December 15, 2006 12:35am CST
what r the steps do u follow?? Now let's outline a step-by-step process for organizing your home office from start to finish. The first step is analysis. How do you spend your time in your office? Make a list of the different types of tasks you perform there, and create a list of functional zones that your office will need. If you are a programmer, this should be an easy task if you think of it in terms of designing a computer program. If you had to program a robot to perform all the different tasks you did in your office, how would you organize those tasks into separate modules? For instance, I came up with a list of six categories for myself: general paperwork, computer work, creative work, financial work, business reading, and manual order processing and shipping. Ideally you want to create a list of clearly defined categories that overlap as little as possible. Next, determine what physical equipment and materials you need for each category. For instance, for creative work I need access to writing instruments, design notebooks, a marker board, and a corkboard. For shipping orders I need access to packaging materials, recordable CDs, postage, a postal scale, and so on. At this step I realized I also needed a storage and reference zone for my books, files, and extra supplies. Now that you have your office materials functionally divided into different zones, the next step is to assign physical areas of your office to each zone. Ideally you want these zones to overlap as little as possible, but some overlap is usually necessary, especially if you use your computer for many different tasks. Take some time to determine an arrangement of furniture that will best suit your functional needs. A key to this stage is to envision what your ideal office would look like. Forget about what furniture you already own, and don't worry about cost or space constraints at this point. Just use your imagination, and think about what you'd really want if cost were irrelevant. Write this down on paper, and even sketch out your ideal office layout, noting which work zones you would assign to each physical area. Now that you know what you want for your ideal furniture layout, brainstorm ways you can get as close to that ideal as possible, given budget and space constraints. Many people, myself included, have inherited old furniture that no longer serves them. Just because you happen to already own it doesn't mean it's the right choice for you today. Don't be afraid to sell old furniture and replace it with something more functional. You can find plenty of reasonably priced self-assembly office furniture at office superstores, and many offer free delivery. I bought my computer desk, hutch, rolling drawer cabinet, and printer stand for a total of $99 new, but I had to assemble them myself. I also bought three six-foot folding tables for about $35 each, and they can be moved around easily. Additionally, I picked up five stacking shelves (60" tall, 36" wide, 10" deep) for only $20. Bookcases are cheap too, about $40-60 for one with six shelves. If you want that hand-carved mahogany desk, you'll pay a premium for it, but if you go for the basic, functional stuff, you can fill your office with furniture for just a few hundred dollars, even if you buy everything new. Measure furniture and play with different configurations in your favorite image editing software. Or make paper cut-outs to scale and experiment with them. It's much easier to do this than physically moving the furniture around.