Do you ever feel like there’s so much to be done and never enough time to do it? Don’t answer that. I know the answer is yes. There’s always something to do isn’t there? If the kids are taken care of, the house is a mess. If I clean my house, I haven’t done anything for work. If I take care of work stuff, who is going to mow the lawn? The list is never ending. And that’s okay. We need to understand that sometimes (most times) we will go to bed at night with an uncompleted to-do list. But if you are looking for a few ways to help yourself be more productive, look no further. I’m going to give you 3 tips to help boost your productivity, focusing mainly on your office or workspace today.
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One of the ways I have found is a huge help in me actually getting things done during the day is to work in a place that is already clean and organized. We are fortunate enough to have an office space in our house. When Dave worked from home and I was a teacher, it belonged to him. I have since taken over the home office for my business since Dave has an office at the church.
As many of you probably find with your home offices or even if you just have a desk or assigned counter space for managing paperwork, etc., it tends to be a place where things just get thrown. Mail, bills, magazines, crafts, school work, half-eaten sandwiches…oh wait, is that just me? Anyway, when you have this kind of a mess waiting for you when you want to start your work, it can be pretty daunting and unmotivating to accomplish anything there. Which brings me to my first productivity tip.
Always start with a clean slate. Your workday is not over until you have a clean desk space for tomorrow.
This is how I was greeted by my desk the other day. Pretty ugly huh? Some of you may be able to relate.
Bills, notes, magazines, flyers- and this isn’t even as bad as it can get. When I was a teacher it was the same way. There were certain teachers that ALWAYS had a clean desk. I told myself, “Well, they just aren’t doing as much work as I am…” And I believed this rationalization for a long time. Until I finally realized that these teachers with the clean desks seemed to get more done, and were out of school quicker than I ever was. They had an efficient workspace, and it saved them hours of time in the long run.
After just a few minutes of cleaning up and putting things where they belong, this was my inspiring workspace.
Everything away in its place. Because I have a working system in this office, it really doesn’t take me long at all to get it this clean. It’s just a matter of me not being lazy about it. Which brings me to tip #2.
2. Have an organizational system to your office space. Have a place for everything and label it so its clear to anyone that may need to find something there.
Something that really helps me organize my papers are these magazine holders from IKEA. I use each one for a different category of paperwork: one for bills, one for church paperwork, Riley’s school handouts and permission slips, Settled In projects I am currently working on, and one for product samples and swatches. I go through each of these bins about once a month and clean out the stuff I don’t need anymore, but mostly, they are a quick place I can throw things and still have them be organized and out of the way.
I also utilize my wall space to help me stay focused and organized. Many of you can use this approach for your offices, even if you are located in a cubicle. I definitely use my marker board the most out of anything in my office. I write on it everyday with my To-Do list. If I’m really good, I’ll write it out the night before so I can start working right away the next day.
If you really want a great organizational tool without the marker board, this Simple Daily Schedule is great for jotting down what you are doing for the day. You can download a free PDF template below and try it for yourself! Try to keep each category filled with no more than three tasks per day. The more you try to do in each day, the less you will actually accomplish. Keep your To Do Lists simple, and you will complete them.
Also on my wall is my bulletin board that holds things I need within reach- stamps, address labels, business cards, and a cute encouraging note from my hubby. Speaking of which, that brings me to tip #3.
3. Keep your office space light and fun. Fresh flowers, a fun sign, inspirational quote, or a family picture within eyesight will help to keep you happy and motivated.
Because I work from home, I usually keep a toy or two in my office to keep Riley occupied while I get a few things done. Her magnadoodle has certainly bought me a fair amount of work time in this room. And the fact that she likes it in here with mama is a good sign that I have a fun and welcoming space. Oh and hey 6-month pregnant Leah!
While there are still a few upgrades I would like to add to this space someday- a comfy chair and ottoman and possibly some wallpaper on an accent wall, I really do love this space I can go and be inspired and productive.
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