Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Week I Day IV Laying a Foundation -- The Desk -- Part A

Let's start with a freshly organized desk or home management workspace...

Every Home Manager needs a space where she can plan her work, answer correspondence and take care of paperwork, organize her finances, and generally manage the overall operations of her household. Perhaps, you are blessed with an entire room to call your home office. Or, you may have only a lap desk and a basket. The point isn't how big your home management area is. What matters is that you have some sort of "command center" that works for you.

No matter how much space you have in your home, you can find somewhere to call your very own management center. Be creative in carving out some type of office type space for yourself. A friend of mine uses one cabinet in her kitchen to store her paperwork, and he manages her house from her kitchen. I've also heard of people who fashion a home desk out of a piece of wood or even an old door painted a pretty color and placed over two metal filing cabinets. There are all sorts of ways to create a management space.

If you're an advanced home keeper, you already have a wonderfully organized home management space. Even so, it's a good time to review your space and make any little improvements toward efficiency, comfort, and attractiveness. Additionally, it's good to review the ergonomics of your work space from time to time. Make sure that your present set-up is friendly to your neck and back.

If, like many of us, you have papers scattered throughout the house and you do your planning work here and there, it's time to bring everything together into one work area. Think of how nice it will be to move through the holiday season and into the new year with an "office" space that works for you!

Mothers, your pre-teen and teen children also need to have a little "office space". One way to do this is to give each child an expandable folder with various sections. Teach them to store valuable papers in the folder. (When they are young, you may want to give them copies while you keep the originals.) Items that might be included are shot/health records, papers related to obtaining a learner's permit and driver's license/operating manuals for phones and computers and papers related to a first job. Help your child go through it once a year and weed out papers that are no longer worth keeping. When your children are ready to leave the nest, they will already be skilled in keeping important paperwork. They can even take their folder with them.

Watch the following videos for some tips about organizing your desk:

All of us need to remember to keep only those things on our desk which we need. I have a bad habit of plopping something down on my desk, thinking that I will file it away later. Then, that one thing multiplies into two, and two into three, and so on until I have a whole pile of things that I must either shove out of the way to work or that I must take the time to put away properly.

If you are a crafter/sewer, be careful that your supplies do not intrude on the space where you handle your overall home management. I sew, work from home part time, and conduct my household paperwork in the same room, but I keep my sewing and work/home management work spaces separate. Some exceptions to this rule might be a few sewing or craft reference books or a small notebook in which you keep track of all the sewing or craft projects that are either in production or that you want to do. (I keep these in my craft area rather than on my desk. Again, choose what works for you.)

On the other hand, if you run a home business, it is generally wise to combine your business management space with your household management space. That way, you deal with only one calendar, one desk, and one phone. Of course, you will have to determine what works best for you.

Some people enjoy having their private devotional times at their desk. If that works for you, make sure you have a Bible and journal nearby. I do do some study at my desk, so that I can look up reference material on my computer. Generally, however, I prefer to have my devotions away from my work center. Find out what works for you.

In organizing and maintaining your home management area, ask yourself the following:

1) When was the last time I checked all pens to make sure they are working and sharpened all pencils? Do have more pens and pencils at my desk than I really need?

2) Are the files and the address book on my computer organized? (That's an ouch! for me.)

3) If I use a paper address book, are the addresses in it up to day? What about my holiday card lists?

4) Do I have enough light on my desk? Do I have the reference materials I might need at hand? Do I have too many books and papers on my work surface? Is there somewhere I might store them more efficiently.

5) Do I have a scratch pad for quickly writing down phone numbers, things I want to remember, notes from a phone call, etc. That's better than jotting things down on the backs of envelopes or having 25 post-its scattered every where.



Wenonah4th said...

I had to luagh when I got to your post today and found it was about the desk, as I'd literally just stepped away from decluttering my desk!

Elizabeth said...

Hi Wenonah: You're leading the way for the rest of us!

Pauline said...

Hello again Elizabeth

Just posting my link to your post on the desk. I enjoyed this one- it made me complete some things that needed doing and now will make my life simpler in the paper work department. I am thinking there are going to be some posts that I won't like so much (or have LOTS to work on) soon!

Thank you again for a wonderful blog.

Blessings in Christ