Running a business from home is one of the most rewarding and potentially lucrative ways to earn a living. But with coffee on tap, kids demanding attention and friends dropping by, it also has the potential to be a procrastinator’s nightmare.
Is this your desk? by Shutterstock
Decide Where Your Office Will Be
Whatever equipment you leave in general living areas tends to become a free-for-all when it comes to using or borrowing. A small desk sectioned off from the living area of the sitting room, say, is far less tempting than a laptop lying on a coffee table amongst TV remotes and magazines.
Above the desk, fit open shelving that can hold box files or small items of office equipment like pen pots or calculators and business reference books. It’s not foolproof where children are concerned, but having an official work area tends to create a psychological, out of bounds, barrier. It has the added benefit of helping you shift gears too, since sitting down at your desk means ‘going to work’.
Use Physical and Cyber Storage to Banish Clutter
There’s no real excuse for lots of paper clutter on your desk. If you need to devise a new workflow or learn how to use excel to help you get rid of paper records, it’ll be well worth the time spent. Invoices, income records, client details, networking contacts, purchase orders and accounts can all be completed and stored online.
Cloud storage by Shutterstock
Cloud storage is easily obtained and organised. If you’re new to cloud computing, it’s good to have a couple of free accounts to start with so you can get used to the concept. The free storage allowances are fairly generous, certainly enough to let you experiment with before you lay out any money for
If you’re doing your accounts manually, consider an online accounting company instead. There are several to choose from, and some of the best also offer bank feeds that update automatically. Perfect for procrastinators, they are hugely helpful at tax return time, and also keep year to year records safe and organised. Getting automatic reports on cash flow and profit and loss is the icing on the cake.
Some physical storage will doubtless be necessary, but you shouldn’t need more than a small cabinet. You could either repurpose existing furniture, or make room for bespoke office furniture depending on your available space.
Space for Stock
E-commerce business owners have a bigger clutter problem than service providers. A few small boxes of stock quickly becomes more than a normal house can bear when the business takes off. When you’re tired of climbing over boxes, it may be time to seek an alternative to keeping stock at home.
Self storage units are becoming ever more popular with business owners whose needs have outgrown home premises but don’t want the expense or long term commitment of warehousing. Some storage facilities report that nearly half their units are rented for business reasons. Other reasons self storage is a winner, apart from convenience and clearing the home of clutter, include:
- Long opening hours providing convenient access
- Short term contracts from just a week, plus easily moving up or down in storage room size
- Town locations that are easy to get to
- Friendly staff who’ll take delivery when you can’t be there
- Large lockers for those who don’t need an entire unit
We all procrastinate and let clutter build up, but that doesn’t mean we should stop looking for solutions. Systems and spaces that streamline the work process make it easier to work more efficiently and waste less time. It really is possible to earn a good living and still have time for the kids, the coffee and the friends.
Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage and often procrastinates when it comes to tidying his desk.