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Over the weekend I was sorting through documents, filing and doing other assorted clean up in my home office.  Having teleworked for over 10 years I have discovered that when you work from home your home office can sometimes become a bit of a catch-all for lots of things.  For example, why is a huge box of trash bags sitting in my office?  I must have been in a hurry because usually I only keep a small stash in my desk drawer, never the whole box.  I also have a laser printer box that needs to be returned for recycling that’s been been sitting around taking up space for way too long.

Regardless of whether you work from home, telework or have set aside dedicated office space in your home there are always things to improve upon. Your space may be huge or it may be a tiny closet or nook you’ve converted into an office.  The size of your space really doesn’t matter as long as you personalize your office and make it an efficient reflection of you.

Here is a peek at things I’ve improved upon recently, and over the years, with these six tips.

1.  Make your office work for you.  I use a huge monitor for work that takes up an awful lot of space on my desk (which isn’t the biggest to begin with). Because of that I had my printer positioned under my desk on a small low table. Its worked well for me but my leg always hits the table, its hard to add paper or a cartridge at that angle, and I have to always bend down to pick up printed documents.  I finally decided this weekend to reposition my printer on my desk. Now I can easily get to the printer and adding a new toner cartridge or paper will no longer be a big hassle.  Life is so much easier.  Wonder why I never thought to do this before?

2.  Get serious about lighting.  Last year I started needing to wear my cute computer bifocals most of the day for work.  As a result, I really started paying attention to the lighting in my office.  Especially when I’m working late.  About a year ago, I added extra lighting including a floor lamp and a desk lamp and the difference has been noticeable.  Remember to take occasional breaks from your computer screen to give your eyes a rest.  I take mine by staring out the window enjoying nature!

3.  Sit properly.  A good chair is the best investment you can make for your home office. In your actual work office, you have to accept whatever piece of a chair they toss your way.  In your personal home office you get to choose how you sit and on what. Look for an ergonomically designed chair that supports your bottom and back with adjustable seating.  Your spine will definitely thank you.  Or you may decide to sit on an exercise ball for core and spine stabilization.  Sitting all day is not good for you so be certain to stand every now and again to get up and move around to keep the circulation flowing!

4.  Keep it clean.  I believe organization keeps you productive.  I love a clean desk.  It may look sloppy while I’m working during the day but at the end of the day I always make it tidy.  That’s one thing I pride myself on. However, I am a piler.  And although things on my desk may be clean and neat the pile on the floor next to my desk consists of things to sort, file, or address in some manner. I had a basket that I wasn’t using and now I use that to “store” my items that need attention.  I’m using an accordion folder to keep everything in the basket.  I’m not sure if this is the end goal but for now it is working to keep my “pile” contained in a pretty basket.

5.  Repurpose items.  I have a beautiful decorative tray that belonged to my parents and is very sentimental to me.  I wasn’t using it and decided to make it a part of my home office.  I relocated the low table that previously housed my printer and the tray now sits on the low table.  I have a decorative container on the tray, a small framed photo, decorative note paper, a nice writing pen, and a journal.  It helps make my home office space interesting and it is a place of peaceful inspiration to look at when the workday becomes stressful.  I’ll pick up my journal to jot down things I’m grateful for, thoughts, plans, etc.  I believe a nice aesthetic is essential in every interior space; however, you don’t want your office space to look too cozy even if it is in your home.  A few personal items is all you need.

6.  Tag the cable.  For years I always struggled to figure out which cable belonged to my work laptop.  Every time I needed to go into the office I would crawl under my desk and half the time I would pull the wrong cable.  So frustrating!  I finally found a solution that works for me.  I tied several rounds of a colored ribbon around the cord.  It’s about 3″ of ribbon so I no longer miss identifying this cable!  Now when I need to unplug to pack up my work laptop for my in-the-office days I always pull the right cord.

What tips have you discovered to make your home office space work for you?

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