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Published on November 30, 2020

11 Upgrades For a Better Home Office Setup

11 Upgrades For a Better Home Office Setup

Working from home is the new norm with the pandemic and with a rise of people looking to start their own business, however not every person is prepared to do that. Even with this pandemic going on for so long, there are still many people who decide to work from a couch or in a kitchen. That or maybe you’ve scrounged up some money to get a few used furniture for you new office.

Regardless of the circumstances, upgrading your home office setup is important. With every passing year, there are new office furniture that can help you be more productive, organized, and more. While you don’t need to upgrade everything every year, it’s still important to upgrade where you can and once every year or so. With that in mind, we prepared a list of some of the ideal home office upgrades to consider.

What Makes These Items Ideal Upgrades?

Before getting into the list, we want to explain why these items are for you. Based on our research, we’re recommending these items as they fit the following criteria:

  • Long-Lasting: This list has some serious high-priced upgrades in their respective categories, however, they’re worth it as they’re made by quality brands. Buying any of the items from this list will ensure that you’re keeping these products around for well over 3 years making it a quality investment.
  • Trusted – Our recommendations are from trusted brands that have a history of providing great quality. Many of these products are products with 4-star ratings or higher from reviewers.
  • Multi-purpose – These upgrades aren’t only for looks but they also improve your overall quality of life. Whether these help you in boosting your health, happiness, or productivity, you’re getting more out of these products than an expensive item that looks nice.

An Ergonomic Chair For Better Posture And Productivity

    How often does this happen – you’ve slumped over your desk with your neck craned over for so long that what was once an annoying ache has become a health concern. Part of the reason that happens so often is many jobs these days require us to sit and chairs. Furthermore, it’s only been in the past few decades where we’ve had decent chairs.

    These days an ergonomic chair is even more important as they are designed to support your lumbar – or lower back. This will mitigate lower back pain and allow you to have more focus on your work. Science even backs this up with a 2003 study finding that employees working in ergonomic chairs reported less negative symptoms and a productivity increase of 17.7%.[1]

    In terms of a proper chair though there are many cheap brands out there with decent chairs, though those aren’t an upgrade. What is an upgrade is getting a chair from a well-known brand like Herman Miller. They build quality ergonomic chairs that are built to last you for years while still providing great quality.

    Buy the Hermon Miller Aeron Chair here.

    Good Quality Speakers To Crank Tunes For Focus And Productivity

      Depending on the beats that you are playing, music can help you get energized or allow you to relax. Either way, these two things will help in improving your productivity. One study from the University of Miami found that those who were listening to music while working finished their tasks with superior quality and speed compared to those without.

      To have an upgrade in your office, it would be good to have a quality sound system. We suggest the Sonos Play1 Speakers. These allow you to play your favourite mood music and wash out ambient distractions and improve your overall focus. In terms of what kind of music works, we suggest getting simple chord progressions, instrumentals or catchy rhythms.

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      Buy Sonos Play 1 Speakers here.

      Soft Light Desk Lamps For Optic & Mentality

        Another part of the desk and a productive work environment is a soft light desk lamp. A soft glow gives your work environment a warm, cozy feeling that mellows the environment and makes it feel less stressful.

        There are also studies that show that exposure to natural light during the day will make a positive impact on mental and physical health as well.[2] So letting the blinds open and the light pour in will help too.

        Our pick of a soft light desk lamp was the Xiaomi Mi LED desk lamp. It has a great light to not cause eye strain and sets a great mood to get into work mode. It also has wifi capabilities which allows you to change the brightness and color temperature amongst other things.

        Get the Xiaomi Mi LED Desk Lamp here.

        A Wireless Keyboard For Relaxed And Speedy Hands

          After spending a lot of time focusing on work, the last thing you want is your wrists and hand to be straining from craning your hands onto a keyboard. Rather than grinning and bearing it, invest in an external keyboard. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome isn’t a pleasant thing to be dealing with. Especially if you plan on working at a desk typing away.

          On top of that, incorporating more ergonomics in your life can improve your overall productivity while of course lowering your risk of causing your body harm. One study conducted by ChevronTexaco found that implementing ergonomic accessories, 44% of the participants reported lower risk levels of injuries, boosted productivity and morale.[3]

          There are many quality external keyboards out there but one brand that is reliable is Logitech. They’ve developed all kinds of devices – including ergonomic keyboards. This upgrade will move your standard keyboard to wireless while also providing a pad for your wrists to rest. It’s a great and affordable upgrade.

          Buy Logitech Wireless Ergonomic Keyboard here.

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          Desks Can Define A Person But Also How Well They Work

            Just as a chair is important, your desk as well can play an important role in your overall comfort. Furthermore sitting at a desk all day can give you a risk towards diabetes and weight gain. With that in mind – and following recent trends in desks – it makes sense to go with a desk that requires you to stand up. After all, standing up will do the opposite.[4]

            For those who have bought a chair though, we wanted to ensure you get the best of both worlds. As such, our recommendation is Vivo’s adjustable converter workstation desk. Not only can it turn into a standing desk for you to work at, you can also bring it back down so you can sit down at it.

            Buy Vivo Adjustable Converter Workstation Desk here.

            A White Board For Ideas and Inspiration

            Despite us having all kinds of technology at our disposal, there are still some limitations in what we have. One aspect of it is that many of us are working on 13” or 23” monitors with that monitor already maxed out leaving little room for anything else.

            In these kinds of circumstances, it’s opportunities of having older accessories that can be helpful. In this case – a whiteboard.

            A whiteboard is able to give you an alternative for jotting down ideas or brainstorming whatever. It’s essentially a space that you can capitalize for all kinds of things. It’s a huge boost in your productivity.

            Our pick is the Lockways Magnetic Dry Erase Board. It’s smooth scratch resistant surfaces ensure it won’t get damaged too quickly. It’s also very easy to clean up anything off of it.

            Buy Lockways Magnetic Dry Erase Board here.

            A Reliable WiFi Router To Keep Your Internet Going

            Since a lot of our work is internet-based – and the fact many work from home – having a stable connection is vital. Since you are at the mercy of your internet provider, having a reliable router beyond the one they provided will ensure you won’t get spotty wifi.

            A good upgrade for a router is the Netgear Nighthawk Smart Wifi Router. It offers fast performance speed with a wireless coverage of 1500 square feet. It can work with upwards of 25 different devices making it a fantastic productivity tool.

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            Buy Netgear Nighthawk Smart Wifi Router here.

            A Trusty Laptop That You Can Count On Not To Crash

            With Mac’s getting an upgraded OS recently, many of the older models probably aren’t able to keep up with the latest versions. Or perhaps Apple is done upgrading them. If that’s the case, it might be a good enough time right now to get an upgrade of your computer.

            Not only will you be getting faster loading speeds with more recent models, but there is a certain level of satisfaction that comes from getting a new – or new to you – computer. That said, it’s important that you consider your own needs for what you are looking for in a computer. Unlike the rest of the other items on this list, do give some thought about an adequate computer.

            If you’re looking for a suggestion, one that we consider a sizable upgrade is the Apple MacBook Pro. It has a 13” monitor and is one of the strongest macbooks around offering 8 gigabytes of ram and 256 gigabytes of SSD storage. Beyond that, it offers a host of other features including a magic keyboard making it easy to navigate and access features quickly, more colors, true tone technology, and wide stereo sound.

            Buy the Apple Macbook Pro here.

            Large External Monitors To Ensure A Screen Doesn’t Get Cluttered.

            Whether you’re getting a laptop or a desktop, chances are the monitor alone isn’t going to be enough. Similar to the white board, having another space to place stuff can be helpful in your line of work.

            In the case of another monitor it allows you the opportunity to save yourself time from hopping between tab to tab or program to program. In fact one study found that by having a second monitor, people’s productivity increased by 20 to 30 percent.

            When going for a second monitor, you want something with a readable screen and one that doesn’t cause headaches or eye strain. Also as a rule, the larger the monitor the better it will serve you as well since it’ll save you from scrolling.

            Our recommendation is the Asus ZenScreen. It’s a 15.6 inch monitor making it portable compared to other monitors. It also is designed to prevent eye strain.

            Buy the Asus ZenScreen here.

            Chargers To Keep All Those Devices Going

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              The last upgrade on the list is of course a charger. With so many devices these days that operate on batteries or need charging, you need a quality charger to keep everything going. Even if you’re not the most tech-obsessed individual the average person at least has four or five devices they use on the regular that need charging.

              But you don’t want to settle with any plain charger though. One we consider as an upgrade is Anker’s Powercore Fusion 5000. The Powercore Fusion combines the reliability of a wall charger and the convenience of it being portable as well. The beauty of this charger is that it charges up your devices – which it can charge many at once – before it recharges itself.

              Buy Anker Powercore Fusion here.

              A Mat To Mark A Devoted Exercise Spot To Boost Circulation And Help With Posture

              One next-level productivity hack is having designated spots for various activities and having rooms devoted to specific environments. On top of that even if you have the comfiest chair in the world, sitting down all day isn’t the healthiest for you.

              You can hit two birds with one stone by investing in a quality yoga mat. Not only can you use this as marking a section of your office for exercise but you can also combat poor posture that a sedentary desk life gives you.

              Even if you’re not big into yoga, there are a ton of basic exercises that you can do. Furthermore, many companies like GM, Google, Apple and Forbes offer classes to their employees. There are a lot of benefits to yoga beyond helping with posture. It also reduces joint and back pain and can energize you too.

              While you can get any simple mat on the cheap, if you want to make a better return on your investment, we suggest the Liforme yoga mat. It is designed to be the most innovative yoga mat on the market with great grip, extreme comfort, and comes with an alignment program. It’s even biodegradable making it environmentally friendly.

              Buy Liforme Yoga Mat here.

              Bottom Line

              With technology developing at such a rapid pace, there are bound to be tonnes and tonnes of upgrades to these devices in the near future. What matters the most, though, isn’t about keeping up with trends but knowing when it’s time to let go of old gear and move on to better gear.

              With this list, you can be safe with purchasing and leveraging these items for several years to come, improving your productivity thoroughly while keeping up with the current trends.

              Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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              Published on January 7, 2021

              How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

              How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

              Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

              If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

              Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

              You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

              When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

              Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

              In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

              Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

              3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

              Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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              1. Respect deadlines
              2. Understand the work-flow plan
              3. Build in time to mess up

              1. Respect Deadlines

              Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

              One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

              2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

              Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

              3. Build in Time to Mess Up

              You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

              Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

              For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

              Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

              This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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              Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

              Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

              Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

              When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

              12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

              Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

              1. Learn to Listen Well

              You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

              Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

              2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

              Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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              3. Follow Rules

              Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

              4. Take Notes

              Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

              5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

              When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

              As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

              6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

              If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

              7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

              English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

              8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

              Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

              9. Minimize Distractions

              It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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              If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

              10. Take Breaks

              It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

              11. Make Time for Reflection

              At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

              12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

              This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

              Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

              Final Thoughts

              Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

              When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

              More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

              Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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