My home office used to be a piece of crap. And it left me with a bad back.
The environment you choose to be creative in affects your mood and your work. If your home office is a warzone, your work will be messy and all over the place too.
Organize your home office and radically improve your life — and your writing.
I have written thousands of blog posts on the internet and reached millions of people as a result. I don’t want a medal or any praise. This is not a humblebrag. This is a chance to level-up your work by redesigning your home office to work for you rather than against you.
You can use what I’m about to show you to become a better writer or make the new world of working from home support your work goals.
There will be no BS, affiliate links, secret commissions, deals under the table that lead to a Lambo or mindless promotion. I’m going to tell you my exact home office setup (with photos) to inspire your own and help you get into the best creative period of your life. Here we go.
The Philosophy Behind the Office Choices
You need a work from home philosophy before you go out and reorganize your home office. My approach is always to keep things minimalist. Why?
Clutter distracts you. Too many tools become overwhelming.
Too many tools lead to over-optimizing. Let me give you an example. When I was a sound engineer I used these things called VSTs. VSTs are just software instruments that musicians use to make sound.
You don’t need many to make music. You know how many I had? Hundreds. And I never used most of them in any of my music. My entire life was dedicated to collecting software instruments rather than making music. That ridiculous habit contributed to me giving up music altogether, after being a musician for several decades.
You can get so lost in the shiny toys that you never do any creative work. Your work matters more than the tools you use.
A rusty Macbook Pro from ten years back can still help you write your dreams into reality. You don’t need the best. Ever.
Here is everything that is in my home office.
A Stand Up Desk
I use a stand up desk from Ikea called a “Bekant.” It won’t break the bank and it’s durable. The one function it is missing is the ability to have presets for different heights. It’s not a big deal though.
The trick with a stand up desk for a six-foot giant like me is to have one that goes quite high. The Ikea one, when I bought it, was one of the few that did. It also has a decent warranty in case the electronics break and the desk falls on my Michael Jordan sized delicate feet.
If you want to work for long periods of time in your home office, then I’ve found, you must be able to alternate between standing and sitting. A stand up desk will help you work for longer and keep your back from looking like an eighty-year-old man’s.
A Single Screen Computer
This tip is controversial. We’ve been taught to have multiple screens to be more productive. I used to be a two-screen warrior too. I changed back to one screen because I found when I was out and about and couldn’t have two screens I couldn’t work.
I became so reliant on two screens that anything less just wouldn’t work. So I weaned myself off of a two-screen productivity addiction.
This led me to buy a 2017 Apple iMac. The screen is 27-inch and big enough to do everything I need. I use the expose function to switch between windows. Frankly, I don’t miss the second screen. The second screen just led me to attempt and fail at multitasking.
When I travel I take my 2012 Macbook Pro with me because if I lose it, I won’t cry. It’s worth less than $100 after so many years.
Not having expensive tools is a huge stress relief.
A Comfortable Chair
In 2009 after the global recession I went office chair shopping. I got sick and tired of having to go to the local office supplies store every two years and buy a new chair. So, I decided to go all out.
I discovered these crazy chairs made by “Aeron.”
They cost around $1500 at the time. I made the impulse purchase and wasn’t disappointed.
Since that day I have never had to buy another office chair. The chair is comfortable and indestructible. It came with a 10-year warranty.
When my skinny ass broke the chair the manufacturer sent a van to my house and swapped it out for a chair they lent me. I sat my delicate tooshie on that chair while they repaired my original chair. Within a few days my original chair came back and was fixed.
Buying a good office chair is good for your soul. Spending your life with one chair is like finding the love of your life.
Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones
My girlfriend became obsessed with noise-canceling headphones. I told her it was a ridiculous indulgence at nearly $500 a pop. I use (and still do) an old pair of Sennheiser EH2200 headphones that I’ve had since I studied sound engineering. They are more than 15 years old and still going.
But here’s the thing: I was wrong.
I borrowed my girlfriend’s noise-canceling headphones and never gave them back. The day I tried her headphones I noticed that the white noise they pumped into my big dumbo ears canceled out all the sound that would interrupt me when I tried to write. I could run the tap with nothing but white noise playing and not hear a thing.
Noise-canceling headphones enhanced my flow states.
Something else unexpected happened: I can walk around without the cord acting like a leash that keeps me chained to my desk all day. So when I get up for breaks I can walk around and keep the music playing. What this does is stop me from breaking my flow state. I stay in flow whilst I take a break.
Staying in flow saves me the time and hassle trying to get back into flow.
When my ears get tired from the Bose headphones (and they do), I switch back to my old Sennheisers to get rid of the discomfort.
A Subtle Indoor Plant
Greenery enhances your mood. And indoor pot plants clean the air. I have been in love with indoor plants for years. Having one pot plant in your office reminds you that you too are a living thing. Nature relaxes the mind too.
A Decent Webcam
I learned the hard way recently when I tried to film my first online course. My buddy Todd said “you look like an ax murderer hiding in the dark.”
He was right. The standard webcam that comes with most computers is rubbish. So I invested $349 in a Logitech Brio webcam. The biggest difference was, even in my dark home office, the video was significantly brighter than my old webcam. I almost didn’t need to buy any lights because the brightness and clarity of the image was so clear, even in low light.
Now I can record courses and speak to people via Google Meet without my face being hidden in darkness.
With the world switching to a work from home culture, a clear image of you on video chats is crucial so people can look into the eyes of a human.
A Cheap Lighting Kit
I bought two 10-watt Neewer lights from Amazon for $60. I have both of them shining on me during video calls or when I record course videos. They brighten up my face and allow the person on the other end of the video to see my eyes and therefore, see my soul.
You don’t need to go fancy with lighting. A few small lights can make your videos come alive — whether you’re a Youtuber, writer, gamer or 9–5 worker.
A Pair of Speakers
This one is optional. I like a set of speakers in my office so I can give my ears a rest from headphones. There are times when you want to listen to something without headphones. I bought a pair of Adam Audio speakers two years ago. They aren’t too expensive but they really do make listening to music a joy. They also make movies come alive on the screen too.
A Remote Controlled Powerboard
I discovered these bad boys back at school. Normally your powerboard that supplies electricity to your office equipment sits under your desk. To save electricity, you can turn off your powerboard at the wall without bending over and showing your ass crack to the world.
All you need is a powerboard that comes with a remote control. You put the remote control next to your keyboard and that allows you to turn off anything you have plugged in.
Okay, I’m a trampoline psycho. A trampoline is a good way to take a break and move your body without leaving your home office.
I spent $800 on a Bellicon Trampoline about five years ago after seeing Tony Robbins use one backstage at his mammoth live events, where he’s presenting for 12 hours straight. The springs are bungee cords rather than the traditional metal springs you see on trampolines at the gym, so they don’t squeak like you’re having sex.
Moving your body keeps your energy levels high.
What Is Still Missing?
My home office isn’t perfect. Sorry.
Because I rent a student apartment with my girlfriend I have no artwork — to avoid marking the walls. Art on your office walls helps inspire you.
The other key feature that is missing is a bookcase to display books like Think and Grow Rich or Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search For Meaning that changed my life. My home office is tiny so there just isn’t room for a bookcase.
Place items around you that remind you of the people you love and why you write.
That’s How You Setup Your Home Office to Make Your Writing Come Alive.
After writing thousands of articles on the internet and reaching millions of people, this is the home office that has worked for me. It’s the same office I use for my 9–5 job, too, when working from home.
Remember this when designing your home office:
- You are going to spend a lot of hours in your office.
- You want to be comfortable.
- Less is more (in life too).
- Your space is a reflection of you.
- Let your office inspire you.
Mess and clutter are the enemy of a productive home office.
Your home office can make you more productive when it’s designed to support your goals and remind you of why you work.