Since I began building my business in earnest about two years ago (and made the leap to full-time solopreneurship almost two years ago), my home office has undergone approximately 67 iterations.
As a serial furniture rearranger and someone with packrat tendencies, I know it will never be a static environment, but I’ve finally settled into something that’s working—and a desk space that I love.
Last summer I finally invested in a computer that I can rely on without worrying about sudden restarts or having to wait forever just for a new Word doc to open. I stuck with a laptop so I can stay mobile—for those days that I’d rather spend in a coffee shop or the library—but added a dock so I can use extra screens. And then I bought two 27-inch monitors that allow me to easily write, edit, and proofread without straining my eyes (see, Ali, I hear you!).
And because my work is nearly exclusively performed on a computer, I try to prioritize ergonomics: a split keyboard, an ergonomic mouse, and a clamp to keep my monitors at eyelevel will (hopefully) help keep discomfort and problems like carpal tunnel at bay.
And for focus, I’ve found that wearing headphones can help, even if I’m only listening to white noise or not actually listening to anything at all, and these noise-cancelling wireless cans are perfect for the job.
It seems like I slogged through about a million pages of desks and tables before I found a cheap white table that’s large enough to accommodate all three screens (and the miscellaneous stuff that inevitably accumulates wherever I’m sitting for hours at a time) while still leaving some room for a notebook or a microwaved quesadilla. Plus, I just got this sweet chair that lets me sit cross-legged without risking weird leg cramps.
I of course need plenty of space to store books, whether they’re my most reliable resources or my novel-of-the-moment or reflection journals. Ali and I have several large bookshelves that hold the majority of our library, but I also use some floating shelves above my desk, a rolling metal cart, and a TV tray to keep certain titles close by.
My favorite analog office supplies are the narrow spiral-at-the-top reporter’s notebooks, tiny Post-it Notes, and Pilot P-700 pens. I usually have at least two of each nearby! I often write things down first—notes from calls, random thoughts, to-do lists and reminders, even first drafts—and then transfer them to my digital calendars and tools. (Not efficient, I guess, but that’s the system.)
Winter would be much harder to get through without a “happy light,” one of those ultra-bright desk lamps designed to help you through the perils of seasonal affective disorder with light therapy. Light has generally become an important element of my office; I often have small lamps, string lights, or candles to keep the space filled with warm light. Not missing the fluorescent office lights here!
What favorite tools do you always keep at your desk?