Set up your workspace so that it gets you in the flow of work by removing stress points and supporting your focus and productivity.
How many times have you been through this little escapade?

You’re searching for that one little note you jotted down the other day.

You shuffle through random sheets of coffee-ring stained papers, peek under your laptop, flip through your notebook, look under your desk on the floor and it’s nowhere to be found.

Where the fuck is it?!

You know you wrote it down somewhere.

Your desk is as much of a disaster zone as your thoughts.

You’ve got a shit load of things to do and this one little note is key to one of your current tasks that you need to get done now.

Your home office isn’t exactly set up as well as your desk at work. First off, it definitely isn’t as spacious. It makes all the clutter even denser and pretty much eliminates any bit of open desk space.

Sometimes, just finding a damn pen can be a challenge.

Millions of people that are working from home deal with this all too often.

You can tolerate a certain level of clutter, but there’s a breaking point for everyone.

And when you start losing your shit daily about not finding a small note or a pen, it’s time to hit the reset button and make a change for the better - one that will stick.

How Optimizing Your Home Office Boosts Joy

You know that feeling when you’ve just finished a little side project?

It’s things like framing and hanging some new pictures, assembling Ikea furniture, finishing a jigsaw puzzle, etc.

When you’re done and you can see the final results of your efforts, it feels great and you celebrate your victories, no matter how small. The sense of accomplishment that comes from taking something from bits and pieces to a finished thing is awesome.

The same feelings can also happen with your work too.

Maybe, you’ve experienced a bit of spreadsheet euphoria when all the excel formulas worked perfectly or felt like an Oscar-winning movie director when you’ve crafted the perfect Powerpoint narrative to explain your strategy or recommendation.

It feels good doesn’t it?

Well, guess what?

Your workspace has a lot to do with it.

When your desk is set up just right, things just happen more fluidly with much less friction and angst. All of the things you need to get shit done are all where they need to be without encroaching on your space.

When your workspace is not getting in your way but flowing with you, you’ll get in the zone with work and become unstoppable.

And when you’re unstoppable, you’re knocking out tasks left and right and making real progress on projects. This creates a sense of positivity at work that makes your job more fulfilling and awesomer.

You’ve created an ideal environment that allows you to get shit done, you’re making progress. And, when you’re making progress, you feel great.

Design A Workspace That Works With You, Not Against You

Having the right tool for the job can make life so much easier. It’s like using a hammer to drive in a nail and not your remote control.

Well, your workspace is basically a bunch of tools all in one spot. And if you can get these tools arranged and set up in a way that flows with your working style, then you’ll have less annoying friction in your day.

This isn’t about having a spotless and sterile workspace - that’s fake Instagram bullshit.

This is about creating a workspace that helps you get in the groove with work.

1) Create A Dedicated Workspace

In the best of situations, your workspace is a dedicated home office with its own room. This is the most ideal set-up as it creates a well-defined zone that’s free of other distractions. If you have this, consider yourself lucky.

However, there are lots of folks that don’t have this kind of multi-room luxury and have to make do with a workspace area. This could be having a desk off to one side of your bedroom or in the corner of your living room.

Wherever this working zone is located, be sure that it’s dedicated to work.

Meaning, your desk shouldn’t be the dining table or the coffee table in the living room. Otherwise, that kind of intermingling makes it that much harder to disconnect from WFH at the end of the day.

If at all possible, position your desk by the window to maximize the amount of natural light and get a nice view of the outside for when you need to stare off into the distance to think or zone out for a bit.

2) Clean & Organize To Your Level

Everyone has different levels of cleanliness and organization. Some people are absolute neat-freaks where if a pen was out of place, they’d go bat-shit crazy. Others are okay with having controlled piles of chaos.

You know yourself best on what your tolerance level is for orderliness. But, everyone has a breaking point on messiness. As a general rule of thumb, less mess means less stress.

So, declutter and tidy up your workspace area to the point where it makes you feel good and where you know where everything is. A little digital decluttering wouldn’t hurt either.

If you really wanna bring on the good vibes, Feng Shui your desk and you’ll up the positive energy factor.

3) Set Up Desk Zones

There are three types of working zones for a desk that you should aim to create.

The first is the primary working zone. This is the space right in front of you at the desk. Usually, this is occupied by your computer, keyboard and mouse. Go wireless on both if you can. Keep this space open and clear so that you can type and click without interference.

The secondary zone is immediately off to either your left or right, depending on which is your dominant writing hand. This is the ideal spot to keep your notepad and pen handy to take fast notes.

The third and final zone is the accessory zone. This is where you’ll want to keep your phone, headphones, cup of coffee and other miscellaneous bits. If your desk was like a clock, this accessory zone would be either at 10 o’clock or 2 o’clock.

4) Set Display Distance & Set Resolution

To minimize digital eye strain, you want to set up your display so that you’re not struggling to see or read what’s on the screen. This is a two-part process.

First, you want to have the right amount of viewing distance. The ideal distance is about an arm’s length away for a normal-sized monitor. If you’ve got a large wide-screen monitor, then you’ll want to increase that distance a bit.

If you’re just using a laptop, then you’re relegated to viewing the display closer because of the keyboard access.

Next, check your monitor’s display settings, specifically the resolution and aspect ratios. Try a few settings and see how it looks. Go with the one that provides the best balance for you.

Finally, if you can swing it, get a second monitor. Being able to see two things at once without flipping between programs is a huge productivity benefit. 

5) Pad Up Your Wrists 

When you’re typing and mouse clicking all day long, it’s a good idea to have a bit of extra wrist support. When you can elevate your wrists a bit, you’ll be leveling out your wrist to a more flatter angle.

You can raise and support your wrists with keyboard and mouse pads. Or, if you don’t want to buy those things, you can just use a small folded towel. It’s the same overall effect and benefit.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to do simple hand and wrist stretches throughout the day to relieve cramps.

6) Support Your Ass & Back 

When you’re working from home, you’re not getting up as often because all of your meetings are via video or phone. You could be sitting on your ass for hours. This leads to dead butt syndrome.

Set-up your chair so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and fully supported. This will minimize the two hotspots under your ass bones.

And for lower back and lumbar support, try using a rolled-up towel between your lower back and the seatback. This will give you a bit more support.

And don’t forget, every once in a while, get off your ass and do micro exercises to prevent stiffness or soreness from sitting. Or, do walking conference calls whenever possible.

Keep your body moving!

7) Adjust Lighting For Work & Video Calls

Lighting is paramount for WFH. You don’t want to work in a dimly lit room. It’ll just make reading notes that much harder and viewing a bright screen more straining.

Balance out the lighting and position your desk lamp to cast an evenly lit area across your primary and secondary working zones. You want soft lighting that’s not shining directly into your eyes.

You also want to be sure that you can adjust the lighting for video calls too. There’s nothing worse than seeing just a shadowy figure on the screen. If possible, bounce the light off of the ceiling or wall to help diffuse the light.

And, don’t forget about video call dress codes too. At the minimum, you want to be presentable up top. You can go pantless down below if you really want to.

8) Set Up Your Sounds Or Audio

There’s basically two main camps about working with sounds - those that like or want sounds and those that don’t.

It all depends on how the gears in your head turn and whether or not the specific task is suited for listening to sounds. You could be in both camps depending on what you’re working on.

For some, listening to music with lyrics makes reading impossible. However, that same music could provide the perfect vibe for putting the final creative touches on a presentation deck or crunching numbers.

Or maybe, it’s not music that you need but some ambient background noise - kinda like a coffee shop atmosphere. Maybe even just turning on the TV for background noise is the ideal solution.

Whatever it is that you need in terms of your sounds or music for work (or no sounds at all), get it set up with your headphones when you’re ready to dive in.

9) Use Power Strips For Easy Access

Life is full of devices that need constant recharging. This includes your laptop, display, phone, smart speakers, headphones, etc.

Having to crawl under your desk every single time to plug and unplug chargers is a royal pain in the ass. So, make your life easier by mounting a power strip along the back edge of your desk using velcro or double-sided tape.

This will make it super easy to get to your plugs and also keep most of the wires hanging behind your desk and out of sight.

And a little life hack - save those small plastic bread bag clips. They’re perfect for keeping cables grouped together and organized.

10) Create A Task List Board

This is a great little trick to keep yourself on track with all the random shit you need to get done.

The idea is to have a task list that is mounted on the wall facing you, adjacent to or just off to the side of your monitor. This will ensure that you see it throughout the day.

You can either use a mini-whiteboard or more simply, just a sheet of paper.

You can download a pre-made task sheet from our ultimate guide to getting in the zone. Tape it to the wall every week or as a daily to-do list and every time you complete a task, cross it off and do a little fist pump.

11) Get The Temperature Right

The ideal temperature for sleeping is 65 F. It’s just cool enough to make you want to burrow in a blanket and doze off to sleep.

The same principle applies for work too.

According to OSHA, the recommended working temperature range for offices is between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit. And of course, your ideal temperature will be different from others.

This study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that the most ideal temperature is right around 70 F. Temperatures above or below that tend to reduce productivity.

So, set your room temperature around that spot, give or take a few degrees to your liking. This will keep you comfortable and focused.

12) Check Your Internet Speed

When you’re working from home, having a strong and stable internet access connection is a must. There’s nothing more annoying than having your video calls freeze up and waiting forever for file downloads. Or the worst, not being able to access email at all.

When you’ve got zippy and consistent internet access, it makes work so much easier and more efficient. Check your speed at and see how you’re running now.

If you’re only doing email and basic web browsing, then you can get away with a basic internet connection at lower speeds of less than 10 Mbps. However, WFH means video calls which are big bandwidth hogs.

Slow and/or inconsistent internet access can make video calls annoying as fuck.

Generally speaking, you need about 5-6 Mbps for a good quality one-on-one video call. But as you know, most online meetings include several people and that adds to the bandwidth.

So, to keep things running smoothly, get at least a 50 Mbps connection to allow for multiple people and multiple devices to do heavy downloading without interruption.

Create Your Kick-Ass Workspace & Get Shit Done

Let’s face it. Your current home office is probably not as good as it can be. There are definitely some areas that you can improve.

However, it doesn’t have to be a sterile spotless set up.

The most important thing is that it’s set up in a way that works for you and doesn’t create any friction in your flow. And when it’s easy to get into the flow of work, it leads to effortless productivity and that is what makes work so satisfying.

When the workspace around you is working with you and not against you, there’s far less stress and so much more joy that can be derived from work.

Create your ideal workspace with the tips above and also try some of these WFH productivity hacks to take it up a notch.

So, get things sorted and set up to exactly how you need it to be to bring out the best in you and your awesomeness.

It’s time to kick ass.

Feel Better,

more on cubicle life