5 tips freelancers need to organize their home office

Guest post by Zoocasa.

More and more of us are working from home these days, either as students, telecommuters or freelancers. The benefits are obvious: no need to squish yourself onto a bus or battle traffic, comfier clothes and a flexible schedule.

But one downside is that it can be hard to stay motivated and on track when your work life blends into your home life. A major contributing factor to this is the mess that can accumulate when you spend most of your time at home.  At an office, your desk is just for work and it’s not cluttered with personal objects, and certainly not old laundry. In contrast, a home office often doubles as a craft table, a dumping ground for bobby pins and batteries and grocery store flyers.

There’s no doubt that a cleaner space will help improve productivity. With that in mind, here are five best practices for creating productivity-boosting workspaces in your home.

Clean Every Single Day

Yes! We know it can be hard but we promise that making cleaning a daily habit will do wonders to prevent that dreaded pile-up. At the end of every workday set a timer for five minutes to organize all papers, wipe up any coffee spills and de-clutter your desk. If you do this every day it will only take five minutes or less and you won’t feel so overwhelmed at the prospect of a huge clean-up.

Tackle the Paper Monster

Paper just has a habit of piling up, doesn’t it? Try the one minute or less rule: if it takes you one minute or less to do it, then do it right now. So as soon as you read a document, either recycle it immediately or file it. Right away. Same for any flyers or other materials. You may also want to go digital for certain things like invoices and bills, but that doesn’t work for everyone.

Buy the Right Supplies

You’ll never create a productive workplace if you don’t have the right tools. That likely means a filing cabinet, labeled folders, a stapler, power bar and shelf or a bookcase to put binders, a printer and any other objects on.  While you’re at it, don’t feel guilty about buying a comfortable desk chair. You’re not going to like working from home if you’re uncomfortable. Don’t forget to buy pens that you actually like, (throw the free ones you get at events straight in the trash!). It will cost money to set up a good organizational system, but it makes a huge difference to like the space you work or study in, and hopefully you can expense it.

Avoid a Tangled Web

Tangled or visible wires are just not nice to look at and always give the impression of a mess. Buy a desk that has pre-cut wire holes, or loop any excess length in wires around themselves and tie them with an elastic. Or, try to go wireless when you can.

Schedule Monthly Clean-Ups

Along with your daily clean-up habit, pencil in a major monthly organizational session on the last business day of every month. It should only take you an hour at most, and you can rotate tasks each month. For example, you can double-check all your files are in the right place and de-clutter your email inbox. Next month you can take out all the pens and paper clips  and everything else from your desk drawer, wipe the drawer down, throw out any pens that don’t work, and put them all back in neatly.

If you follow these tips we’re confident you can create and maintain a clean–and productive–workspace anywhere.

Zoocasa.com is a real estate company that combines online search tools and a full-service brokerage to empower Canadians to buy or sell their homes faster, easier and more successfully. Home buyers can browse Vancouver real estate and homes for sale across Canada on the website or on Zoocasa’s free iOS app.