Advertising
Advertising

Published on December 17, 2020

Lifehack CEO’s Guide To a Super Productive Home Workstation

Lifehack CEO’s Guide To a Super Productive Home Workstation

With the pandemic still raging on, many people are forced to move away from their cubicles to working from home. While these are the circumstances we live in now, people are warming up to the idea of working from home or from other locations beyond a typical office.

Even though this is seen as extra measures during these times, this trend is bound to be a viable and appealing option well after this pandemic too. After all, there has been a shift in work culture and even how we work years before this pandemic started.

But there is one snag to this new trend and that is productivity. While some people have been fine working from home or remotely, newer remote workers have had issues with productivity and adapting to this new lifestyle.

I understand that completely and I know that it can be difficult for you. However, this problem can be solved simply by improving your existing home workstation. Even if it’s not too bad right now, having a workstation geared specifically towards productivity has various benefits. Beyond boosting productivity, it can also enhance focus in various skills, increase comfort and workflow.

Best of all it doesn’t take much to make large improvements. To show that, I want to show you my own workstation and what I use every day to enjoy these benefits.

This is my current home workstation:

    Let’s breakdown my workstation setup so you know the essentials for a productive home workstation:

    A Laptop To Work From Anywhere

    A computer is a necessary part to any home office setup of course, and my choice is the Apple MacBook Pro. It’s an all around good laptop designed for those in the creative spaces

    You can get your Apple MacBook Pro here.

    An Extra Monitor For More Screen Space

    Even with a decent sized laptop, the screen can still be pretty small. For those who need the extra space – like myself – consider getting another monitor. The one that I use is Dell’s UltraSharp monitor. Dell has been in the industry since the beginning and makes affordable and quality monitors. Furthermore, this particular monitor is designed to deliver exceptional visuals using vibrant colors and wide viewing.

    Advertising

    Get Dell’s UltraSharp Monitor here.

    Drop Alt Mechanical Keyboard

    Another consideration is having an alt mechanical keyboard. For my setup, I replaced the mechanical switches from the default brown switches to Kalih Bronze. These new switches allow less key travel and higher typing speed which boosts productivity.

    What’s also nice about this keyboard to me is that it’s wired, ensuring you won’t need batteries. I’ve also gone with the 84 keys profile as that best suits me since it’s longer in width. The wider the keyboard, the further I have to put my mouse away from me. This is good since I want to discourage use of the mouse — it strains my joints if used too much.

    Pick your productivity boosting keyboard here.

    Blank Keycaps For Typing Speed And Less Distractions

    One other productivity hack that I found out over the years is how much letters on the keyboard can be distracting. They’re definitely helpful at first when learning how to type, but after a while, the key labels can be so distracting and stall your productivity.

    To help with that, having blank keycaps for your keyboard can help you in improving your productivity in so many ways. Without key labels on keycaps, it forces you to focus more on your typing skills. At first, it can be difficult to adapt, but over time, your speed will increase as you become more confident in how you navigate around a keyboard.

    Buy some blank keycaps here.

    Wrist Rest To Prevent Strains From Typing

    Comfort is important when working long hours and one item to help with that is padding for the keyboard. This pad is great for the keyboard I’ve got with the width and height being great for me.

    Padding is necessary. Over time, your arms and wrists will strain under prolonged use. It might not seem like it but those issues could translate to health issues which will lower productivity.

    Get your soft wrist rest here to prevent strains.

    An iPad For Small Tasks Done Well

    Tablets are another essential to have as they can be used for a few tasks that laptops struggle to do. I use my iPad for making graphical demonstrations and for ebook reading. This is more optimal than using a laptop, especially when in the middle of a meeting. Beyond that, the lightness of an iPad makes it easy to bring around and to do work in other areas.

    Advertising

    So I recommend you get an iPad to boost your productivity.

    Screen Protector For Tablets To Reduce Smudges And Have Clarity

    Since I occasionally use my iPad for work, to avoid smudges or debris, I’ve got a screen protector for it. This allows for clear sight and avoids second-guessing small details on the screen. These are fairly cheap items but quite necessary. The only thing to look out for with these ones is there is a higher chance of creating air bubbles compared to thicker screen protectors. This can be alleviated through all kinds of methods such as using a credit card to flatten and push the air bubbles out or simply waiting it out. Sometimes air bubbles resolve themselves.

    Buy a paper-feel screen protector here.

    Specialized Stylus For Tablet Use

    Another accessory that I have that’s helpful is the Apple Pencil. This is the best single addition for drawing on iPad’s I’ve seen thus far. It feels a lot like paper when you’re drawing. It’s a wonderful accessory to have for multiple reasons.

    Get the Apple Pencil 2.0 here.

    Keyboard For iPad To Boost Typing Speed

    The iPad has a touch keyboard built in, but sometimes you’d prefer another keyboard beyond that. Beyond that, having an external keyboard can boost productivity since you won’t have to worry so much about pressing the wrong button.

    The magic keyboard from Apple is easy to carry around and you’re able to type much faster on it I find.

    Check out  Apple’s magic keyboard for iPads here.

    High Quality Mouse For Precise Clicking And Navigation

    While you shouldn’t be using your mouse a whole lot when working – depending on your job – having a decent mouse for when you do use it will help. The mouse that I use on occasion is the Razer Basilisk.

    It’s a very sensitive mouse which speeds up the mouse cursor navigation. The faster the mouse travels, the more efficient you’ll be at those precise clicks and boost productivity. This is also wired, so you won’t have to worry about batteries either.

    You can buy Razer Basilisk mouse here. Or get the updated version here.

    Advertising

    Mouse Pad For Smooth Mouse Movement

    On top of a mouse, you also want to get a good mouse pad. The one that I find that works with my setup is Razer’s mouse pad. It further improves the sensitivity and accuracy of the mouse I use which is good enough for me.

    Buy Razer’s mouse pad here to work well with your mouse.

    A Electronic Personal Assistant

    Having an assistant is always helpful and one that I enjoy having around is the Alexa Echo. It offers a whole host of services that can help you out, so I consider it a necessary part of boosting your productivity.

    For a budget friendly option, consider the older version. Or you can get the latest Alexa Echo here.

    A Webcam For Video Calls

    A necessary part of my office setup is my webcam. Even before this pandemic started, I managed my Lifehack team remotely and we do many video conferences. Because of this, having a camera is very important, though I don’t believe you need to get a top of the line webcam.

    The one that I use is the Aukey 1080p webcam. As the name suggests, it captures at 1080p – the highest resolution – so people can see me clearly. The bit of saturation that this webcam provides further enhances that clarity. What’s also nice about this camera is that it’s inexpensive, making it a nice budget option for people.

    Get the Aukey 1080p Webcam here and experience it yourself.

    Earbuds For Deep Concentration

    Another essential piece of tech to help you out is headphones. The ones that I recommend are Airpods. Despite their appearance, these are the best noise cancelling earphones on the market. They’re also quite light making them harder to fall out of your ear provided you’re using them for work purposes. You’ve also got the fact it’s an Apple product, so it can sync up with other Apple products. Get your Apple’s Airpods Pro here.

    If you’re looking for an alternative, you can look to Sony’s WF-1000XM3. These are heavier and can strain your ear, but they’re not that bad of a choice if you need something cheaper.

    Proper Lighting For Moods And Focus

    Setting a mood around your workstation also helps in boosting productivity. And what better mood setting is there than having some decent lighting? These LED stripe lights add a nice touch to the work station, provide different colors for feelings and mood and can be connected to Apple Homekit.

    Get your LED stripe light here.

    Advertising

    Wireless Charger To Charge All Accessories

    Considering the amount of devices that we all have, it’s important to have a charger of some sort. One that I use all the time is the wireless charger from Xiaomi. It only charges your phone, but in this case, it does a good job at that. It’s fashioned in a way that you’ll have a viewable angle of your phone while it’s charging which prevents overcharging. Since it’s wireless, you remove the need of having to deal with more cords.

    Try the Xiaomi’s wireless charger here.

    A Single USB Cable Cord That Can Be Used Anywhere

    USBs are helpful productivity tools as they can be used for all kinds of things.

    The one I use is the one from Baseus. It’s a fast charger cord and works with multiple ports. It can even work as a keyboard cable in a pinch if needed. It’s a generally helpful tool to have. Get the USB cable cord here.

    A Bottle To Keep You Hydrated

    The last part of my setup is a bottle. It’s important for all of us to stay hydrated and one that I like is the BlenderBottle. Out of the many I’ve checked, this is the best bang for the buck. I use it daily as the bottle to hold my protein shake and for water later in the day – I drink about 2.5 to 3 litres per day.

    It’s also very good BPA-free plastic made, safe for washing by hand or in the dishwasher. The only downside to this bottle is that it doesn’t last very long. I go through mine every six months or so. Though, this is to be expected since the bottle itself is cheaply priced. Pick up your bottle here.

    Bottom Line

    So that’s my entire set up that helps me get through the day. I would recommend that you take some of these suggestions to heart, whether that be buying some of these products for yourself or getting alternatives.

    Nevertheless, getting these products has changed my productivity levels for the better and if you’re looking to boost productivity quickly, try these out.

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Woroniecki via unsplash.com

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

    What Is Positive Thinking and How to Always Think Positive Do You Know Your Motivation Style? A Stress-Free Way To Prioritizing Tasks And Ending Busyness How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet) What Is A Flow State And How To Achieve It For Productivity

    Trending in Productivity

    1 How to Increase Willpower and Be Mentally Tough 2 How to Influence People and Make Them Feel Good 3 How to Be a Good Leader and Lead Effectively in Any Situation 4 Does the Pomodoro Technique Work for Your Productivity? 5 A Stress-Free Way To Prioritizing Tasks And Ending Busyness

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on March 23, 2021

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

    One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

    The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

    You need more than time management. You need energy management

    1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

    How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

    Advertising

    I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

    I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

    2. Determine your “peak hours”

    Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

    Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

    Advertising

    My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

    In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

    Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

    3. Block those high-energy hours

    Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

    Advertising

    Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

    If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

    That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

    There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

    Advertising

    Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

    Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

    Read Next