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Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
52 WEEKS TO FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION - #31: A Place for Work



Last week, I talked about how business, particularly a home-based business, can take over our time, if we allow it to do so.  The same can happen with our space.  If we don't consciously carve out a space at home in which to conduct business, our work will quickly migrate onto every available horizontal surface in our homes.
 
Location, Location, Location
It was the most important factor when you chose where to live.  Location is also the most important factor in choosing where you will set up your home office.  If your house is small, or if it is large but full of stuff (a matter for another day!), you may have limited options as to the physical location of your home office.  Whether you have a large separate home office with big windows that look out over a peaceful outdoor oasis, a corner desk in the family room, or anything in between, the location of your work area needs to have the following characteristics:
 
  1. Physical separation from other home activities.  Of course a separate, dedicated room with a door you can close says "This is my office, and I'm working" to the other members of your household and to you.  But most of us don't have the luxury of an unused room, and we have to compromise by sharing space with a room that serves another purpose.  If this is the case for you, you can still create physical separation by doing some or all of the following:
 
*      Have your own desk or table, to be used exclusively for your work.  That means the kids don't do their homework there and you don't do your scrapbooking there!
 
*      Use a decorative privacy screen or a row of tall house plants to define your work area if it is in a high-traffic area of your home.
 
*      If you have no room for a separate desk, create a portable office.  Use a portable file box or banker's box to hold the items that would be on your desk, if you had one.  Take them out of the box when you're working, and put them back in the box when you're done for the day.  Store the box near the table at which you work.
 
  1. Pleasant sensory experiences. 
*      Light:  I've talked to many people who have set up very nice home offices in their basements, only to find that they avoid working "down there" at all costs.  In most cases, I have observed that their basements were just too dark, or they were lit by unpleasant fluorescent lights that "buzzed".  If you have a choice of where to set up your home office, choose a location that has sufficient and pleasing ambient light.  You will also need good task lighting: a desk lamp positioned toward the left side of your desk if you are right-handed, or toward the right side of your desk if you're left-handed.
 
*      Temperature:  You're going to resist working in a home office that is too hot or too cold.  If necessary, invest in a fan, room air conditioner, and/or space heater.
 
*      Smell:  Does your work stink?  It might be the room, not the work itself.  Excess humidity can make a room smell musty.  It can also damage your furniture, electronics, and business papers.  Use a dehumidifier.   
 
  1. Keep your household and business files separate.  Store your business files near your desk.  If your space availability is small, use a rolling file cart and roll it under your desk when you're not working.
 
Your Homework for This Week
If "home" and "business" have a very blurry line between them, create a separate, pleasant space for work.  You'll find that, by carving out both a time and a place for your home-based business, you'll increase your productivity.

posted on: 9/13/2009 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances


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Minimizing Financial Clutter


by Katherine Trezise

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

Katherine's Website:

www.absolutely-organized.com




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