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Thought2Action LLC ®
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Posts: 99

Just because it's located in your home doesn't mean it can't be a well organized, efficient place to address family business or work-at-home tasks.  Use the ideas here to create an office that's all business and user-friendly.

January 26, 2010 at 11:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

Start by making a list of the tasks you wish to complete in your home office.  Ask:

- What household tasks should be done here?

- What family tasks should be done here?

- What tasks from my work outside the home should be done here?

Once you've made a list of those tasks, make a second list of the furniture, equipment, and supplies you need to complete your tasks.  All of these items should be located in the space you're using as your office, not scattered all over in other rooms.  


And, don't forget lighting!  The quality and brightness of your office lighting can make a huge difference in your productivity.


Consider your list a source of inspiration as well.  For example, don't let the lack of a conventional desk stop you from having the office you need.  A sturdy flat-panel door placed on two two-drawer file cabinets makes a wonderful desk and workspace to get you started.


And, if you haven't identified a space in your home for your office yet, making these lists can help you locate just the right place that will accommodate the furniture, equipment, and supplies you need.

February 1, 2010 at 6:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

Many of us have a home office, or at least a space where we handle the day-to-day business of running a household. For many of us, chances are that space is heaped with unopened mail and loose papers and greeting cards and permission slips and community flyers and so much more.  When the time comes to pay bills or sign school progress reports, we spend more time looking for the papers we need than acting on them, and we risk making a late payment or missing a school deadline as well.

 

Now's the time to convert that mass of paper clutter into an organized filing system that will save time and money:


1. Gather together some materials for your file system: file cabinet, file folders, hanging files, labeler, sticky notes, trash bag, shredder.


2. Make an appointment with yourself to get started. For many of us, just taking that first step is the most difficult, so set aside several hours of uninterrupted time on your calendar to make this happen.


3. Purge your papers. Tackle not only the heap of papers already collected on your desk, but add to it the piles that have collected around the house and in the car (and in your purse, pockets, and wallet). Move through the piles quickly, deciding what to keep and what to toss. Resist the urge to stop and read, reminisce, or become distracted by individual items. And, set aside a special folder to keep items you find that require immediate action.


4. Shred papers containing personal information. It's not enough just to toss that pile of purged papers. Prevent identity theft by using a cross-cut shredder to destroy the personal information on the papers you've decided to throw away.


5. Sort your papers. Think of categories that make sense to you by asking, "How will I find this later?" Some examples to get you started: House, Car, Banking, Insurance, School, Medical, Hobbies, Church, Community, Sports. If creating your own categories seems to complicated, visit an office supply store, and buy a file labeling system with pre-printed categories. Once you get started, you may find that you want to create sub-categories of your own. For example, under "Medical," you may want to create one folder for each member of your family. To remember what's in each pile of papers, use a sticky note to create a temporary label.


6. Label your files. Focus on each pile you have created, and label one or more folders for those papers. Your "Sports" pile may become a hanging file for sports with separate folders labeled "Soccer," "Baseball," "Skiing," "Tennis," and "Golf."


7. Arrange your files in a cabinet or drawer. A simple, straightforward arrangement is to alphabetize your main (hanging) file categories: Banking, Car, Church, Community, Hobbies, Insurance, etc. However, any system that makes sense to you and that helps you find what you need quickly (30 seconds or fewer) and reliably is a system that works.

May 25, 2010 at 5:35 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

January is Get Organized (GO) Month, and January 10 is National Clean Off Your Desk Day, so set aside some time to declutter and organize one of the potentially most productive spaces in your home or workplace. Here's how:

 

1. Make an appointment with yourself, and keep it. It's easy to be distracted by meetings, phone calls, and other tasks, but you've been wanting to get this done for a while now, so set aside those other activities just for today. Silence your phone, put up an "away" message on your email, and close the door to your office (If you have one).

 

2.  Describe how you want to use your desk. Name the specific tasks you want - or are expected - to accomplish at your desk, from paying bills to writing software code to preparing financial reports. These uses will help you determine what items you need around you as you work. Write these down for reference.

 

3.  Determine what tools and resources you need to do your work. From the basics like a stapler and paper clips to more specialized job-specific tools like product samples or computer hardware, make a list that addresses your needs for each task you wrote in Step #2. This will help you see what is currently on your desk and identify what will stay and what will go.

 

4.  Sort everything on your desk. Make two piles, and have a trash receptacle close by. Sort everything on your desk into three categores: Keep - Act - Toss (K-A-T to remember more easily). Keep items that you need for any of the tasks you listed in Step #2. Make a separate pile for items that require you to Act within the next 48 hours. Toss items that don't work, are damaged, or are no longer useful (they've expired or you are no longer interested in them).

 

5.  Place your Act items together and close at hand. Whether in a tray or on the shelf of an organizer, put your Act items together, and mark each one with an action and deadline, like "call by Jan 14" or "email approved report by Jan 12." If you use an electronic calendar, set up reminders to help you meet those deadlines.

 

6.  Organize your Keep items for access and efficiency. Contain like items together: pens & pencils, project paperwork, product samples, phone & message pad, action (Act) items. Account for your "handedness," keeping items you frequently reach for at your left if you're left-handed, on the right if you're right-handed.

 

7.  Make it a habit to keep your desk organized. Once each day, take five minutes to tidy the items on your desk, and once each week, set aside 15-20 minutes to re-organize papers and other items that tend to wander out of place during the week (K-A-T). Move your Act items into files if you need to keep them, into the shredder or the trash if you don't once you've taken action. If the same items tend to clutter the same places each week, consider adjusting your desk organization to accommodate this work preference.

 

Share your tips here for clearing off your desk.

January 10, 2011 at 11:40 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Thought2Action LLC ®
Site Owner
Posts: 99

With only a short time left before your tax filing deadline, find the help you need to submit a return that will maximize your benefit and minimize errors:

 

Face-to-face

• For active-duty military, low-income (under $49,000) or disabled individuals, the IRS provides free help from trained volunteers for tax return preparation.

• The IRS and AARP have partnered to provide free tax filing services for individuals age 60 and older.

• For anyone who prefers assistance with your taxes in person, visit the IRS web site to find your local Taxpayer Assistance Center.

 

By phone

• The IRS provides free help by phone for individuals, businesses, and taxpayers with special needs.

• For phone numbers and links to tips, assistance, and other tax-related resources, visit efile.com.

H&R Block offers phone, online, and in-person assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

 

Online

• The central location for questions and answers about this year's tax returns for individuals is at IRS.gov.

• For those who file the 1040EZ, TurboTax offers free preparation and filing online.

Webtax Center offers form downloads, filing and printing to all individuals (upgrades in service are available for a fee).

• Register with JustAnswer for free tax advice by online in chat format.

 

Share your tax filing tips here.

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Get Organized 2 Get It Done!

April 5, 2011 at 11:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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