desk are those you use throughout your workday. Having a central charging station near your desk or somewhere within reach is a great way to maximize efficiency. Next, it might be helpful to store less frequently used technology in one, central location. Take the time to make this as organized as possible: store cables with their corresponding devices so you can easily grab exactly what you need and avoid frustration. Keep an inventory list of all your devices and cables, perhaps with a description or image of each for reference and easy access. Your organization system here should prioritize safety and efficiency: make sure not to overload outlets or use frayed cables but find a system that works best for you.
#3 Organize your time
Perhaps the best thing you can do for your productivity is to organize your time. Set a start time and end time for your workday every day and stick to this schedule. Schedule breaks for yourself throughout the day — these might be more frequent than if you were in the office but breaking up your day will help you be more productive. Use timers to remind yourself to take these breaks. At the start of the day, make a to-do list with all the tasks you want to accomplish throughout the day and do the most difficult tasks first. Finally, create a “distraction battle plan” to combat the added interruptions you face at home. This might include closing your office door; putting on noise-canceling headphones; keeping your phone on silent. Discuss your expectations with family or roommates about interrupting you while in your office.
Putting these tactics in place will help you get organized in your home office and work more efficiently. The best thing you can do is create a plan for getting organized and follow through on it. Be proactive about impending distractions and have a plan of attack. Setting a healthy work-life balance is key: make sure you give yourself breaks and put your work stuff away at the same time every night. Once you get organized, you’ll be amazed at how your remote working productivity soars.
(Credit: New Horizons Computer Learning Center webinar: Organizational Skills when Working from Home)