I’ve been trying to create a productive home office that fulfills the following criteria:
- I can concentrate and do great heads-down work
- I can take video calls with impunity
- It’s a relaxing space for me
- The background when I take calls conveys some sense of professionalism
After some experimentation, I’ve gone back to using a desktop computer — actually a Mac Mini plugged into a single 33” gaming monitor — with a wireless keyboard and trackpad. It works perfectly fine for my purposes (although I wish I could split my big monitor screen into multiple virtual monitors).
But the computer isn’t the main thing. I’ve got plenty of desk space, which is great, and an Uplift standing desk that lets me get up and move around a little bit while I’m working. (I don’t use the balance board that came with it, which looks a bit like a wooden boogie board, but maybe I should?)
The biggest innovations have been three small things:
- I’ve got three lights: two from Uplift and a third Elgato Key Light Air that hangs over my monitor and prevents me from looking like I’m in witness protection on video calls.
- A decent speaker setup that supports Airplay so I can play music to help me concentrate.
- A teapot, which I constantly refill through the day, and sencha tea.
The tea is probably the most important.
Everything else aside, I’ve learned that coffee doesn’t help me concentrate in the way I need to in order to do my work. I do still enjoy my first cup of the day, but then I move to something that doesn’t ramp me up on caffeine (it’s still caffeinated, but not to the same level) and doesn’t spike my already inflated cortisol. A cup of tea is where it’s at.
Maybe I could have dispensed with everything else I did to my office in order to figure it out. But, hey, I easily spend eight hours of my day in here. It’s nice to have an environment that I can truly call my own.