Productive Environment Blog
Start by asking yourself these questions:
Are you sick of continuous paper clutter in your home?
Do you waste time looking for information you or other family members need?
Are you hiding papers at the last minute when you are expecting guests?
Is lack of organization putting a strain on a relationship that is important to you?
Do you feel overwhelmed deciding what papers you should keep?
Have computers made the problem in your home even more overwhelming?
If you answered “Yes” to even one of the above questions, here is something to think about. After 40+ years in thousands of homes across America, it is my conclusion that in our increasingly complex world, it is simply impossible to have an organized home without an office for “the business of life.” It is also my experience that the number one organizing challenge in every household is paper!
A home office is a “command central” for your home, your family -- your life! It does NOT require a separate room, or even a large space – just the right tools to suit your unique situation, your family, and your personal style.
Here are some tips to help you begin:
Choose a place you like to be for the activities you do in that space – e.g., pay bills, research the Internet, write thank you notes, manage your schedule, etc.
Make sure you are physically comfortable – comfortable chair, proper lighting, etc. (One client discovered that having music at her workspace was magic!)
“Today’s mail is tomorrow’s pile.” Clear your workspace of everything and start over with a new system. Then you can incorporate the old papers as you need them – or eventually, they will be old enough it will be easy to toss them!
Make sure you have all the tools you need. Start with what we call The Magic 6™:
Desktop Organizers - “In” for papers you have not yet sorted; “Out” for papers that need to go elsewhere; “File” for papers you need to file outside the reach of where you sit.
Wastebasket/Recycle Bin/Shredder - One of the best ways to keep paper at a minimum is to make it easy to get rid of it. Continually ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that would happen if I didn’t keep this?”
Calendar/Time Planner - Don’t assume that electronic is the solution, but don’t rule it out either! Talk to others about what they like and why.
Contact Management System – much clutter comes from business cards and scraps of paper with contact information you want to keep.
Action Files - These are physical files that contain papers that require your action or supervision.
Reference Files - These are physical files for papers you want to keep for everything from consumer information to your passport. If your office space is small, they may be located in another room.
“A place for everything and everything in its place” – forget it! Life is messy, but do set aside a specific time each week to clear your desk totally and get everything back into your system. An organized home office will make a decided difference in your ability to create and sustain a productive environment in your home, so everyone in it can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives!
In 1978, Barbara took out a $7 ad in a New York City newspaper to advertise her professional organizer business. For 20 years, she focused her business on organizing paper and physical clutter for home offices and organizations. Then the Internet Age came about, and she utilized her principles and expertise to help clients with digital clutter. Over the past 40+ years Barbara has helped 1000's of companies, and became an icon and top expert in the industry. She has been featured on national media platforms such as Good Morning America, The Today Show and CNN Nightly News. She has also been showcased in publications including USA Today, New York Times, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple and Guideposts. Barbara and her team teach business owners a 9-step system to go from overwhelmed to optimized. Step 1 is a free Assessment that can be found at www.ProductiveEnvironmentScore.com.
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