A Year-End Checklist for Work-From-Home Professionals
As we approach the end of 2019, there's no better time to reflect on the past year and prepare for 2020. This is especially true if you work from home: from tax write-offs to redesigning your home office to maximizing productivity, there's a lot you can do to make 2020 your most efficient year yet.
1) Get Your Finances in Order
The new year is an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your budget. Take a look at the programs you're subscribing to for your job/business, and assess whether you're getting value from them. (If you're paying 60 dollars a month for web hosting for a blog you never write on, it may be time to ditch it.)
Be sure to review home office tax deduction requirements and budget for any home-office upgrades you'll need in 2020 (like buying that coveted second monitor or a standing desk). And if you're a contractor or freelancer, now is the time to start tallying up your work expenses for tax deductions.
If you didn't keep track of your business expenses this year, now is a great time to set up a spreadsheet to start tracking that information.
2) Evaluate Your Schedule
The flexibility of working from home can be freeing, but it can also make it hard to build an effective routine and maximize your productivity; after all, you don't want to let your work ooze into all hours of the day just because you never formally leave your office.
So take some time to re-plan your day-to-day schedule. If you use Google Calendar or any time tracking apps, take a look at your schedule from the past year to see how you spent most of your time. You can also take some tests to figure out when you work bestyou work best! Then consider blocking your schedule accordingly for 2020.
There is no shortage of hacks, tips and tricks out there that can help you make next year your most productive yet.
3) Optimize Your Office Space
Part of the beauty of working from home is that you have full control over your office space. But if you're not the most organized person in the world, that autonomy can present drawbacks as well.
A new year is a chance to clean up. Clutter can be a productivity killer — if your desk or office is even just a little disorganized, you may benefit massively from a bit of de-cluttering.
And once you've organized your office, you can think about straightening up your work computer. Think of all the emails, important files and useful programs you've accumulated over the past year. A lot of this will be immediately valuable — but some of it, not so much. Take quick stock of what's what. If you've built up a serious email backlog, this may seem like a substantial undertaking. But you don't have to do it all at once.
You can also use the end of the year to assess what your home office is missing and budget for purchases that will take your workspace to the next level. Get inspiration from these home-office design tips, or send this work-from-home holiday gift guide to your loved ones to help them help you!
4) Celebrate Your Victories
The new year is a chance to celebrate. No matter what struggles you've faced over the past year, you've fought battles and gained more experience than you had 365 days ago.
The end of the year is a great time to assess what could have gone better, but be sure to be kind to yourself and take an inventory of your wins as well; make a list of five accomplishments you're proud of and celebrate those victories! Use this energy to get motivated for more victories in 2020.