Read these 7 Home Office Philosophy Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Office tips and hundreds of other topics.
Is your current filing system a mess of papers covering the surface of your desk? If so, you likely can't find anything quickly and efficiently when you need it. Set up a workable filing system for yourself by sitting down on the floor of your office and sorting those papers into piles. Identify your own unique situation: what subjects are you dealing with on a regular basis? Most likely your filing system will be broken into finances, projects, correspondence, and research. Identify and title your bills by vendor, name your projects and research topics and separate your correspondence into two groups: business and personal. Depending on the volume of paperwork you handle, you may set up a small plastic filing box or a cabinet. You'll need hanging file folders to place your files in: they space out your files in the cabinet and allow the files to slide on the metal frame inside the cabinet. If your cabinet didn't come with these already, you may need to buy these too. You will find everything you need in the stationery section of your local store. If you're using paper file trays on your desk, get some sticky labels and label them "In" and "Out". The 'In' file is for your mail and items you have yet to take action on. The 'Out' file is for paperwork you've taken action on and need to file away in your permanent filing system, as well as any correspondence or bills that are ready to go into the mail. With these features set up, you are going to find your paperwork system is one that supports you, rather than frustrates you!
Working alone has its drawbacks, but times are changing, and it's actually safer working at home, in several ways. Tom Peters hammers on the theme that as many as 90% of all white collar jobs will be drastically changed or eliminated by 2010. As a home-office worker, you will have the time and the opportunity to build "job" security by networking, by working with a variety of diverse clients, and having the ability to move on to the next assignment more easily.
Do you know what your clients think about your business? The idea that you should consider yourself to be a one-person "Professional Services" firm has taken root now, thanks to the writings of Tom Peters and others. Professional Service firms survive by providing superior customer service. How do you know if the service you are providing is superior? Ask your clients!
Tom Peters has his finger on the pulse of today's business environment. When I was planning my business, getting started, and now after five years, Tom Peters continues to offer some of the most timely, practical advice available. He has a number of books available, but his work is also available (freely) at www.tompeters.com, and other sources.
Are you getting those warnings in your inbox that say you are nearly over your storage quota? It is time for you to clean out your email box! If you keep up on this regularly, you will find it much easier than trying to slog through a backlog of months worth of emails. If you find you have let it go too long and it is an overwhelming task, do it in sections by spending 10 minutes a day on it until it is caught up. It will help you to set up files within your email box, but only if you clean these out regularly also. Remember: your filing system is only as good as it is organized and up-to-date. Get into the habit of deleting emails immediately after taking action on them. Set up a '6 Months' archive to store the 'keepers' in and then delete everything you've been holding onto every six months. If it's really important to keep, print out a paper copy to file in your paper document system and then delete the electronic file. Note: check your 'sent' folder regularly, and delete everything in there you don't need. This can eat up your quote dramatically with messages you don't even care to store.
An office is meant to be the hub of your ambitious life. If you are going to accomplish your business and career goals, you need an organized center from which to operate. The key elements you need to have in place for a functioning home office are: communication tools (phone/fax, computer with high speed internet hookup, portable cell phone, pens, paper), document filing system (paper and electronic), calendar. I prefer a large, visible calendar on the wall of my office, and a smaller notebook-style calendar that fits in my purse. Some people like to use an electronic organizer, especially if they are coordinating their schedule with a personal assistant at their business office who is using a software calendar. But for a home office without a personal assistant, a white board on the wall works great, along with a hand-held notebook you can jot (and erase) appointments in when you are out. It is also helpful to have a couple of desk-top trays, where you can place papers prior to filing, so that the surface of your desk does not get cluttered. With these basic tools in place, you are ready to begin working seamlessly from home.