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Working from home sounds great in theory, until you realize that it’s actually more difficult than fending off a pack of vicious wolves with your bare hands.
The 15 items on this list are my work from home (WFH) essentials that I’ve accumulated over the past year of remote work.
They’ll make your WFH quarantine routine more enjoyable and practical, and ensure that by the time this pandemic is over and you do go back to the office you won’t be a crazed canine.
1. Earplugs & Noise Canceling Ear Muffs
Imagine total, beautiful, silence. Do you even remember what that’s like? With this method you’ll get just that. I call it the “double whammy” because you put the earplugs in first and then the noise canceling headphones over top of them.
And we’re not talking about just any ol’ foam earplugs here, these are the big leagues. They’re designed to cover your entire ear canal and have a higher noise reduction rating than any other off-the-shelf plugs.
The full “double whammy” package is less than $25.
2. Nexstand Laptop Stand
After a few days of working from your not-so-ergonomically-designed kitchen table, and unknowingly craning your neck like a demented giraffe reaching for the last leaf, you’re going to want this, trust me.
It allows you to adjust your laptop’s height to 7 different positions so that it’s always at eye level no matter where you’re working from.
It’s not the most expensive model, nor the cheapest, but it works perfectly. I’ve had mine for a little over two years now (in fact I’m using it as I type this right now!)
3. Wireless Mouse & Keyboard
The only caveat with the laptop stand is that you’re going to need a mouse and keyboard to go with it (preferably of the wireless and bluetooth variety.)
This Logitech mouse is the best and most affordable bluetooth mouse I’ve found. It only needs one double A battery and it makes that sucker last for months. It works on both PC and Mac.
As for a keyboard this is the one I use, it’s the standard Apple brand bluetooth model.
4. Back-Friendly Office Chair
While we’re reinventing your entire home office what do you say we get ya a nice new office chair?
Well technically it’s a gaming chair, but it’s the best combination of affordability and features out there: full height adjustment, swivel capabilities, and reclining motion. The only thing it’s missing is adjustable armrests.
I was starting to develop some serious back pain from my old chair because I sit for like 12 hours per day. Once I got this one my back problems (mostly) went away.
5. Posture Corrector
Or what I call my “back brace thing.” I still have some lingering back pain after switching chairs but this is already helping to reduce that.
If you’re like me then you used to watch Dancing With The Stars, and you were always curious about those “posture bars” the contestants used.
Don’t miss your chance to finally try it out and not be ridiculed by everyone in the office!
6. Yoga Mat ½ Inch Thick
Speaking of back pain, how about a yoga mat? Personally I prefer a ½ inch thick mat like this. ¼ inch is too thin and hurts the knees.
I probably don’t need to remind you of the benefits of yoga.
And, really, what better time is there to try out yoga in your living room or on your lawn than when you’re stuck in quarantine?
8. Herbal Tea
No WFH office is complete without tea (of the herbal variety.) Celestial Seasonings is my favorite brand because it’s affordable and delicious.
When preparing for a long work day I like to mix two flavors in one serving. My current muse is Peach mixed with Tangerine Orange (both caffeine free, of course.)
9. Stainless Steel Thermos
Even the best tea on the planet is worth very little if you don’t have a thermos to keep it warm all day. This is the best one I’ve found: stainless steel, BPA free, and affordable.
It says it’ll keep contents warm (or cold) for up to 24 hours, but in my experience it works for up to 48.
Unfortunately I left mine at the hot yoga studio the day before lockdown started and everything closed, so I’m really sad :’(
A good Dry Erase Whiteboard is a must-have for any WFH or remote work enthusiast.
You may not think you need it now, but once you quickly jot down your first note, or brainstorm your first idea on it, you’ll realize just how invaluable it is.
The cheapest Dry Erase Whiteboards are always at stores like Home Depot or Lowes. But considering that those are all closed this will have to do.
11. Proper Journal / Notebook
You need this not only for work notes, but for personal notes and your mental health as well.
A proper notebook (or note paper if you’re in school and use a 3 ringed binder) has graph paper or dotted paper.
This is because you can write straight across the page just as you would with regular lined paper, but, unlike lined paper, you can also draw models, shapes, and ideas next to your notes.
This is the best dotted notebook I’ve found.
13. Wood Wick Candle
As you’ve probably realized by now, working from home is deceptively stressful and sometimes you just need to relaxxx and chill out.
Wood wick candles are the ones that make a “crackle” or “snap” sound as they burn.
They’re extremely soothing and melt away tension. Plus they’re affordable as far as candle prices go.
15. Light Reading Material
It’s nice to have an (educational) distraction available when you need it.
Brain: The Complete Mind: How It Develops, How It Works, and How to Keep It Sharp by Michael S. Sweeney is the perfect option.
It gives a detailed description of the brain in simple terms that anyone can understand, even if you’re missing a few neurons.
16. BONUS: The Miracle TimeCube
The coolest, and perhaps most practically designed, timer you’ll ever see.
Just flip the minute side up to the amount of time you want to set it for and the timer automatically starts.
As you know, it’s really easy to get distracted at home. So having a simple timer that’s separate from your phone or computer helps keep you focused and avoid distractions.