Working from home has its perks: You set the hours, make your own rules, and get to be your own boss. It also poses its own set of challenges. While home offices are a great option for highly motivated Notary entrepreneurs, ensuring your work space is efficient and successful takes more than stocking the right supplies and equipment. The following tips from business experts and experienced Notaries can help get your home office running like a well-oiled machine.
1. Get Organized: Organizational design expert Peter Walsh suggests color-coding file labels. Our minds are programmed to recognize visual cues quicker than labels, and placing files in neatly organized desktop accessories, rather than tucking them away in drawers, makes it easier to see and retrieve what you need. Create electronic files whenever possible, which saves room and eliminates clutter, and back them up using a hard drive or off-site Internet service. Clear out the clutter of extra pens, CDs or perpetually unread books by donating them to a local school or library. “Tidy your desk at the end of each day, revisit what you have accomplished, and write your goals for the next day,” suggests Notary Shalou Alberto.
2. Minimize Distraction: Any work environment comes with plenty of distractions — from surfing the net to texting friends and family to gossiping with co-workers. But distractions are multiplied in a home office setting. The key is creating clear boundaries between your office and the rest of your home — both physically and mentally. Set personal office hours, during which you refrain from multi-tasking non-work projects, like laundry, bill paying, personal phone calls, or even Fido’s daily walk. “Keep the dogs out of the room,” advises Notary Lisa Holliday. Keep personal items out of your office space, and work-related items out of the non-office space in your home, says interior designer Jo Heinz.
3. Feng Shui Your Environment: Organize furniture to maximize efficiency and ergonomic comfort. The Mayo Clinic website offers a diagram illustrating proper office ergonomics. Arrange furniture with convenience in mind. You shouldn’t have to trip over a filing cabinet every time you print a loan package. Make your space comfortable and inviting by focusing on the right colors, natural light and other décor. Home office guru and Working Naked blog author Lisa Kanarek offers some uniquely inspiring — and offbeat — home office ideas, and Mashable contributor Amy-Mae Elliot provides more tips for sprucing up your home office.
4. Accounting Matters: “Do your billing daily,” advises Notary LaTonja Al-Hedaithy. When running one’s own business, it’s hard enough to receive prompt payment. Falling behind in invoicing and recordkeeping can hurt your bottom line, so keep close track of your accounts. Notary Jan Engels never lets receivables go over six weeks. Establish timing that works for you, and stick to it.