My Home Office: This is How I Work

A cluttered desk is a cluttered mind.

I'm one of those highly organized people. I can't do a messy desk. Clean. Open. Minimal. Exactly what I need. I've got a place for everything and everything in its place. So here's my desk and this is How I Work:

My work desk

Breakfast in an ECOlunchbox

Custom built Dell XPS 15 Laptop

Wooden Drawer Organizer handed down from grandma

Business Cards by Moo

Cheap Aviator sunglasses from the gas station

Spiral Sketchbook

This is where I spend my working hours: in my home office. I built this great desk from a modified DIY blueprint I found online. The base is iron plumbers piping and the top is a 3' by 6' butcher block table that has been stained cherry and varnished. I believe I spent about $700 total for a desk that's going to last forever. You can't see it, but last week I installed a 36" wire cable organizer under the back edge to hide all the wires, converter boxes, power strip, and a powered Anker 10-Port 60W USB 3.0 hub.

Items On My Desk

(from left to right)


How I Work With a Routine

I'm still developing my routine, but it starts around 8 am when I sit down at my desk.  I check all messages and reply to anything I can immediately. If any files have been sent to me, they are immediately organized into the appropriate project folder.  Any events from email get put on the calendar. Then, I update my to-do list in the spiral notebook. This usually helps give me an idea of what's on my plate for the day and feels like I have goals I can accomplish. Then it's time to prioritize and start on something, which is usually a logo, design or a website that I'm doing for a client.

I keep a simple timesheet open in Google Docs all day to track my work. That's something I'd like to upgrade to an integrated billing system.

How I Food

I keep a Klean Kanteen full of water at my desk. The goal is to have it empty by the end of the day. Hydration is key to pretty much everything. It's just water filtered from the spigot in the refrigerator door, but it keeps me hydrated in addition to preventing headaches.

I eat the same thing for breakfast every day and try to make lunch the same, but I'm less strict about lunch. The thought is that I'll waste less time if I just pick a food routine and only eat that. So breakfast is toaster hash browns and coffee, while lunch is salad, usually a bagged one. I get my carbs and greens, which I can buy in bulk ahead of time, I don't get hung up on choosing a new meal every day. I can also claim to be vegetarian before noon. Dinner is usually whatever, but I used to be a huge Blue Apron fanboy and I might get back into that this year.

Make Time For

Part of how I work is to try and find a more efficient way to do something. If a piece of software can eliminate some step, shorten a process, or make decisions for me, then it's a winner. I spend 30 minutes a day examining things I have to see if there's some entropy that needs to be overcome, and this includes updating software, maintenance, backups.

I'm also a news junkie and love reading the paper. That eats up an hour.  I'm trying to cut back on Lifehacker because it's a totally unorganized heap of things, about 5% of which is useful. I like to watch a superhero show in the evening, and I'm also cramming in as much of John Green's Crash Course as I can throughout the day.

My new habit is journaling. It's nothing fancy; just a recap of my day where I emphasize what happened, how I feel about, and what I'm planning to do. I'm using the app Journey, which I can get on my phone and through a browser. I've got a 10 pm reminder to write.

Bad Habits

This is partly a wish list of things I want to change. I want to check my phone less and get off social media when I'm bored so I'm not uselessly scrolling for an hour. I'll check back and see if anything changed.

Your Routine

That's how I work. I'd love to know what you're daily routine is. You can't change what you don't understand. Point me to great ways to work.