The Perfect Remote Work Setup and Routine (For Me)
A few material things to make your quarantine life more comfortable — and some helpful tips so you can stay sane too.
Quarantine has been stressful for all of us, and if you have the luxury of working from home, your setup is an essential factor in keeping you happy and productive. Since nobody knows how long these conditions are going to last, it is worth investing some money (if you can afford it) on some sweet gear. Also, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a “perfect” setup so do what works best for you and make it unique to your taste since everyone has different needs!
I have used a lot of desks throughout high school and college, but I wanted to get a nice one for my home office once I started my first job. This desk is by far the best one I have ever used as it has a large surface, ample storage, and a reasonable price point. I think it is an excellent desk for anyone.
Chair — High Back Office Chair
If you work a desk job like me, you’re likely sitting for the majority of your day. Do your body a favor and get a cushy office chair. Chairs can get pretty expensive, so don’t cheap out here — your comfort is essential for productivity, and a bad posture could lead to even worse outcomes down the road. I use this chair, and I recommend it because it’s comfortable, provides much-needed neck support, and doesn’t break the bank. If you have a more flexible budget and want the absolute best chair that will last forever, consider the Steelcase Gesture chair.
Laptop — Apple MacBook Air
The MacBook Air needs no introduction. If you are (or are looking to be) a Mac user and won’t be doing any intensive tasks such as video editing or graphic design, this is the perfect machine for you. If you do need more power and want a larger screen, consider the 16” Macbook Pro (but it will cost you a lot more).
Monitor — LG 4k Monitor
Consider purchasing a monitor for your work setup if you’re tired of staring at your tiny laptop screen all day for all your work, gaming, and streaming needs. These can get pretty expensive too, so you must opt for a model that fits you and your needs. For example, I wanted to be able to attach a single cable to connect and charge my MacBook to my display simultaneously, so I only considered Thunderbolt 3 monitors.
Headphones — Sony WH-1000XM3
I love listening to music when I work and get distracted very easily. Noise-canceling headphones help me tune out my background and help me get into a flow state to do my best work.
Keyboard — Logitech MX Keys
If you bought a monitor, you probably don’t want to continue typing on your laptop keyboard. Buy a wireless keyboard that has a long-lasting battery life, feels great to type on, and can connect to multiple devices at once.
Mouse — Logitech MX Master 3
This is the best mouse ever (if you’re right-handed). Hands down. You will feel more productive, and you will be more productive. Buy this mouse. Trust me.
Wireless Charger — RAVPower Wireless Charging Stand
I love this wireless charging stand from RavPower because it makes it easy to peek at my phone notifications while I’m working while making it easy to grab and go when I need to use it. I’ve found the angle on this stand to be much better positioned than any alternatives, and the materials are high quality. It’s pretty affordable, too, so you can’t go wrong with this accessory.
Speaker — Sonos One
This one’s a bonus because if you already have a nice pair of headphones, you likely won’t be using your speakers very much when you’re working. It’s nice to have, though, for those times when you just want to put something on in the background. The Sonos One delivers an excellent combination of quality sound, connection, and voice assistant support that should cover all your audio needs.
Air Purifier — Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier
A global pandemic won’t stop your allergies from affecting you. An air purifier helps keep allergens like dust and pollen out so you can breathe easy when stuck indoors.
Humidifier — Levoit Humidifier
A good humidifier can help relieve dry skin, nosebleeds, and cracked lips.
Candle — Yankee Candle, Balsam & Cedar
A sweet-smelling candle can help you relax while reminding you of the great outdoors you’re sorely missing. Yankee Candle makes some of the best in the business, and this one smells especially high.
Some Tips to Keep You Productive and Sane
A sweet setup isn’t always enough to keep you motivated and productive while working from home. It’s easy to feel tired and overwhelmed when the entire world seems to be burning outside. I’m not perfect, but I’ve been able to do follow somewhat of a routine to keep myself focused on my responsibilities. Consistency is the best way to keep some sense of normalcy these days, and it surely helps to keep me sane.
Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.
Set an alarm and wake up at the time you should actually be at work. For me, that’s around 9:15 so I’m up no later than 8 am to prepare for the day ahead. It’s hard to force your mind to go into a productive state when we have no strict start to our most productive part of our day, and it’s easy just to stay up late and sleep in. By setting a strict time to sleep and a strict time to wake up, you will be more productive when you try to get your work done.
Shower and get dressed every morning.
It is so tempting to not shower until later in the day when you wake up and don’t have to go out anywhere. However, I suggest taking a shower first thing in the morning to get yourself into the mindset that you’re about to get stuff done. After your shower, wear some clean clothes (anything but your pajamas) to give you a little confidence boost and tell your brain that it’s not time to lounge around, but time to save the world.
Don’t try to get work done in bed.
Use my recommendations above to create your dream desk set up to motivate you to work at your desk! If you don’t have a desk, work at your kitchen table or on your couch. Just don’t try to be productive wherever you sleep, because your results will not be very impressive. Separate the areas you relax from the areas you work — your beautiful brain will thank you.
Set your work hours in stone.
It’s a stressful time to be alive, so tell yourself (and your coworkers if you have to) that you are only going to be working from x to y. Force yourself to stop working when you say you will, and take care of yourself. Spend time with your family or roommates, take a walk, watch a movie, bake a cake, anything to remind yourself that your workday is done and that you can actually relax.
Exercise every day.
It’s important to stay active when all the gyms are closed and you’re sitting around all day with nothing to do but eat snacks. At-home workout equipment is flying off the virtual shelves but if you are able to find some that you like then buy it ASAP. Maintaining a healthy fitness routine is important and worth the upfront investment.
1. Stretching — Get a Foam Roller
Foam rolling before working out can increase tissue elasticity, range of motion and circulation to help you move better during your workout and protect you from injury. Use your foam roller after your workout to enhance recovery.
2. Weights — Get Dumbells
If you miss lifting at your local gym like me, buy some dumbells! They are easy to store out of the way in your closet or under your bed and there’s a ton of dumbell-only workout routines out there. Here’s my favorite one:
3. Cardio — Get a Jump Rope
Some people love running. I hate it. Instead, I use a jump rope to get me sweating and burning calories. Here’s what Men’s Health had to say about it:
A widely cited study found that jumping rope is one of the most effective cardio exercises out there — and it can whip you into shape with just a few minutes a day of skipping. In the study, after six weeks of daily 10-minute jump-rope exercises, participants demonstrated the same levels of improvement to their cardiovascular health as individuals who jogged for 30 minutes a day. As it turns out, just jumping up and down is a more efficient workout than pounding the pavement — achieving the same results in a fraction of the time. According to research, jumping rope at a moderate pace roughly equivocates to running an eight-minute-mile. Plus, it burns more calories per minute and engages more muscles than swimming or rowing, while still qualifying as a low-impact workout.
4. Bodyweight — Use a Yoga Mat
If you do yoga you probably already own one, but Yoga mats are also useful for doing bodyweight exercises (pushups, situps, planks) without getting your gross sweat all over the floor at home.
Thanks for reading! Please remember to stay safe, stay indoors, and try your best to stay relaxed. For more information regarding how to protect yourself and others during the COVID-19 pandemic please refer to the guidelines provided by the CDC.