Life is messy, especially for work-at-home moms, so it is crucial that these women know how to organize their at-home offices. WAHMs need to be able to answer emails, work on projects, and toss some Cheerios to any wayward babies lurking around.
Here are three tips to get organized and stay organized while working from home.
Designate your space 'only WAHMs allowed' and stick to it - seriously.
Just because a WAHM is at home, that doesn't mean her space should be disrespected. Designate a space that is for working only and make it known that while in the room interruptions should be kept to a minimum. It doesn't matter how big the space is; many WAHMs set up a corner office in the kitchen or take over an entire room. Regardless of the space, keep it work-related to cut down on distractions.
Any office should have:
- Filing cabinets big enough to keep up with whatever paperwork needs filed
- A desk or table for setting a computer on or to be used for writing/creating
- Workstation for any kind of accoutrements like the fax machine, printer, shredder, etc.
- Desktop organizers for incoming/outgoing mail, memos, and other items regularly used
Even the smallest areas can have space maximized by selecting the right type of office furniture. According to Oprah.com, January and July are the best times of year to check out places that sell office furniture. During this time, older furniture pieces are discounted to make room for the new pieces coming in.
Post-it Notes and calendars are your new best friends.
Many new mothers (and ones who have been at it for a while) complain that it is impossible to remember everything there is to do in a day. That is why day-planners were invented. Write down everything that needs to get done in or on whatever helps keep daily tasks at the forefront of the mind. A cork board goes a long way for anyone who needs a place to store scraps of paper with ideas written on them.
Not a fan of keeping track of notes? Use a software program like Outlook to make a calendar for daily appointments and to-do items. Software programs can also keep track of emails, important phone numbers of customers or clients, and they're accessible on the go.
Organization really comes in handy for preparing taxes. Keeping a spreadsheet of expenses and the actual receipts is a must for any WAHM. Keep receipts in a folder and try to log them into a spreadsheet quarterly to avoid a massive headache in April when taxes are due.
Chair-swiveling is the new walking.
No matter how big or small a workstation is everything should always be within arm's reach while seated. It should be mentioned here that while many times WAHMs equate a comfortable workstation with being in their favorite pajamas, comfort should also be extended to the rest of the body with ergonomically correct chairs, desks, and computer equipment. Look for places that sell office furniture that is both comfortable and ergonomically correct to prevent repetitive use injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Organize the workstation in such a way that reaching almost every item is possible from an office chair. This cuts down on time spent getting up and down searching for important documents or items.
Don't dread the workday.
Even WAHMs don't want to go to work, but an organized office makes things better.