Over the weekend my wonderful partner finished building my brand new office in our new home. It makes it so much easier and more pleasant to get work done in a space that looks and feels good and of course is functional. I still have some decorating to do, but in the meantime, here are some tips that help us create a space that I love working in.
Even before we moved into this house, I knew that my office would be in an alcove at the top of the stairs. But I still didn't decide where everything would go until we moved in and I had spent a couple of weeks in the space to see what the light was like coming through the window, how the space felt and what I needed to have in arms reach. For example, I got a set of drawers from Ikea and started using them but it felt really odd having them on my left. I needed them to be on my right for easy reach.
I made notes with measurements of the space and once we had planned out where the desk and cupboards would be I made sure all the measurements and sizes were in a note in Evernote so that I had all the details handy at the hardware store.
- An important rule to set up a productive office is to have the most used items in arms reach at all times. One of the great things about a small office is that almost everything is in arms reach!
- Drawers - I have set up my drawers with all my stationery on my right as I am right handed. I keep pens, paperclips, stapler etc in the top drawer and I go into that multiple times each day. My "new" filing cabinet (bought second hand and repainted) is within arms reach on my left. I haven't set up all my files yet but the ones I use the most will be in the top drawer.
- Paperwork on the desk - I have an in-tray to keep any new mail or quickly scribbled notes in a neat pile until I get a chance to sort through them. Then I have series of folders in a step file to keep bills "TO PAY", documents or invoices "TO BE FILED", any paperwork relating to "CURRENT/UPCOMING JOBS" and receipts "TO BE LOGGED" in my accounting software
- Magnetic Whiteboard - This is nice and close on my right and has anything I want to keep in sight as a reminder and my daily to-do's. I have a small printed calendar nearby but most of my scheduling is done in Google Calendar.
- Everything else - other reference material or things that aren't used as often are out of the way in overhead cupboards and shelves.
Using and Tweaking
- Having homes for everything now means at the end of each day I can tidy up and leave my desk clear. This means I can start nice and fresh the next day and also my family doesn't have to look at an eyesore when they walk past.
- After being in a temporary office for a while and not having proper storage set up, it's easy for those out of sight supplies to get a bit out of control and messy. Now that I have things set up the way I like, I can figure out what I'm using and what I just don't need anymore and clear it out.
- Even though I have set up most things, I may move things around on my desk a bit while I'm settling in and getting a feel for what really works in this new space.
Then I can really get into the important task of decorating and putting up a few pictures and adding a bit of colour. Oh and working, yes I'll be working at my new desk too!