Although it seems counterintuitive, making sure you stay on task and on time with your work during the day when you work at home can be more of a challenge than if you worked in an office. It makes sense when you think about it, because if you have to leave home to work, you don’t have home demands waiting for you right outside your office door and calling for your attention all day long.
And despite the fact that you can’t completely eliminate the urge to purge your home of whatever’s pulling your focus, the truth of the matter is that you won’t be able to work from home for long unless you actually work when you’re at home!
In my own personal experience of working from home over the last year-and-a-half, one thing that helps me stay on top of work is having a clean, organized and functional workspace. Because the less time you spend clearing out clutter, the more time you have to devote to improving your efficiency and boosting productivity.
Here are some of the simple ways I’ve been able to straighten up my work stations that have had far-reaching benefits to both my professional and personal lives, and they all involve my favorite office assistant: My vacuum cleaner.
If my secret weapon is my vacuum cleaner, then its arch nemesis would have to be the conglomeration of knotted cords and cables connecting my home office to the outside world. Seriously, if I had to pick up and sort out each and every dangled and tangled cord each time I tried to vacuum (several times a week), I would never complete any assignments. So rather than engage in the cord disengaging dance, take a moment to straighten them out and contain them by tying them together or placing them in an attractive cord streamliner.
Not only does this facilitate faster vacuuming under and around the desk, but it also makes the workstation feel larger and less cluttered and enhances safety by not having a trip hazard present in the office.
Another double-edged sword is the large window in my office: I adore the amount of light it allows in during the morning hours, but I hate the amount of light it allows in during the afternoon! The last thing I want to deal with when I’m trying to wrap up writing projects is the headache-inducing glare on my laptop screen that begins shortly after lunch and persists until (while simultaneously postponing) quittin’ time.
To combat that, I have both slated blinds and heavy drapes that I can close and draw as needed. The problem is that I also suffer from dust allergies. Enter my handy dandy vacuum cleaner that I can use to clean both window adornments! And by running the brush attachment over my ceiling fan, lamp and window sill, I can ensure less dust and a brighter and fresher environment to help me push through that afternoon slump.
Speaking of double duty, my entire filing “cabinet” consists of colorful little baskets that provide, in addition to bright pops of color on my bookshelves, the perfect-sized repository for files and documents. They make finding documents related to particular clients so simple and keep the clutter off of my desk at the same time.
Unfortunately, those stylish woven baskets also come equipped with nooks and crannies that quickly accumulate a layer of dust and pet fur and whatever else happens to be floating around the air at any given time!
But by giving the baskets and the fabric inserts a quick swipe with my vacuum’s hose, I can make quick work of the pesky particles that slow me down repeatedly throughout the day and get back to cranking out assignments and kicking back much sooner in the evening. And that, my friends, is a huge plus in favor of working from home!
What are some of the ways you’ve found to whittle down on your workday organization and cleaning time?
Rheney Williams lives in Charleston, S.C., and provides cleaning and organizing tips to homeowners for Home Depot, including how to get the most mileage from your vacuum cleaner and other appliances. A full selection of floor care products and vacuums can be found on Home Depot’s website.