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How to be Organized: Home Office Tips

How to be Organized Home Office TipsHow to be organized despite the chaos of modern life.

Thankfully there are always enough hours in a day, and none of us busy moms ever feel overwhelmed or underprepared. Right?

Yeaaaaaaah, right.

What’s a person to do?  Productivity systems to the rescue! I break my productivity systems into three main categories: a schedule, a workflow, and the apps upon which I depend.

Productivity Schedule

I don’t like planning every moment of every day. Hate it, in fact. HATE. IT.  I like having a more free-flowing day where I work on what I’m drawn to that hour. For example, I find I’m much more productive when I write when inspiration hits, rather than every day from 8-10am as part of a fixed timetable.

That being said, you have to plan and have a schedule, however that looks to you. Without some planning everything will fall apart. Believe me, you have to plan. Perhaps that means knowing what you must get done on every given day and  blocking out chunks of time for each task. Maybe for you writing every day from 8-10am and having a specific daily program is what is in order.  For others what is needed is planning what your need to accomplish in your week and chipping away at each task as you go through your days.

Know yourself, and allow your schedule to reflect your strengths. 

Productivity Workflow

Next, it’s important is to have a solid workflow that works for you. Want my secret? Okay, I’ll share with you. Just between friends.

Delete, Delegate, or Do. What does this mean? When faced with a task, follow those three steps. Let’s use an email as an example. When I open an email, I either delete it (DONE!), delegate it to my team (DONE!), or realize I must do it myself (unfortunately, not yet DONE!).

If your choice is the latter, I then have a whole new workflow I follow which I discuss in detail my article How to Get Things Done. In a nutshell, at that point there are five options for the task: do it now, archive it for later, set a reminder, add to a project management system, or add it to my calendar. PHEW. (DONE!)

Productivity Apps

You know me. I love my apps. They make my world go ’round. My top three apps that I use daily and would probably be a bit insane without are Evernote, Basecamp, and Dropbox. If you aren’t using them right now, you are in for a serious treat. Here’s why I love them:

Evernote. This is the place to go to organize, store, and archive all of your notes, paperwork, web clippings, even hand written notes. One of my favorite features is that its search features works on images; so if I take a photo of one of my scribblings on a napkin and upload it to Evernote, I can later find it by searching.

Basecamp. Oh, Basecamp. Basecamp Basecamp Basecamp! I did an exhaustive search, checking out project management apps before settling comfortably into Basecamp. It’s easy to use, wonderful for collaborative projects, and the learning curve isn’t steep. There’s a free 60 day trial, so give it a whirl the next time you’ve got to organize a project with other people, or just want a nice organizational system for yourself.

Dropbox. Dropbox is a cloud storage service that I use not only to back up my own files, but also to share with others. It’s awesome for sharing large files that email services won’t support, or for sharing “folders” full of images for a collaborative task. I’ll often link to a dropbox folder in a Basecamp project; they are nice complements to each other.

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