I’ve been self-employed/working from home since 2005, and David has been since 2010. Over the years, we’ve had time to experiment with lots of different tools, equipment, and work habits.
In becoming minimalist, we’ve narrowed it down to what we feel are the best and most helpful universal things for a healthier, more productive work life.
Staying Healthy at Work
How often are you bugged by eye strain and fatigue or dryness?
You might think you just need more sleep, but it may actually be related to your use of screens.
- Most people spend at least 12 hours a day consuming some form of media.
- It only takes as little as two hours in front of a screen to cause digital eye strain.
- Nearly 60% of people use their smartphones before bed and right when they wake up.
It goes without saying that whether you normally wear glasses or not, your eye health is pretty important.
Our eyes were never meant to look at millions of glowing pixels all day – every screen emits blue-violet light.
Eyezen lenses are an innovative technological advancement enhanced to alleviate strain on eyes, and designed for how you view all your modern digital devices.
They selectively filter out harmful forms of blue light, but allow beneficial blue light to pass through. They also reduce glare, improve contrast, and contribute to the prevention of the premature aging of eyes, and are available in prescription or non-prescription.
I was really curious to try these glasses, and was immediately amazed at the difference when I switched from the regular lenses I had been using – so much clearer!
As I’ve been using them for several weeks, I’ve truly have noticed a huge improvement in my visual experience – where my eyes often felt achy and tired, now they’re still feeling good at the end of the day.
20/20/20 vision – Eyezen also recommends getting into the habit of taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away.
f.lux – “makes your computer screen look like the room you’re in, all the time.” This also helps with eyestrain.
Water Bottle – Most of us don’t naturally hydrate enough. I try to keep a water bottle with me throughout the day to help make staying hydrated an easy habit. I know lots of people like to use the infuser bottles for enhanced flavor.
Standing Desk – Have you heard about how sitting is the new smoking? There are so many issues that are caused or perpetuated by the kind of sedentary lifestyle that comes from office work. Apparently getting regular exercise doesn’t really cancel that out, and standing all the time isn’t really the best solution either. It seems the best option is to alternate between standing and sitting.
Comfort Mat/Supportive Shoes – If you’re spending half your day standing, you want to make sure you have good support. We prefer to be barefoot, so we use an anti-fatigue mat when we’re at a stand-up desk.
Staying Focused at Work
Focus – What tricks do you use to stay most focused when you’re working on a project? David likes to use SelfControl. Yes, apparently there’s an app for your lack in self-discipline. Actually, there are quite a few options. I personally prefer Tab Bundler, which helps me keep my work sessions customized.
Headphones – David likes to focus (or as I see it, zone out) with noise-cancelling headphones. I prefer to have one ear on what the kids are doing, plus I tend to get a headache from big headphones. These serve my purposes perfectly, and David’s been really happy with these.
Background Noise – There are some great sites that stream the best background sound for your optimum work environment. Coffitivity mimics a coffee shop environment, SoundDrown gives you many options to “relax. focus. escape.”, and Brain.fm uses science to customize your focus.
Coffee Mug – David enjoys having his morning (and sometimes afternoon) pick-me-up coffee, so a mug is a must.
Staying Productive at Work
USB Flash Drive – As much as technology advances and we try to do everything online, there have been many times a thumb drive has come in very handy for large file transfers and last-minute stuff. You want to get 3.0 for speed, and the size/space depends on what type of work you do.
Logitech Mouse – I once went for months without a mouse, partly because we were traveling and partly because I was being too cheap. No matter how used to anything you can get, it’s so much more productive to use a mouse, and I love this one because you can connect via blue tooth, wireless USB, or the cord which doubles as a charger – no batteries to mess with!
Document Scanner – We try to keep as much of our lives digital as we can, but there’s still some stuff that comes in the mail, checks that we like to have copies of before depositing, receipts, etc. that threaten to clutter up our lives. We’ve been using a Neat scanner since 2009 to keep things, well, neat.
My Cloud – We used to be running out of space on our computers all the time even though we had a bunch of external hard drives. Now we’ve ditched all the externals in favor of our own personal cloud server. It automatically backs up our computers – both Mac and PC, lets anyone in our family access all our media from any of our devices – even streaming to our TV and on the go from our phones, and we can easily share from it to friends and family.
Evernote – I used to have a million Word docs with all sorts of notes and lists to try to keep organized. Now I’m all Evernote all the time. It’s so much more robust and easy to use for all my everyday tasks, and I love that it doesn’t take up room on my computer, but rather I can access it everywhere even on our phone.
Google Drive – We used to use DropBox to sync files with other offices and clients, but now we only use Google Drive since it includes real-time collaboration, comes with more free space, and is easier to share.
Skype/other interoffice communication messanger – David and I message each other all day long using Skype, even though we’re often in the same room. It enables us to easily have private on-going conversations about projects and decisions and quickly send each other files and links.
There are a couple more things we use that pertain to our specific work, but these things we’ve mentioned are pretty universal. What’s something we missed that you would include on your office must-haves?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Essilor . The opinions and text are all mine.