Today's article is written by Regina Leeds, New York Times best-selling author of "One Year To An Organized Life." I encourage all my readers to grab a copy using the link at the end of this post ;-)
A New Year presents us with fresh opportunities to be better, do more and function in a more productive way. Whether you run a large corporation or simply direct the family’s day-to-day business in your home office, here are ten quick tips to make it a more creative and supportive space this coming year.
Take a look at your office walls...
Is it time for a fresh coat of paint?
Does that old wallpaper beg to be removed?
A dreary atmosphere won’t inspire you to do your best.
What about the window treatments? Is it time for a change? Are the windows clean?
Windows are the ‘eyes’ of the room. Keep them inviting! You’ll want as much natural light as possible to flood the room during the long dark winter to come.
By the way, have you checked the light bulbs in your lamps? This is a great time to do a home inspection of light bulbs, fire and carbon monoxide alarms and the battery in your home alarm system. You can also add any items unique to your situation like a baby monitor.
Do you need a touch of life in the office or have plants overwhelmed the space? What about family photos or a treasured collection?
Your work area in this room should be devoted to the projects you need to accomplish, from bill paying to writing the great American novel. Don’t allow photos, plants or hobby miscellaneous to make it impossible for you to easily accomplish the task at hand.
Could you keep Staples stocked in pens, pencils, highlighters and paper clips?
Very often we buy small items in bulk at the local home store not realizing that we can’t possibly use up these items in our lifetime. Donate them to your child’s school or a favorite non-profit.
If you have a closet in this room, pop a small bookcase in and use the shelves for office supplies. You won’t need all the items you decide to keep on your desk.
Is your desk too small or is it a space hog?
Take advantage of the big home sales this time of year and get the desk that will truly serve you. And what about an ergonomically correct chair?
And while we’re tackling the basics...
Do you have at least one two-drawer file cabinet? Don’t get the cheapest if it means flimsy and soon to disintegrate.
Finally, what about your computer? Is it time to 86 the one you have and start using a laptop to save space and provide mobility? Above all else you need to have a system for back up. You don’t want a mechanical malfunction to rob you of precious data.
Do you keep your printer close to your desk or do you have to walk across the room when you print out a document?
Do you keep paper handy to refill your printer in a flash?
We lose precious time when we don’t set ourselves up to win. Wasted steps squander one of our most precious resources: our time.
Is this home office one with a dual purpose?
The most common combo is a home office and guest room.
Do you have the space appropriately divided for each activity to be performed here? The most common culprit I find with this combo-type is a large bed that’s rarely used but eating up valuable real estate. Why not consider a futon or Murphy bed?
This is a great time of year to clean out your files.
Too often material that should be archived or shredded lingers in a file cabinet for years while the current papers float around the room landing on chairs, couches and window sills in search of a home.
Give your projects the respect they deserve.
Do you have enough bookcases?
Is it time to weed through your collection and perhaps gift the local hospital, assisted living facility or the library with some books so that you have room for the ones you’ll need in the future?
A happy person is always a more productive one.
Is there anything in this room that makes you smile? Do you enjoy being here or do you run out at the least provocation? See if you can identify one element that you could add (or one that you could eliminate!) that would make your heart sing to be in this room.
If Fido and Fifi spend time here with you be sure you see to their comfort. A soft bed and a few toys cost pennies but make our best friends feel appreciated and loved.
Never underestimate the power of a skilled decorator to help you maximize the space in terms of productivity and beauty.
After all, life needs both elements for balance. -- Regina Leeds
* If you need help clearing out your home office or setting up files that work, you’ll find step-by-step instruction in my New York Times best seller, "One Year to an Organized Life." Also, I welcome your questions at my Facebook Page: Regina Leeds, The Zen Organizer.