Work is a reality for most of us, so it’s important to create a space that’s conducive to getting things done, whether you’re working, paying your bills, or doing your taxes. Your home office may be its own room, a dedicated corner, or a kitchen table—either way, it’s helpful to make sure this space is personalized to create the system that works best for you.
Today I’m sharing some of the tools that are helping me work at home, and exactly why I love them. Take a look through what’s working for me below, try out what you like, and leave the rest behind. Ultimately, the system you create should feel invisible because it serves you so well. It’s all about figuring out the layout, products, and routines that work for you and making small tweaks along the way. This post is about the tools that remove friction so you can dive into your at-home work with ease.
Timers are a helpful tool for anyone looking to dive into focused work quickly, whether it’s deep work or something that may feel like a big lift but in actuality won’t take very long. It’s an external thing that helps me settle into (and stay focused on) work tasks. I personally prefer not to use my phone for this because I’ve often found myself grabbing my phone to set a timer, only to find that, twenty minutes later, I’m scrolling through Instagram or writing an email.
This cube timer was recommended to me by a fellow creative who also has ADHD. You don’t even have to set the time; you simply turn the cube to the time you want and the timer automatically begins.
I always have a scented candle right next to me on my desk. When unlit, it smells great, and when I need to switch tasks or I’m doing something I would rather not be doing, lighting a candle can help whatever work I’m about to dive into feel less like a chore.
Lately, I’ve been using this candle from Follain, which has notes of white tea, lavender, fig leaf, and basil. It smells amazing.
These little drawer organizers are magic. I have them in all heavily used drawers in the house (shown above in our bathroom) and they truly help me keep each space organized. I’ve found that when everything has its place, I’m able to stay focused a bit more easily and, as a result, get more done.
Everyone has a pen they prefer to write with. I’m a big fan of these MUJI pens—I buy them in bulk so I don’t run out. I love the fine tip, minimal design, lightweight feeling in my hand, and smoothness of the ink. I buy them online but you can swing into a store and find them there as well!
Task lighting is not only good for your eyes, it’s also a great opportunity to bring a little personality to your space. I have an antique dalmatian lamp next to my computer that makes me happy whenever I look at it and provides soft task lighting that’s relaxing. Depending on the mood you like when you work, you can select something modern and sleek like this one from Schoolhouse (which I have in the office as well!), or a sculptural shape like this one from West Elm. Etsy and eBay are my favorite resources for unique lamps like the one I have.
Baskets and boxes are how I keep little bits and bobs organized. It sounds so simple, but when you start hunting for baskets and boxes that are unique or handmade, like the baskets above from Goodee or these baskets on Etsy, it can make the act of staying on top of clutter feel like less of a chore…but maybe that’s just me!
I like to keep a basket under my desk for anything I might need to briefly reference while working, such as brand catalogs. I also have a stack of cigar boxes, purchased secondhand (similar here on Etsy), that are great for storing notecards, thank you cards, etc. Lastly, I have a bin where I store artwork and pictures from the kids, which will eventually move into a filing cabinet or box in the basement, organized by season or year. Once a month I go through what I’ve collected and empty specific bins and baskets that need to be sorted.
I love having file folders that are super sturdy and look good on my desk. Having these on hand makes it easy to file things quickly at the end of each week.
My desktop computer is on a stand that also has a place for storage, which is really nice for storing things that may otherwise become clutter, like miscellaneous notes or AirPods. This one is similar to the stand I have!
Whether its a hard call or you’re feeling depleted from a long day, taking a moment to reset without having to leave the office is helpful. I like to keep a brush, lipstick, relief cream, and face and body oil (among other things…the selection tends to rotate!) at my desk, to freshen up before a Zoom call or reset throughout the day. I call them micro acts of self-care and they really do help.
This isn’t necessarily a product, but a good layout is so key to helping you get into work mode, whether you’re deciding where to set up camp in your living room or you’re in a dedicated home office. My desk is near the window but not facing the window, which allows for natural light sans the outdoor distractions.
It’s also helpful for me to have separate areas for different parts of my workflow, and to break up the minutiae of the day. The daybed is where I’ll take a break or check in on what tasks need to get done, the seating area by the window is my art and creation spot, and my desk is for focused work. You can create these separate areas for yourself in your own home—again, even if it’s simply assigning different seats or rooms for certain tasks.
Tell me, what are your work-from-home essentials?
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BY Kate Arends - March 22, 2021
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.