Since the COVID pandemic, more and more people are choosing to work from home instead of commuting to the office every day. As a self-employed writer and marketing expert, I’ve been working from home successfully for years and years.
Here’s my list of essential tools and products I need to work from home successfully. If you have any additions for my list, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
The Essentials to Work from Home
There are certain things that you just can’t work without. These are:
- Good WiFi connection,
- Electricity and plenty of power sockets,
- A dedicated workspace (not necessarily a desk),
- An email address,
- Any work-specific equipment that you need.
By work-specific equipment, I mean things like special software your company uses, for example. For me, I can access all the programs and platforms I need from my web browser.
Everything I Use to Work from Home
Now let’s dig into the list!
A Decent Laptop
As a writer, I need a laptop with an excellent keyboard. Regardless of your profession, you’ll want a reliable laptop to work with. Laptops are preferable to computers as they’re transportable. So, if you need to work from Starbucks one day, you can. If you prefer using a larger screen, it’s very easy to set up a laptop to display on a monitor (or even your TV) if needed. You can hook up a better keyboard too.
A Reliable External Hard Drive
Backing up your work or just providing extra space is so important. Using a cloud to back up your work is a great option and has many benefits over an external hard drive, but space is limited unless you want to pay for it. You’ll also be completely shut out if there’s a power cut. Furthermore, cloud-based systems aren’t immune to hackers either.
My advice? Back up the items you use regularly to the cloud, then back up everything else to an external hard drive so it’s safe but out of the way and not eating up storage space. I use the Transcend 2TB External Hard Drive.
How cool is this? I have found that using a lap desk works best for me. It gives me the freedom to work from bed or the couch, while still supporting my wrists and posture. A lap desk holds your laptop at the right angle, so you can sit up straight, and has space for a mouse and other items (like your smartphone).
I prefer working with a lap desk over a traditional desk. Part of the joy of working from home is slouching about while working. An uncomfortable desk chair doesn’t give you any flexibility.
I’m currently using the Undated Weekly Planner by The Inspired Stories. I find that having a paper planner is much better than having everything planned on my phone or laptop. You can schedule in deadlines and make notes in your planner, then at the end of the day you can just shut the book.
But if your schedule is popping up on your phone or laptop when you’re trying to enjoy some Netflix and chill, it’s hard to shut off. Even though reverting to a paper-based planner seems like a step back, it will really help you to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
When you work from home, the line between work and home gets blurry. You should make sure to create clear boundaries.
Seriously, do not underestimate how useful these things are. Making notes of important details when you’re on the phone, or making notes of things that aren’t finalised enough to go in your planner – that the role of your notepad.
Setting yourself a daily to-do list is one of the laws of productivity. Crossing things off and seeing your progress made with pen and paper will motivate you massively. When you’re at home and the TV is calling your name, the notepad is in the first line of defence. I can’t tell you how many times having a list of things I must do before I can shut down my laptop has kept me going strong to 5pm (and beyond).
Meal Prep or Plan
There are two ways you can go when it comes to lunch. If you like to be prepared or you’re on a diet, I recommend getting these glass meal prep containers and filling the fridge on a Sunday night. Then you’ll get a healthy meal on your lunch break.
The other option is to plan your meals but do the cooking at lunch time. This way, you ensure that you have all the ingredients you need for at-home lunches, but still have the joy of cooking and creating on your lunch break.
Either method ensures you don’t reach for the bag of oven chips or unhealthy snacks which deteriorate your work ethic as well as your body!
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Whether it’s the dishwasher making that annoying beeping sound, or the neighbours playing the TV too loud on their day off, these headphones are invaluable. Make sure you get comfortable headphones for working at home. Forget the in-ear ones. Pick plush, noise-cancelling headphones that can be worn all day without hurting your head. I wear the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
The option is to buy a white noise machine. You can even play background noise on your stereo – coffee shop or rainforest are my favourites!
You’d be surprised by how distracting silence can be. A little music won’t hurt.
I always have a stash of good teas at my side when I’m working. Being a part-time tea reviewer, I have quite a large selection of teas at my fingertips. But when you work from home, you need a reliable and energising cuppa.
I recommend a black tea, like Twinings Everyday, that can be brewed with little fuss and provides a small amount of caffeine to keep you going.
If you normally reach for an energy drink, I recommend you choose a high caffeine tea. I like Zest Tea, although some flavours are hit and miss. Their Earl Grey or Blue Lady black tea blends are a good place to start.
Now you’ve finished procrastinating by reading this article, get back to work!