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Five Tools for Improving Your Efficiency

Neaten up your office and economize your time with these tips.

This story appears in the July 2000 issue of HomeOfficeMag.com.

Organizing your home office can be easy if you use the right tools. You wouldn't use a hammer to screw in a nail, just as you wouldn't use a typewriter instead of a computer to write a 40,000-word manuscript. Here are several tools to help you get organized.

  • A to-do list. Take control over your time by creating a to-do list each day or at least weekly. This will give you an overview of what to expect each week and give you time to make any changes in advance. Use it in combination with a calendar, and keep in mind that to-do lists are for tasks to be completed, while a calendar is for recording appointments.
  • A current filing system. Divide the stacks of paper on your desk into current and reference. Set up a filing system that separates what you need for current projects (marketing information or sales meetings) from what you refer to occasionally (articles of interest or past publications). Use hanging folders for main categories and manila folders inside the hanging files for subcategories. Store reference materials in a filing cabinet, and put your current files vertically in a desk file drawer or a vertical file holder; purge them weekly or transfer papers to your reference files or recycling bin.

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