Quain's Top Ten

Quain's Top Ten ways to stake out a stable home office.

  1. Get a second phone line. A second line will prevent incoming calls from disrupting your Web cruising and emailing.
  2. Stake out an office with a door. You might get cozy sitting in the corner of your den, but you'll never get any work done.
  3. Stay away from those fold-and-hide home-office kits -- their poor ergonomics will leave you neck-deep in chiropractors' bills.
  4. Spread your email address around and force people to send email rather than faxes. Faxes result in additional costs for paper and more stuff to file.
  5. But forget the hype about the paperless office and buy more filing cabinets than you think you'll need. A solid, albeit unattractive, steel cabinet can be yours for $100. You'll use it.
  6. Write down all your passwords. Security experts argue you should never do this, but a growing amount of software and Web sites require passwords. It's more likely that you'll forget a password than have someone steal your cheat sheet.
  7. Keep all tech-support numbers, warranty codes, and the specifications for your office equipment in one place. It's a sure bet that a vital piece of equipment will break down when you can least afford to lose it.
  8. Hire an accountant. An accountant will flag deductions you should take, such as depreciation on your home office equipment.
  9. Repeat after me: I will back up all my files once a week.
  10. Get a comfortable chair -- it's the most important piece of office gear you'll buy. Your back will thank you.

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