Whether you are blessed with a home office or need to use a portion of another room, you need to organize your freelance writing space so that you are as productive as possible when you write.
Some people argue that having a messy desk and office doesn’t affect their productivity. They are wrong.
When you have crap all over the place, you waste time trying to find things, and your brain works a lot more because it constantly sees all this stuff and feels it has to somehow make sense of it — you’re asking your brain to multi-task.
You Must Have a Clean Desk
Besides your computer, you should have only the key materials you need for your current writing project and just a few items you use multiple times throughout the day, such as pens and pencils. (And make sure your desk and chair allow for proper ergonomics when you write.)
When you have finished a project, or are switching to another project, take all the unneeded materials off your desk and store them in their proper places. If you have extraneous items on your desk, and especially materials for another project, your mind will jump between what you should be doing now and what you will be doing later; this is not efficient.
The Freelance Writer’s Equipment and Supplies
Keep all things you need on a regular basis close at hand on shelves and tables. This includes paper, paper clips, scissors, envelopes, telephone, and the like. Electronic equipment such as printers and fax machines can go on the floor underneath or beside your desk. You want to be able to easily reach all of these, ideally without leaving your chair.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t move. There definitely is a health benefit to having to get up, even for a few seconds, to fetch something across the room: you engage muscles and increase blood flow; the tradeoff is a break in concentration.
You may also want other things handy. For example, some writers like to listen to CDs or the radio or online services like Pandora or iTunes while they work. If this is you, be careful that it’s truly background music and not something that frequently yanks your attention away from work. The mind can focus on only one thing at a time.
If you share a home with other people, keep drinking water and healthy snacks in your office so you can take care of your thirst and hunger needs without sacrificing valuable writing time with an unexpected conversation with a family member or housemate.
How organized is your writing space? What could you do in 5 minutes to improve it? In 30 minutes?