The Productive Home Office Checklist

If you work from home as a freelance writer, entrepreneur, or small business owner, you probably already know that having a dedicated work area—separate from your home life—is crucial to getting things done. But is your home office truly set up for productivity, or is it just another place in your house?

Here are some quick essentials for making your home office a more productive place to work.

  • Have a door that closes. If at all possible, your home office should be located in a separate room with a door. Having a closed door not only lets family members know that you’re working, but it also helps you get into work mode, which makes it easier to stop thinking about the laundry or the dishes crying out for your attention.
  • Evict the television. If you have a TV in your home office, move it out. The temptation to stop working and turn on that show you keep missing can be tough to resist. Not watching television in your office also helps to reinforce the separation between work and home.
  • Get a comfortable chair. You may be using a folding chair or a wooden one from the kitchen set, either to save money or to avoid getting comfortable so you’ll keep working. The problem is, you’re likely spending eight hours a day or more in that chair—and potentially doing long-term damage to your back. Invest in comfortable seating for your home office.
  • Have a place for all your things. It’s too easy to simply set a pile of papers down in your home office and then start piling more things on top. Disorganization can quickly lead to clutter. Invest in shelves, filing cabinets, or whatever else you need to stay neat and organized. Clutter is distracting and costs you valuable time when you have to search for what you need.
  • Check your lighting levels. Insufficient light decreases productivity, especially over the winter months. Make sure your home office has windows to let the sunlight in—or if windows aren’t possible, enhance the lighting with strategically placed lamps.
  • Get the right tools for the job. Don’t deny yourself the latest advances or gadgets if they’ll help increase your productivity. Could you benefit from a second monitor, a wireless mouse and keyboard, or a faster Internet connection? Upgrade when necessary to make your home office life easier.

Finally, don’t forget that you’re allowed to place your personal mark on your home office. It should feel like a workspace, but you also want to be comfortable and happy while you’re there—because that helps to increase productivity, too.

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