Basic Supplies for a Home OfficeWe're all different individuals that have different ways of taking on a task. Here are some items I find pretty necessary for my day to day home office operation.
OK, obvious? I really recommend a second phone line, but you at least need A phone line that is open and free. If you have teens at home, there are probably going to be calls. You don't want a client getting a busy signal. Just get that second phone line and tax deduct it. It really adds to your credibility, to have a business phone line always answered in a business-like fashion and with a business answering machine message.
I am always taping things. I actually have a cute snail tape holder. I figure the thing is on my desk all day long, it might as well be cute! These things are cheap. And useful.
Same as tape. You want to keep important papers together. When I'm doing taxes I always staple together all my bills of a type - all my electric bills, all my phone bills. You might think that your pile will stay together - but it rarely does. Just staple it. You can pull out the staple if you have to.
Be cautious with those magnetic paper clip holders! Your computer runs on magnets, remember :) But you do need some paper clips around, to keep things together. One of the KEYS to having your home business work well is for it to be organized. If things belong together, make them stay together. Don't assume they will because they're in a pile in order.
Working at home is great, because you can work whenever you want. But it's VERY easy to keep working and working and forget about other appointments. Get a clock and use it. Don't burn yourself out. If you work too hard, you lose your ability to focus and make mistakes. You become less pleasant to those around you. You might not think anybody notices - but belive me, they do. It is critical that you remain optomistic and enthusiastic and focussed about your project. That means frequent breaks and time away from your business. Even if that feels really hard to do.
Find some way that works well in your system to keep track of appointments. I have a bulletin board hanging next to my desk that has the next 3 month calendars pinned to it. When a month goes by, I slide everything left and add in the next month. That way I don't have to go paging through pages to see the future months. There's enough there for me to keep the future organized - but not so much that I'm taking up a ton of wall space.
Note Paper / Pens
There are always going to be random notes you have to jot down to get a phone number or information. Keep a few working pens and a pile of notepaper there within easy reach. Be sure to make a note about what this information IS. As much as you swear you'll remember the purpose of that phone number, when you find it a week later, you probably will have NO idea who it belongs to. Just jot down the purpose right then, when you make the note.
In boxes have a way of getting WAY too crowded, immediately. Even the cleanest desk tends to get completely messy after a while. The harder it is to find information, the more time you waste in finding it. Plus the more cluttered your desk is, the less space you have available for actual work. Do you best to act immediately on paper you have. File it if it isn't needed today. Prioritize it if it IS needed today. Remember, if you file it, you can always go back to it later if you need it. But if you make a giant pile on your desk, you'll never find it when you do need it. You can only work on a few projects at once. Put other projects into a file, for later work.
Main Page on Setting Up Your Home Office
Work from Home Main Page