A quick bit of research on the "most popular New Year's resolutions" will immediately reveal that you're not alone in your desire to get more organized in 2015. In fact, "getting organized" makes the top ten of most lists you'll find. The New Year is a great time to step back and take a look at how you can be more productive—and your home office is a great place to start.
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For all the trendy organization tips and tricks you'll find in the first few weeks of the new year, you'll notice that most of them will address the symptoms rather than the core issues. As an interior designer and business owner, I've learned that designing an organized office is about creating a space that keeps me physically and mentally refreshed and organized. So let's ditch the tips and tricks this year, look at the facts, and focus on three ways to design a home workspace that helps improve your productivity.
Clear the Decks
The National Association of Professional Organizations culled several studies to conclude that the average person loses more than four hours a week looking for documents or information they already have! So your instinct about finally tackling those piles in the office is a good one.
Success here requires two things—good habits and good design. The best habit I ever developed was not to touch any piece of paper more than once. I open the invoice, write the check and send it off, schedule payment or file it. Every time.
Next, you need to create a sense of simplicity and serenity to stay on task; so redesign your office space to get the clutter off of your desk and make filing super simple. Use office shelving to keep what you need close at hand but off of your workspace. Filing that invoice is a lot quicker and simpler when it goes into a binder within arm's reach. Keep your inbox here too, and use attractive boxes and cubbies for anything else you need to keep near.
Let in the Light
My own professional organization, the American Society of Interior Design, found that 68 percent of employees across the country complain about the lighting in their workplace. Here's what you need to know: Natural light is key to mood, energy and productivity. Maximize the natural lighting in your home office with window treatments that offer the most privacy and light at the same time. Interior shutters, curtains with sheer panels and Roman shades are great places to start.
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Overhead lighting is fine for general organizing and puttering around the office, but when you get down to work, it's all about focused, task lighting. Desk and table lamps don't require your eyes to work as hard, which means more energy and fewer headaches. Incandescent bulbs are great for mood and warmth, but for task lighting, CFL bulbs and LED or halogen lighting gives you the crisp focus you need to get the job done.
Sit Down and Get to Work
This one is very simple: Invest in an office chair. Discomfort leads to distraction. Nip that in the bud by finding the office chair that fits you perfectly. You're probably going to spend a little money on the right chair, but it's more important to spend the time sitting in as many chairs as you can. What is productivity but sitting down and getting to work, right? You need to make sure you've got a chair that helps you finish what you start.
We'd love to hear how you're planning on organizing your home office for a more successful 2015!