Increase Productivity in Your Home Office

Written by Posted On Sunday, 06 March 2005 16:00

Working from home can be a great luxury or a huge challenge. Staying focused and developing a system that works is critical to productivity.

It can take months or even years before a person who starts working at home develops a positive work environment.

But it's not always necessary to do a massive makeover on your home office; instead some practical tips can make a big difference.

A drab, dreary home office can stifle creativity, and make going to work a real drag. Worse yet, a cluttered home office, where desk space is buried beneath paper chaos, is certain to make you feel anxious and irritated.

Pat Eszlinger-Crawford helps homeowners bury their clutter for good. Her Carlsbad business, Organize it Etc., gets people's lives back in order to help them be more productive.

Eszlinger-Crawford suggests that to keep clutter-free you should start with never even bringing it into your home.

"Go ahead and make a reduction before you take it into the room, like from the mailbox to a trash bin," says Eszlinger-Crawford.

Sorting through your mail before you even get it to your home office will help eliminate the paper clutter from accumulating.

Eszlinger-Crawford says the next important tool for your home office is to have a good, people-friendly filing system. She suggested that you take a group of files such as your personal files and label them from A - Z with titles such as "automobile", "doctor", etc. Then set up an index at the front for that group of personal files explaining what can be found in each file labeled A - Z.

"By setting it up in a people-friendly way and having an index system in the front of it, you, or anybody else who you would allow in your office can [retrieve information]," says Eszlinger-Crawford.

She also recommended picking at least one day a week to get acquainted with everything on your desk. So often people pile papers up on their desk and then they forget about them.

"Keep yourself familiar with everything on your desk just as if it were a Day Runner; that way you can walk out of there and feel like you are on top of it," says Eszlinger-Crawford.

Make your office fun and enjoyable, just as you do with the rest of your home. Add pictures of family, friends, and your pets. Use a mouse pad that shows your unique style.

"If you just make it like an office, you feel like you are constantly at a job," says Eszlinger-Crawford.

Another very important productivity tip is to make sure that you break the habit of stacking files so that you can't see what's underneath. Instead use vertical files.

"The things that need your immediate attention, you're going to be working with at all times, have those within an arms reach so that when you're on the phone with somebody you can just grab them," says Eszlinger-Crawford.

Finally, Eszlinger-Crawford says make sure that you always use just one message pad at a time.

Never pick up another memo book other than the one you designate for messages otherwise, you're likely to end up losing messages and having sticky notes all over your desk.

Plus it is the perfect place to document and save your telephone calls.

One last tip, when you pay your bills whether for your business or personal, pay them in your office rather than the kitchen table. Eszlinger-Crawford says this will keep everything you need all in one place: your office.

Creating a comfortable and functional home office helps increase productivity and lessens the amount of time you will need to spend each day attempting to get organized.

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Phoebe Chongchua

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy. Her company, LFE, specializes in media services including marketing, PR, writing, commercials, corporate videos, customer service training, and keynotes & seminars. Visit her magazine website:

Phoebe's articles, feature stories, and columns appear in various publications including The Coast News, Del Mar Village Voice, Rancho Santa Fe Review, and Today's Local News in San Diego, as well as numerous Internet sites. She holds a California real estate license. Phoebe worked for KGTV/10News in San Diego as a Newscaster, Reporter and Community Affairs Specialist for more than a decade. Phoebe's writing is also featured in Donald Trump's book: The Best Real Estate Advice I Ever Received and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Buying Foreclosures. She is the author of If the Trash Stinks, TAKE IT OUT! 14 Worriless Principles for Your Success.

Contact Phoebe at (858) 259-3646 or Visit for more information.

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