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Published on December 17, 2020

Lifehack CEO’s Guide To a Super Productive Home Workstation

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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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

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    Last Updated on October 21, 2021

    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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    How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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