While the end of the year is always a bit of a mad dash towards the Christmas break and things tend to get a little crazy, I always like to start the new year feeling like I’m on top of things and my home is in order.
So during my break, I decided to tackle organising my home office because, for some reason, it tends to be the one room that ends up as the ‘dumping ground’ for the things we’re not quite sure what to do with or that we procrastinate in dealing with later.
Admittedly, it took me a good few hours over the course of a few days to create the clean and welcoming space I need to work and as a freelancer, it meant starting off the New Year on the right foot.
Today, I want to talk about creating your perfect workspace. Obviously, not everyone is going to have a fully dedicated office space but my tips today will apply to any area you can carve out for working from home, whether that’s your full-time job, a place you pay your bills or use for research or a spot for the kids to do their homework.
This may seem an obvious place to start but it’s certainly worth mentioning. Being able to see what you are working on without having to strain your eyes means your body and mind can function well and concentrate on the work that you are doing. If you have the benefit of being able to choose from a few different areas to create your work zone, always go for the spot that gets the most natural light. Sunlight contains vitamin D and can raise your serotonin levels, keeping you motivated and your concentration levels high.
Even if the area you have deemed your workspace doesn’t allow for that much natural light, consider including ambient (general overhead) lighting as well as task lighting in the form of a good directional desk lamp to shine as much light as possible on your working station.
With everything from paperwork, invoices and bills to receipts and tax forms cluttering up your workspace, you may find it more difficult to work efficiently so having adequate storage is paramount to an organised workspace.
Don’t fall into the trap, however, of constantly buying more and more storage. De-cluttering is an important aspect of any storage system so make sure you are clearing out those things you don’t need to keep before purchasing more. Consider scanning any important documents and then backing them up in a Cloud for safe keeping rather than holding on to paper documents.
If you work in an industry where you need more than just a computer to do your job, make sure you include plenty of the right kind of storage to house your supplies. Use the vertical spaces in your area as well by installing shelving so that you are not using up valuable floor space.
A trip to a stationery supply store may be required to ensure you have the correct folders, boxes, shelving and cabinets dedicated to these things when planning your office space.
Planners and Diaries
I use a physical weekly diary as well as an online calendar and a supply of some small notebooks to keep track of my important tasks for the day, week and month as well as for ideas I might want to come back to later.
It will probably take a little trial and error to find the system that works best for how you work but there are plenty of online resources and stationery suppliers that will assist you to make the mess of information in your head much easier to categorise and keep on top of!
Room to Work
You may just have an alcove in the living room or you may have an entire room dedicated to your home office but whatever space you have to work with, make sure you have enough room to get your work done. Being cramped in a tiny corner of the bedroom might be a necessity but this will also mean being organised is vitally important. Make sure you have enough space around you to comfortably use a laptop, keyboard and mouse and a spot to write things down as well. Keep your desk as tidy as you can with file boxes or wall files. Clear the space and clear your head!
Comfort is Key
If your desk chair isn’t providing you with the correct support for your back and legs, it can lead to physical problems down the road. Sitting for long periods of time, you’ll need proper lumbar support so be sure to choose a chair that’s up to the job. No matter what the style of chair you have, taking breaks and stretching your legs every hour is always a good idea.
One of the nicest things for me about working from home is that I’m not stuck in a boring cubicle devoid of any personality. Incorporating your own personal style into your office space isn’t something you have to do but you probably should. Be sure to blend your home office into the style of your home with decorative objects and mementos, a few plants or flowers, and breathe some life into your space. Mood boards can be fun if you are in a creative industry by inspiring you when you hit those inevitable blocks and can be personalised any way you like.
So, those are all the elements that make up my own perfectly organised home office. What would be in your home office and how do you keep yourself organised?
Kimberly Duran is an award-winning interior design blogger who chronicles her decorating journey in her blog, Swoon Worthy. Her style is unashamedly eclectic, bohemian and glamorous and when she's not helplessly drooling over design websites and adding things to the imaginary 'shopping basket' in her head, she likes to get messy tackling DIY projects, stalking eBay for bargains, taking Instagram pictures of her cats and investing time in her ongoing love affair with gold spray paint.