Day Two: Social Distancing & Self-Care Challenge – Setting Up Your Home Office and Keeping Focused

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Setting Up a Home Office & Keeping Focused

Day Two: Social Distancing & Self-Care Challenge - Setting Up Your Home Office and Keeping FocusedMany of my colleagues, friends, and family are being asked to, or choosing to, work from home.  Luckily, in our world of technology this is more feasible.  Most of us already have spaces in our homes where we do work after hours, manage our home paperwork or work from home already.  However, if you don’t use the space regularly it may need a reboot to function as an offsite work space.

Weeding Out Supplies

In my experience as a professional organizer, most of us have more office supplies than we would ever need in our homes.  In fact, many office supplies are near obsolete with more and more work being done virtually.  We really need very little in our space to function.  What a great time to pare down your home office area and reduce extra office supplies clogging your closets, drawers and shelving.  Here are the essentials I recommend for a functional work space:

  • Stapler & Staples
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • One pen holder worth of Pencils, Pens and Highlighters
  • Printer/Scanner
  • Printer Paper
  • Printer Ink
  • Surge Protector
  • Shredder
  • Ruler
  • Small File Cabinet for items you cannot scan to your digital files
  • File folders/Hanging files
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Paper Clips
  • Binder Clips
  • Notepad or Notebook
  • Post-its
  • Label maker
  • Flash drives or Back-up disk
  • Hole punch
  • Drawer organizer for your desk supplies

Anything else is probably not necessary for a functional office unless your work requires you have supplies for shipping items, inventory, or special tools to create your product.

Finding Focus

Now that you have the supplies and maybe cleared some space in your work area let’s talk about how to focus.  As a mom of two young kids whose home office also happens to be in our playroom, focus can be difficult with everyone at home.  Here are my tips:

  • If possible find a quiet room in your house to set-up permanently or temporarily.
  • Set specific hours that you will work during the day so you continue to keep a routine
  • Keep a focused to do list that prioritizes the must dos vs. the less time sensitive activities
  • Have activities planned to keep your kids occupied for lengthy bursts of time and look to your to do list for short items you can accomplish before the next interruption (more on that to come)
  • If possible turn off your phone/email notifications for blocks of time to avoid interruptions and work on the task at hand
  • Block pop-up notifications from breaking news and sites like Facebook/Twitter/Instagram which might distract and divert attention in this intense news cycle. Minimizing interruptions will make you more efficient to get back to homeschooling kids or finding some time to get out of the house and take a walk

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About the Author:

Kristin founded Livable Solutions professional organizing in 2004. She made a hobby into a career and loves to help others organize their time, homes and offices.  She also teaches other basic organizing principles through lectures and seminars.
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