Do you agree with this quote?
Organization can never be a substitute for initiative and for judgment. ~ Louis D. Brandeis
I think the sentiment holds true in a literal sense. Of course, having a perfectly organized home office cannot substitute for initiative and judgment. Taking it one step further, an organized workspace can’t substitute for a tall, icy cold drink or a tight hug either. But – a disorganized home workspace can certainly stunt creativity, dull initiative, and distort judgment.
Freelance Business Owners Need Order
Freelancers need an uncluttered, logically organized workspace even more than those working in the corporate world. Choose a space that allows you a fair level of space and movement, such as a study, den, or extra bedroom. Try to choose a space with a window, to prevent you from feeling too isolated and stir crazy. You can always close the blinds or curtains if it ever becomes a distraction. If you must office in an open room, such as a den without doors, consider adding them as soon as possible. Unless you live alone, you’ll need the option of closing yourself off from family and pets during client calls, when actively writing or creating, or any time requiring a distraction-free environment.
Plan a Simple Layout
Many office-at-home professionals place desks and accompanying furniture pieces, such as filing cabinets, in a U- or L-shape. This keeps frequently used items in arm’s reach. As a business owner, you’re the captain – think of this area as your command center. Freelance writers do most of their work on computers, so place your computer and its peripherals in a convenient, comfortable spot in the command center. Splurge and buy the best desk chair you can afford. Shop for office chairs that offer ergonomic designs. Ergonomic furniture can prevent back pain or repetitive movement injuries.
Position computer monitors at eye level. If a laptop will serve as your primary computer, many large computer specialty stores sell adjustable height mounts for laptops used at a desk. If you use a stand, you’ll need an external keyboard and mouse for convenience.
Choose a desk lamp that provides ample task lighting without taking up too much space. Add a floor lamp to the area outside your command center. Choose one that illuminates the room indirectly with a soft light. Take advantage of sunny days by allowing natural light to flood your space. This puts less strain on the eyes and gives an open feeling to a small room.
Keep Key Tools and Files Nearby
Your filing cabinet and any similar furniture should make up the accompanying part of your command center’s U- or L-shape. Keep active files in this quick-access file cabinet. Store frequently used reference books and manuals on shelves built into the desk, filing cabinet or additional storage piece used in the U-shape configuration. Place other, less frequently accessed books in a wall bookcase. Purchase extra consumable office supplies, such as printer paper, ink, note pads, pens and pencils, and staple refills in a wardrobe or similar closed-door cabinet. Most freelancers must set up their initial home office under tight budget constraints. Look for the pieces you need at garage and yard sales.
While not truly a necessity, adding a few decorative items goes a long way toward personalizing the space and adding visual interest and depth. Bring your workspace to life by placing one or two potted plants on a shelf or a table surface. Candles and aromatic diffusers provide a touch of warmth and clean scents for comfort. Find some framed artwork or prints at a discount store or yard sale to give plain walls personality. Place a soft, comfortable area rug on wood or tile flooring to reduce the cold, bare look of hard floors. Finally, consider putting a comfortable easy chair in one corner of the room for visitors or when you need a break from the computer screen.
When you’ve completed this basic home office design and organization, you’ll feel free to focus on building a thriving freelance business.
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