I have started 4 articles for WorkAwesome in the last month, and each time, I’ve gotten frustrated. The words just won’t come out right. I was disorganized and I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t write anything down because I couldn’t find a pen. Or a pencil. Or even paper. Well no wonder! Look at the environment I was working in:
It’s like a Where’s Waldo puzzle, isn’t it? Can you find the keys, the Halloween pumpkin, the oven mitt and the cell phone? Riiiiiight.
I work from home. There was a dedicated home office in this house once upon a time. Then we had a kid whose taken over and I get to work on the dining room table.
Forget the mess, even, and look at where my light source is—directly behind my chair, glaring on the computer screen. Is it any wonder I couldn’t write a single thing?
Working from home has its own challenges. Here are some tips on keeping your desk from becoming a disaster like mine.
1. Remove the Clutter
I found actual homes for the pumpkin (outside) and the oven mitts (on top of the fridge). Clutter is the mind killer. I will face my clutter and find it a home. I was also missing a lot of things I normally need for work, so I gathered up a new pile of clutter and set it aside to organize.
2. Light Source
There’s nothing more distracting than not being able to read anything on your screen because the sun is reflecting right into your eyes. Sunglasses are not the solution (although I’ve actually tried). After I got rid of the clutter, I rotated the table 90° to the window. Now there isn’t a glare at all AND I can turn my head and look out the window and daydream if I want to.
Underneath that mess was a dusty, fingerprinted and germy mess. Even if everything was organized, I wouldn’t be able to stop obsessing over the thin film of grime, so out came the dust cloth. Now my desk is nice and shiny. And it smells good. Mmmmm. I can feel the zen already.
4. Wires, wires, wires
Do you see where the power cord for the laptop is in the messy photo? Yeah. I kept tripping over it when I got out of my chair. Now that I’ve rotated the desk, the cords go away from me behind the laptop. I can also finally hook up my backup hard drive because it sits in an unobtrusive spot on a small bookshelf where both the USB and power cords can reach where they need to. I have a printer, but I thought ahead on that one—it’s wireless and sits on top of the pantry.
5. Bringing everything else back
Now you can organize all of the other things you need to work: reference books, printer paper, pens, pencils, notebooks, CD, etc. I have a nice little wooden organizer sitting on top of a place mat so as not to scratch the nice dining table. Everything besides my computer is in it, so if I’m having people over and actually want to use my table, I just move two things and *presto* dinner time.
See my lovely new working space. It didn’t cost me a dime!
And now I can finish an article. Oh yeah.
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