My Home Office Project is coming along nicely! I've been busy cleaning, rearranging and organizing. My goal: the ideal home office setup to increase my productivity and improve my daily workflow. On that note, here are some simple ideas for how to set up a home office (of any size) to make you more efficient...
How you set up your home office depends on what you do exactly, and you do it. You should take your personality traits into consideration (I'm very "out of sight, out of mind" for example) as well as your priorities & usual tasks - which may be unique to your home business model.
For example I do a lot of video and am starting two new podcasts, so my home office setup needs to create an easy workflow for recording and editing - quickly and easily. And "on the fly", because that's another personality trait of mine: I tend go with creative inspiration vs a "set publishing schedule". 🙂
How To Set Up A Home Office For Workflow
To start, you need to know exactly what you're working with in terms of space and what you're going to put IN that space. When you work from home, you also want to consider the "home office deduction".
I use the largest room in my home for my office, which is a sunroom - it's great for natural light when shooting videos, and also gives me a nice view while working. 🙂
The amount of square footage you use for your home office is the percentage you'll be able to deduct on your taxes. Your accountant can help you with that bit, but it should definitely be factored into your decisions when setting up a home office.
1. Sketch out your space and square footage.
2. Make a Home Office Inventory list.
Now that you know what you have to work with, the next step is to figure out how to best arrange everything for the easiest possible workflow. This will be specific to your usual daily tasks, of course.
If you do food or product photography, or shoot videos, as part of your business model then you need a setup in place and ready to use at all times. If you have to set it up and break it down each and every time, you're less likely to get photos & videos done when the opportunity or creative inspiration strikes you!
Tip: Set up a permanent photo/video space that can stay in place at all times, that isn't in the way but is always ready, and doesn't have to be broken down or hidden when you have company.
While analyzing the space you have to work with, consider your outlets. If you're short on outlets (or in the right places), it's easy enough to get new outlets installed. This is a much better plan long-term than running cords and cables across or around the room.
You also want easy access to all of the devices you use, such as: tablets, mobile devices, cameras, iPods, etc. To get the best use out of them, they need to be charged up and ready to use at all times. Going out for a run? Grab your (charged) iPod and listen to your favorite motivational or educational podcasts! Ready to shoot a video? Grab your (charged) video camera and GO!
Tip: Choose a dedicated, convenient space in your home office to charge all of your devices so they're always juiced up & ready to use.
The things you use on a regular basis need to be within easy reach at all times. The things you need occasionally should be put away. Rearrange your workspace so you have "quick access" to those things you use daily, and your work space is not cluttered with things you only need now and then.
Tip: Get in the habit of putting things in the same place every time you're done using them. Then you'll never lose anything again!
Working with a small space?
The smaller your space, the more you need to keep it clean and organized so you can focus on your priority tasks. The less distractions the better! But no matter the size of your office, efficiency is the key: making the best use of your space, and always having everything you need readily available to accomplish the task(s) at hand.
Something I just purchased to improve my space, and my use of that space, is a 4-panel room divider. I chose this Shoji Screen which is very rich in color and beautiful in my home office, but not too distracting to easily be used in video and photo backgrounds.
My own home office setup is a work in progress at the moment, as you can see. 🙂 Here's a bigger photo of the divider / screen / backdrop:
This was a GREAT investment for my home office space because often I get hung up taking photos or shooting videos when the lighting is just right at a certain angle... but the background is NOT. And background and lighting are both KEY to any photos and videos you create.
Sometimes I want to shoot a video or take a photo in the living room for example, without the family photos on the wall behind me showing in the background. Or I may want to shoot a video in my kitchen (I have a food blog) and keep the video focused on ME - not on something messy around or behind me. 😛
This beautiful Shoji Screen comes already assembled, it's large enough to create a room divider, it folds up to easily put away, and it's lightweight enough to move around easily. And it's pretty enough to leave set up. I give it FIVE STARS!
Consider Ways You Can Be More Efficient...
Put some thought into ways you can achieve more in less time in your work space. For example, I mentioned videos and podcasting as part of my business. Most of my video content can easily be repurposed into a podcast episode - and vice versa, most podcast topics would make great videos.
On the topic of efficiency and productivity, I use dual monitors and multiple workspace areas. I have two desks set up in my home office, and dual monitors set up for both computers. This goes back to my personality traits, and is a means of staying focused on the task at hand. I have a Media Desk specifically for product, video and podcast creation. I have another desk for accounting, blogging, social media, etc.
Dual Monitors are great for productivity. I'm able to keep my accounts open on one screen and my accounting software open on the other for example - without flipping back and forth. Or keep my Evernote task list / checklist open on one screen, with my browser open on another - working through the tasks strategically.
I tend to get distracted easily, so I find it best to have a dedicated space for specific tasks. And when I feel overwhelmed? I simply grab my laptop and work from the back deck, a coffee shop, or the lounge in the living room.
I hope this gives you some smart home office ideas to use in your own space, or with your own home office setup. The most important thing you can do is arrange everything according to your priority tasks, and your "productivity personality".
What's YOUR Productivity Personality?
I'd love to hear how you work best, what's working for you in your home office space - and what's NOT, and anything you recommend for smoother workflow.
Leave a comment & let's discuss it!
Next, see: How To Break Bad Work Habits & Stay FOCUSED
p.s. Stay tuned for a FUN "show off your home office" event (no matter how small/big, clean/messy it is!) for a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card in the random drawing of all entries! 🙂
Make sure you're subscribed by email to get the link in time...
3 Books You Should Own