My life is changing, and the need to have my workspace evolve with these changes is very important to me.
We just built a new garage where my new office is going to be and one of my favorite things was assessing my old office and making notes of things I liked and disliked, so that I could start from scratch in my new office, making it the ultimate working environment.
The same theory can be applied to your home and home office. If your incoming papers, action papers and reference papers don’t have a physical ‘home’, then they will end up in piles. According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. Now I know that the average person won’t see nearly that much paper in their homes, but I am constantly amazed at how much paper comes into my house daily.
My friends at the local chapter of professional organizers (NAPO St. Louis, www.napostl.com) helped me a bit with this paper management topic. Their advice is that all papers at home need an inbox. It doesn’t matter what the paper is, it just needs somewhere to land when it gets in the door.
The inbox is just somewhere for the papers to land until you have time to deal with them. But, if you give them a ‘home’, they won’t go into a pile. The next step is to find time in your week to go through your inbox and sort your papers. One of my friends takes her inbox onto her bed and sorts through it during her evening TV shows.
My home office is set up so that my inbox is a sliding mesh basket. It is the same system I use at work and is known by my family. Everything goes into my inbox. Once items leave the inbox, they go into an action system for papers I need to take action on.
Not only is it important for my workspace to be functioning properly at work and at home, but I’ve realized the importance of effective email management. I know a lot of people that keep all of their emails in their email inbox and I’ve been told that the email inbox is like your mailbox at home, you wouldn’t always keep your mail in the mailbox, you shouldn’t keep all of your email in your inbox.