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How to set up your home office is critical for those who work from home. And in these days and times, more and more people conduct their work from home. If just beginning to work from home – whether blogging, Internet marketing, or being a new CoVid 19 work-from-home employee, you may not have everything you need for your home office. However, setting up your home office correctly increases your efficiency. Many people work better with work materials accessible. For sure, productivity climbs way, way up with a properly equipped home office.
But, you don't have to spend a lot of money to set up your office. Simply having a workspace set aside with a few key items can be highly beneficial. While possible to spend big dollars to set up your home office, you can also do this on a very tight budget.
Primary equipment needed for Internet marketing home office
When starting to figure out how to set up your home office, the most obvious equipment you will need is a computer. The computer can be a Windows-based computer or an Apple computer. Either will work just fine for your marketing effort. Keep in mind that most Internet marketing software is created for the Windows based operating system. So if you have a Mac, you may need to make adjustments by running a Windows emulator, or installing Windows on your Mac.
If purchasing a computer, you can usually find a Windows computer good enough for Internet marketing for a couple hundred dollars. A Mac computer will cost substantially more. If you do buy a new Mac, then be sure that it can run Windows programs.
The computer definitely does not have to be a high-end model unless you intend to do a lot of extreme graphics work or video editing. Most Internet marketing tasks can be accomplished well even on systems that are several years old. If funds are limited, consider a used computer. Also, depending on the time of year you are reading this, very good sales are offered on computers near Christmas.
How to set up your home office: desktop or laptop?
For Internet marketing, you can use either a laptop or a desktop model. Personally, for my heavy-duty work, I prefer a computer with a very large monitor. Perhaps that is because I “grew up” on desktop computers, but I like space to spread out on my screen. OK, I admit, it could be my age and fading eye-sight, too!
Many people feel perfectly comfortable conducting all work from a laptop computer and that is just fine. The advantage of the laptop is that you can easily move around with the laptop – not nearly as easy to do with a desktop. If you will be conducting some of your business out of the office (such as at the local coffee shop), then a laptop may be a better choice for you. Laptops are also easier to move at home as well. Sometimes you may just want to go outside to work or move to the bedroom, away from the family activities. The laptop allows you to do this easily.
Optional monitor for laptop
As an alternative that meets both the need to be mobile and to see a large screen, you can always get a monitor to hook up to your laptop. If you do this, you have the advantage of actually having two monitors, if needed. When you hook up a monitor to your laptop, you have all the advantages of a desktop computer and the added bonus of being mobile when needed.
One more comment about working from a laptop. For those of us lacking touch pad dexterity, you can also connect a mouse to your laptop. I find when I am doing a lot of moving back and forth across apps and working with graphics, I really need to have a mouse to work fast. Might be my age – but I have never been able to work as quickly on the touch pad as I can with a mouse. This largely depends on how you learned to use a computer, I think.
Although you may want to use a tablet for your business, I discourage this choice for conducting the bulk of your work. On the tablet, it will be difficult to do many of the tasks you will need to do. The tablet can definitely serve as a backup to use when out of the office.
In a nutshell, the bulk of your work in Internet marketing will probably need to be done on either a desktop computer or a laptop computer. This choice is really up to you. The correct choice will depend on your space and work preferences.
How to set up your home office: Internet connectivity
You probably need a high-speed wired Internet connection for building your business. Having said that, if like me, you live out in the country, you may not have that option. You might have a choice between satellite Internet or mobile hotspot. Satellite way out in the country (at least where I live) was a no-go. While the TV worked OK, Internet connections were too slow. So, I switched to a hotspot and can do pretty much anything I need.
One challenge in building your business using satellite or a hotspot is the limited data limit. Another is the expense of buying more data. You must be creative in spending your data wisely. For example, I download YouTube videos instead of streaming them. This is faster and allows me to go back and watch videos at my leisure. I found 4K Video downloader to be a great program for downloading and it saves a ton of bandwidth each month.
Supposedly, 5G solves all these challenges. However, while good for the cities, 5G won't be available in the country for a while. At any rate, no matter which connection you choose, look for stability as much as possible. Speed is good – but stability is better.
If you have wired Internet, obviously you want to have a connection in your home office. If you are using wireless connectivity, realize it will not be quite as stable. However, I use wireless because I have no choice and honestly can say it hasn't been a problem.
To print or not to print at home?
When looking at how to set up your home office, you might wonder whether a printer is necessary. Although having a printer is not a requirement, I come from a time when it was common to read – not on the screen but on paper. I learned by highlighting books and basically interacting with the printed words, carefully taking notes and making comments in the margins. So, in my case, I really do need a printer. If I see a long article that I want to study, then I print it out and basically interact with it. I find it easier in some cases to organize my frequently used “stuff” in a notebook. So, while I might type up a list of categories on the computer, I also print it out to keep in a notebook or hang on my wall as a reference.
If you are anything like that, then buying a printer might be a good investment for your business. Off and on, there will be things that need to be printed. If you don’t have a printer, then you will have to stop working to go get something printed for you.
A combination fax machine, scanner and printer can be a very good purchase. Some companies will require you to print and fax documents like a W-9 tax form, although that is increasingly being done online. PayPal occasionally restricts accounts for various reasons, and often require you to fax certain documents to them in order to reactivate the account.
Having a fax machine/printer can save you from having to travel to office supply stores while you’re panicking because your account is restricted during a big launch! When looking at printers, consider getting a laser printer. While they might be a bit more expensive than an ink jet printer, in the long run, they cost less because toner is usually less expensive per page than ink. Often, a printer will sell for almost nothing, but the ink will be quite costly throughout the life of the printer. Although color printers are nice, good black and white laser printers can fit in a small budget.
If you have a very limited budget, wait until you really need it to purchase a printer. Likely you will know when it becomes necessary because you will feel frustrated when you have to stop to go get something printed. When you “feel” the critical need, you can find a budget option. Like computers, printers are frequently offered for great prices at Christmas.
How to set up your home office: Location for your work space
Now that you have your computer and Internet, possibly your printer, you need to decide where to locate your office. I have discussed location pretty extensively in a previous post. To summarize, though, you don’t have to have a separate office in your home. On the other hand, it is important to make sure you can have a quiet place that allows you to work without interruptions.
If you live in a small apartment with a family, you may find it difficult to get any privacy or quiet even in a separate location. If this is the case, a good set of noise-reducing headphones and a good white noise CD or MP3 can really help. White noise will help block a lot of bothersome noises, thus helping you focus on your work. Music can also work to block out background noise, but it may be too distracting for some people.
Desk/workspace and chair
Now that you have your equipment, you will need some place to actually work. For this, you need a desk or workspace with a comfortable and ergonomic chair. A desk does not have to be fancy and can be built in a few hours, if you like DIY projects. Primarily, you need a flat surface on which to house your computer, monitor and space to work. If just starting, you can quickly build a desk on top of two filing cabinets or even concrete blocks. As you grow, you will have a better idea of what type of desk you want.
An ergonomic chair is very important because you will be sitting in it quite a bit. At least in the beginning. Believe me, the chair will be much better if it has rolling wheels. This allows you to easily move around while working. A chair with arms tends to be a bit more comfortable for long periods of time. There are many styles of chairs available and a good office chair can make a big difference in how your back and legs feel at the end of the day.
A clutter free environment
Most people find they’re most productive in a clean room with limited distractions. Your work surface should be as clear of clutter as possible. This gives you space to hold folders ready for projects, planners and books for work. A writing surface for taking notes and making reminders also helps. If you are like me, you want space for a cup of coffee or glass of tea to sip while working.
With the above essentials, you are ready to begin working in your Internet marketing business. Eventually you find other equipment that will make your work more productive, but this bare minimum will be very functional for many hours of work.
Ready to get started
To recap. Establishing an office is as simple as setting up the following
Computer (possibly a monitor)
Printer (optional but recommended)
A space to work
This is likely the bare minimum of equipment that you will need to build an Internet marketing business. Good news – many of us already have most of this equipment already. Thus, no need to invest in equipment at first. Since working on Internet marketing doesn't require a great amount of speed, computer equipment can be older. And, for sure less powerful than you need for gaming or streaming movies. The desk can be made and the chair can be used. With these guidelines, setting up an office allows you start on your road to becoming a highly successful Internet marketer.
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Keywords are probably one of the most significant concepts you need to understand to become a successful Internet marketer. Why? Because keywords are the gold that drives people to your site to find out what you have to share. So, let’s talk about the correct way to look for keywords that will be profitable to you.
What is a keyword?
First, a keyword is one or more words that succinctly describe the content on your page or post. In short, when someone goes to a search engine to search for a topic, the keyword is the word or words they enter to search. Ideally, when someone enters keywords relevant to your niche, your page appears in the list on the first page of search results.
As you can probably guess, then, your keyword choices are supremely critical to your success in almost every online business model. Whether you’re pursuing affiliate marketing, blogging, Pinterest marketing, or any number of additional Internet marketing opportunities, your keywords largely determine your success.
Relevant keywords are critical to your success
Why are keywords so critical? Well, keywords are important for several reasons.
First, keywords drive traffic to your site. This reminds me of a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I heard in a marketing class. To paraphrase, “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” Sad to say, that is not really true because the world WILL NOT beat a path to your door if they don’t even know you built that better mousetrap.
And what does this have to do with keywords? Well, if choose the wrong keywords to target, there will be no traffic to your website. In essence, they will not be looking for you and so will not be directed to your website door.
Yes, to make money, you must choose keywords that will appear in search engines close to the top of the list of sites. Think about this. What do you usually do when conducting a search? Do you generally look at the first few entries or do you look at the 100th or 200th link that appears on the 20th page of links? Most people stick to the first 10 entries, while a few other people go to the second or third page of listings.
So, you need to find and use keywords that will positively affect your ranking (how high up you are on the listing) and link performance (how many people click on your link).
How do focused keywords drive traffic?
Another reason keywords are so vital is that you need targeted traffic coming to your site. For example, ten thousand visitors coming to your domain via the keyword “books” might be worthless if you are selling books about Harry Potter. However, if your focus is books about Harry Potter, then 500 visitors who come via the keyword phrase, “Harry Potter books,” will be interested in what you are marketing.
Likely, someone searching for “books” is just browsing. They may not even be interested in buying anything – they could be interested in selling books, book bans, book publishers, and number of other topics.
On the other hand, someone who is searching for “Harry Potter books” is more likely to be interested in buying something immediately. You see, it’s not enough to just get tons of traffic. You need a lot of focused traffic willing to take the action you want them to take. Whether selling eBooks, promoting affiliate products, getting leads for an offer, or just getting sign-ups to your list, you want targeted visitors. These niche visitors provide you with likely now or in the future.
Conducting research on your niche
All right. That was a rather lengthy, but important lesson on keywords. So, let’s explore how they relate to your niche. If you have chosen your niche that matches your passion and seems to have a huge profit potential, you need to research the keywords to use. If writing articles, you need to choose keywords to use in the titles and text. When building niche websites, you need to use keywords in the domain name. When using pay-per-click marketing, the keywords you choose will likely be one of the biggest factors determining whether your campaign is profitable.
One of the best (and easiest) tools out there for conducting keyword research is Jaaxy. For more information on how to use Jaaxy for keyword research and try out the tool for free, click here. To find out how to use Google to conduct your keyword research keep reading below.
Research your keywords for free using Google
Google provides a way to research keywords that is quite extensive. And free. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the method of using it is somewhat obscure and can be confusing. So, let me provide a little tutorial that will step you through how to use Google for conducting keyword research.
First, make sure you have a Google account, if you don’t already. You can sign up for free here. This Google account will benefit you in a number of ways, so even though Google can be intrusive, it also provides many services for the online entrepreneur. Once you sign up you will have access to their keyword research tool.
This tool is not perfect. It gives you approximations of searches ranging from 1-100 up to 100K-1M. While this is quite broad, it will nevertheless give you ideas about keywords. Time to take out your journal and start taking down notes. Remember, you will be writing many posts and so you want lots of ideas about popular keywords to use. Google's Keyword Planner is absolutely FREE to use, but you have to sort of jump through some hoops to get to it. Warning – some hoops look scary – like you might have to pay for an ad campaign first.
But, follow the directions as indicated below and you will get behind the scenes to conduct your research. Trust me, it is easy peasy once you know the steps.
How to navigate the tool to find keywords
First, click on this link to be taken to an opening page. Once you get on this page, be sure to review the content. It will give you an idea of what the Keyword Planner does. When ready, click on Go to Keyword Planner button on your page, as seen below.
On the next page, click on NEW GOOGLE ADS ACCOUNT.
You will need to ignore most of the choices on the next screen and go to the bottom of the page. Click on Switch to Expert Mode.
On the next page, click on Create an account without a campaign.
Ok, here is where the kinda scary looking stuff comes in. Don't worry though. You won't have to spend any money. Just click on SUBMIT to go to the next step.
Ready to explore your account?
Whew! You are almost there. Keep going. On the next screen, you will even get a trophy. Click on EXPLORE YOUR ACCOUNT.
I promise, you are almost there. Click on TOOLS & SETTINGS, then go over to the PLANNING tab and select Keyword Planner. WHY do they make it so complicated?
All right one more screen to get through. I swear, Google has a lot of skill in developing cool tools to use. Why oh why are they making this so difficult. Anyway, on the next screen, you can click on the little arrow on the bottom right of the screen to see what the planner is all about. Or you can just click on GET STARTED.
Seriously, almost there! Laughing yet about all the clicking? Yes, take a deep breath and laugh. Now, you are really really ready to start. First you’ll want to enter a base keyword for your niche. Let’s say you’re targeting the golf niche. You might enter “golf” into the keyword tool of your choice. Then the keyword tool will show you a number of related keywords.
Finally, you are at the keyword planner tool!
Start adding your words to begin exploring the significance of keywords in your niche. I added the words baby clothes and boys. You can add as many keywords as you want. You can also go back and delete and add words. Take some time exploring the many keywords and their significance.
Once you do this, you will get a report about the average monthly searches. The information is rather general, but it can provide information about the significance of the number of searches. It will also give you ideas about other keywords you can focus on in your niche.
OK- now you have the basics. Please take time to explore the many options on the Keyword Planner so that you can find the best cash-generating keywords. Look for different keywords and drill down again and again. Take notes and jot down keyword ideas as you run across them. This will help you to write your articles with a focus on the most popular keywords. You particularly want to focus on words that have high popularity but low competition. This means many people are looking for this product, but competition on the niche is not high.
The Google Keyword Planner tool should be bookmarked because you will be referring to it frequently as you build your business.
Why finding keywords is so important to your niche?
All right. Lots of steps to access the Google Keyword Planner. But remember, as discussed in previous articles, selecting your niche is critical. Why is that? Well, there are four important reasons to consider your niche carefully.
Reduced competition. At the time, your niche may have less competition. It might after all, be rather new. Smaller businesses may not yet have your niche on their radar. At the same time, large businesses may not consider it profitable. Thus, at the time you find the niche, you have optimal conditions for expanding. This would be high interest and low competition. This condition may not last – so jump on it as quickly as you can.
You become the expert. Because the niche is somewhat under the radar, then you can easily become the specialist. Thus, as the expert, you become the recommended source of information. Once established as an expert, you will likely remain significant in the niche.
Focused effort on your niche. If you have a narrower audience, then you can focus on catering better to the needs of that audience.
Gaining a toehold in market. Once you gain significant standing within the niche, your business can confidently expand into new and broader markets.
After deciding the niche you are going to focus on, you have a critical next step – finding keywords highly relevant to your niche. In addition to just finding keywords that are relevant, you also want to learn how to find cash-generating keywords for your niche. These cash-generating keywords should be relevant AND high interest/low competition. Those keywords are critical to the amount of profit you will make in your online business.
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Ergonomic document holder stands are essential tools for those who spend massive (or even a little) time working on the computer. If you want to avoid neck pain and back strain at the end of the day, consider using some type of document holder. Even though we work largely in a digital workplace, almost all work requires some paper and pencil work. Whether you research topics and take notes or scribble notes to remember on a piece of paper, you will often refer to some non-digital product.
Now, I am definitely old school. So, I take copious notes and jot down reminders frequently while I work. I refer to articles I have printed or look at diagrams that I have sketched out. And, if I don't use a document holder to hold those notes while I use them for work, I very quickly feel a twinge in my neck that ends up in screeching pain hours later. Keep in mind – if you don't use a document holder, you are looking down a lot. And looking down a lot quite simply ends in pain in your neck.
Luckily, an abundant variety of document holders in a huge variety of price points are available. Whether you want monitor mounted, desktop mounted or standalone document holder, you can easily find an option to meet your needs. This post will review a variety of document holders available at different price points.
Desktop mounted document holders
Desktop mounted document holders are just that – holders that mount to the edge of your desktop. These versatile document holders clamp onto the edge of your desk – on either side, the back or even the front. They have pivoting arms which allow you to position the holder where needed. Many of the desktop holders can also be used to hold your tablet if you use that for taking notes/researching instead of paper. Take a look at the options below from Amazon:
Gooseneck Tablet Holder, Lamicall Tablet Mount
This goose neck tablet holder is pretty cool, in my opinion. It will hold cell phones and tables such as the iPad mini, iPad Pro iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, Galaxy Tablet and Samsung Galaxy Tablet. The clamp can be mounted to your desktop. Or as some users do, to the headboard or even a chair. If you are a reader or movie viewer at night, this will save your neck! With a clip, this could be easily modified to hold documents, although it is made for phones and tablets. While it will hold the device steady, if you are going to be typing on it, you will have to brace it with one hand while you type. Click the image below to purchase.
TrenDesks Document Copy Holder and Tablet/Cellphone Holder 2-in-1
This versatile holder actually rotates 360 degrees, so no matter where you place the holder, it rotates to a position best for you. It moves to a variety of heights and angles thus allowing the material to be at eye level. The weight capacity is 2.2 pounds so it can easily handle an iPad, which runs around 1.3 pounds. Or a phone, which weighs even less. Because it can be rotated, the device can easily be viewed in either landscape or portrait mode.
The nice thing about this holder is that it easily converts to a document holder. It is mounted using a C clamp that is included in the product along with a one-year warranty. This multi-purpose document holder gets high ratings from users. Click the image below to purchase.
Aidata CH012A Metal Arm Copy Holder
The copy holder below also attaches to your workstation with a C-clamp. Metal arm has overall reach of approximately 20″. This document holder has a sturdy plastic based and adjustable clip that allows you to easily view documents of varying sizes. It also contains a removable and see through guide. That helps us folks with dyslexia or astigmatisms! Click the image below to purchase.
Monitor mounted holders
Documents mounted on your monitor frees up space on your desk top. Because they are positioned on your monitor, documents are held at eye level if your monitor is positioned correctly. Generally fairly light, many of them are placed on the monitor with Command strips or rubber lined clamps. Document holders can generally be mounted on either side of your monitor. Sometimes they can be top mounted and some are light enough to be used on your laptop.
3M Monitor Mount Document Copy Holder (DH455)
This monitor mounted document holder maintains the document in an upright position making it easy to read at eye level. It can be mounted on either a flat panel or on a traditional CRT monitor. The document holder uses 3M command adhesive strips to mount on your monitor. So, it can be moved or re-positioned leaving no sticky residue. The holder uses documents in either landscape or portrait orientation. Click the image below to purchase.
NoteTower Monitor Mount
A spring mounted clamp allows you to position this holder on a monitor or even a laptop. The clamp is lined with soft rubber so that it will mount securely AND protect the monitor surface. Being spring mounted, you don't have to worry about adhesive removal if you want to move it around. To use it, simply slide paper into the flexible clips for direct viewing at eye level. This document holder mounts to laptops, tablets and thin desktop monitors either on the side or top. The folding support arms extend to hold paper in either landscape or portrait orientation. Click the image below to purchase.
Free Standing Holders
3M Desktop Document Holder with Adjustable Clip (DH340MB)
This tried but true document holder from Amazon sits upright on your desktop. Documents in landscape or portrait orientation are easily viewable at eye level. A grooved ledge at the bottom and spring action clip will hold up to 150 sheets of paper. A line guide slides up and down to mark your place on the document as you work. This document holder folds up for easy storage when not in use. Click the image below to purchase.
Page Up in Grey Crystal
Definitely another tried but true document holder that indeed has a teeny tiny footprint!!! While often given away at trade shows, you can purchase one from Amazon. It keeps paper upright while you type from them or view the materials. Position it about anywhere on your desk when you need it and tuck it into a drawer when you don't need it. Although it only holds a few pieces of paper, it nevertheless does the trick when you need to position a document on your desk. Honestly, I am not sure how it works. But, the first time I used one, I stuck in paper and voila – it stood up. Since it is so small, it is a very handy office accessory. Comes in a variety of colors. Click the image below to purchase.
DIY Document Holder
If you want to try your hand at DIY, then Dollar Tree offers the tools to create your own document holder. Although not as compact as some of the fold away ones offered at Amazon, it nevertheless provides a fun project costing less than $5.00. Take a look at the tutorial if you want to take a break away from your monitor and do a little hands on.
I hope you have an opportunity to explore the different types of document holders to find the one that will best suit your needs. I really can't stress enough how important it is to your long-term health in the office to ensure that you maintain proper posture in front of the computer. Looking down for hours leads to pain – plain and simple. Whether you use notes, transcribe documents, or use your tablet or phone for research, a document/tablet holder will ensure that you are looking ahead at work.
If you start to feel a twinge in your neck during the day, you will probably experience headaches and outright pain by the end of the day. Continuing to do this over the long-term can lead to spinal cord damage. Speaking from experience (unfortunately), it is much harder to correct damage than work ergonomically from the beginning. Document holders are a relatively inexpensive way to correct a potential problem in the office. Once you begin using them and notice how much better your neck and back feels, you will never do without again.
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Have you ever gone into your office to work and could not concentrate? All you could see was the clutter and messiness surrounding you? That’s what happened to me yesterday. I sat there stewing because all I could think about was how hard it was to work with junk everywhere. (Yep – junk is what they used to call clutter). If this is you and organizing your home office in one day is your priority, then read on. For sure, my call to action hit me that day. Clean up the mess or plan on getting nothing done!
My perfect home office space will be created in my spare bedroom. But, living in the middle of a major home remodel (putting up sheet rock, new flooring, building shelving, and more) prevented my dream office being built in just one day. Thus, my goal that “call to action” day: create a work space allowing me to be productive on a daily basis while working toward my entire home office completion. This whole blog is about my journey to create the perfect, organized, energizing, productive dream office because I believe if you work at home – you NEED an office.
But today's post breaks down what I did on that one day to organize the home office by de-cluttering and arranging desk space and essential tools quickly and on a tight budget. BTW – is there any kind of budget except a tight budget? And, as a matter of fact, for me, the total cost that day amounted to only $1.08. I bought a little container for miscellaneous office supplies rather than spend the time creating a DIY project. Since my plan was to get everything done in one day, I left the DIY office supply holder for later. So, read on for how I met my goal of organizing the home office in one day.
First, what is already in place in your office?
Before beginning to organize, I realized I needed to have a plan in place. I knew that I didn’t like the office area I had, but rather than starting to move furniture around willy nilly, I took some time to plan my day. This took a bit of time initially, but in the long run it allowed me to complete the work rather quickly once I started the actual work. My first step in the plan was taking a hard look at where I was. Then, I had to look at where I wanted to be. Finally, I had to look at how I would get there in one day. I did this by studying the clutter that surrounded me, then asking and answering a series of questions. I will share my answers with you. Although you may have very different needs, my answers can help you brainstorm and possibly give you some ideas. Below are the questions and answers that I used for my one-day office makeover.
What really bothers me about my workspace?
This is probably the hardest question to answer because you really have to look at the space and assess what is wrong. Since you made the mess, it is harder to be objective about what is wrong with the clutter. If you plan to organize and de-clutter, then you have to be brutal about looking at your current workspace or you can’t make it better. Take a look at the hot mess on the right. This is what I discovered I didn’t like:
The clutter. Duh. Seems obvious, but I had to name it to get rid of it. It was driving me batty.
Not having enough space to write/take notes as I am working on the computer. I take copious notes and jot down ideas on paper – so I needed a space to work on that was next to my computer.
Difficult access to tools: plugs for recharging, staplers, pens, pencils, highlighters, even headsets. To get writing tools, I had to get up and climb over the junk and reach behind a monitor. To get to the stapler, I had to dig under everything – where did I put that darn thing? I had to untangle cords to use the USB ports or headphones. Well, you get point.
Cord clutter. Yes, extra cords sitting around in sight totally distract me
Chair not comfortable for long periods.
Clutter in the room surrounding my workspace. Yes, clutter bothers me.
Basic looks: unattractive ceiling, walls need to be finished, floors need work. In essence, my future perfect home office is a huge work in progress.
What do I need to work effectively RIGHT NOW?
This is probably the next most critical question, because it will help you prioritize what needs to be done immediately and what can be done later. I really had to think about what I needed to get myself productive as quickly as I could. Below, I listed my priorities. Again, your needs may be different, but it is important for you to discover your particular needs in organizing your home office.
CRITICAL NEEDS: Makeover must be done quickly; must be free or cheap
A BIG writing space in addition to keyboard space. Since I am left-handed, it had to be open, flat and level with my desk so I could “spread out.” Yes, I am a spreader when I work. Some of you know what I mean!
Extra space to put notes that I will need later.
Easy way to switch from desktop to laptop without having to move things (or me) from one place to another.
A safe place to put my drink(s). I am a “liquids” person and I need either a mug of coffee or glass of ice-cold water to sip all day – or both. I need a place that makes it easy for me to grab and sip, safe from ruining papers and equipment if I knock it over. (Yes, I have done both.)
A place to hang up work materials for easy access.
Easy access to USB cords for charging, but out of the way when not in use.
Easy access to “tools” of work – staplers, pens, flash drives, etc.
A place to work on DIY projects.
A more comfortable (ergonomic) chair.
Motivating signs to keep me going.
What can I do in ONE DAY to make my office more effective?
The next question was critical because I did not have a lot of time to spend organizing and de-cluttering my workspace. Organizing is good and productive in the long run, but it didn’t get any work done that day. So, I couldn’t take multiple days to get this done. With this in mind, I prioritized by looking at my first two needs – a fast and budget friendly organization and a workspace that allowed me to have room for taking notes beside my computer. Then, I compared what I had in place to what I needed. To do this, I roughly sketched out what was already in place – just a sketch and not to scale. I highly recommend that you sketch out what you have in place so that you can objectively see how things can be moved to better suit being productive. See the sketch below:
Then, to be honest, I took a coffee break to just sit and think about how to rearrange the desks already in the office. I needed to re-position the desks to give me what I critically needed – a place to work on the computer AND to write, scribble notes, read documents, etc. The TV table at a different height from the desk just didn't cut it. This step requires some soul-searching as well as you ask yourself – what can I change to make the space more usable for me? In addition, how can I take what I already have and reorganize it to fit what I need? Then, sketch out a new arrangement that meets your top priorities. If you can’t figure out how to rearrange just by sketching, then consider making paper cut-outs to rearrange your room in several configurations to see which is best for your needs and priorities. This is my revised room arrangement to meet my needs.
Other critical needs for organizing the home office TODAY
For this question, I looked back at my list to see what else really needed to be addressed quickly. From that priority list, I concluded that I could do all except the last three in one day. A place to work on DIY projects, a more ergonomic chair and motivating signs would have to wait for another day. So, now that I had my goals in mind, what did I need to do to accomplish them quickly and with little or no cost? Onto my next big question.
Next steps for organizing your home office ONE-DAY makeover
Basically, I had to plan how to accomplish all the tasks in one day. So, I went back to making a planning list. This is what I came up with:
Turn off and unplug all the technology. It is MUCH easier to rearrange technology if not also fighting the cords when moving monitors, laptops, printers, laptops and other technology.
Get rid of the clutter. For now – just put all the junk out of the way so you can see the blank desktops reducing distraction and frustration when moving stuff around.
Pull out the tables, desks, etc. and clean behind them. This might be the last time you can easily clean the dust bunnies out of the way.
Move the desks and technology around to the new arrangement to see if it works.
Once you move the technology, plug all back in and turn it on, sit down to see how it all works for the critical priorities.
In my case, I needed a rather large (writing) workspace after putting the keyboard and laptop on the desktop. I also placed to monitor to ensure correct ergonomic comfort. With desks only containing the technology, I looked at my next critical steps to organizing my home office.
After rearranging furniture, what else can be done TODAY?
Next, I went back to the list of priorities to see what else I needed to complete in organizing my home office. First, I ensured accessibility to all the work tools when I needed them. I found space for coffee/water, made pens/pencils front and center, worked on access to USB chargers, nailed in a hanger for my headset, and cleared all desk space of messy (unused) cords. With nothing on my desk except the technology and the few critical things I needed, I took these steps to minimize clutter:
To easily access USB charging devices, I connected a 10-port USB hub that my brother gifted me. This hub connected to my desktop allowing me to connect my headset, flash/portable drives, and my printer directly from my desk. This small appliance kept me from having to stand up to plug devices into the back of my tower. It also minimized cords on the desk top to diminish tangling.
Though not yet my dream office, the area nevertheless was more user friendly. I forged ahead to see what else I could do. Next in the goal of organizing my office in one day, I further
unplugged and hung the headset up on the hanger when not in use.
hung up the empty phone charger and hotspot cords so they were out of the way when not in use, thus diminishing desktop clutter.
put a coaster on the desktop for my coffee/water.
placed a mug on the desk with a few favorite pens, pencils and highlighters to easily grab (and put up afterward).
added the letter box to store materials not necessary for the current post.
put a box on the desk top to hold detritus – erasers, the stapler, tape, etc. that I needed but didn’t use all the time. This was my expense for this project. Three little plastic boxes cost $1.08. I will decorate it later.
left everything else off the desktop so that I could work free of distractions.
What still needs to be done in organizing your home office?
My final step was to document what I still needed to do. This will serve as a framework to address tasks when I get some free time. Not really sure what free time is, but I have hopes of one day learning about it. After completing this in one day, I had an effective workspace that I enjoyed working in. A clutter free workspace enhanced my productivity. Throughout the next days, I maintained a neat and organized space with my home office arranged specifically for MY needs. I also developed a list of important tasks next in the long-term goal of creating my perfect office. This planner that I used made the day go quickly and ensured that I had a home office space that was effective for my needs. Please click here if you would like a free copy of my template for the One-Day Office Organization Planner that I created.
Final thoughts about time and budget
If your home office space is not in place, I encourage you to establish your space today. Nothing helps you be more productive than a place to work, as discussed in this post. If you don’t already have an office in place, then look at it as both an urgent and an ongoing project. What do I mean by that? As you can see from the photos, I already had three “desks” made out of pallets and a table for my printer. Note, those are not the desks I will use in the final iteration – not the desks that I will have in my final dream office. But, I made all four in one day for almost no cost. Take a look to see how I made the pallet desk/tables: I almost literally took scrap wood and pallets and screwed them together at the height I needed for working for the three desks.
For the printer table, I screwed a sheet of plywood over an old coffee table. You, too, can create your interim organized office in one day using what you have on hand. You can use old tables, put an old door on sawhorses, or stack a shelf on blocks. The point is to get an inexpensive and fast office up while you are working on your dream office. Use the template today and get to work so that you can have an organized, effective and productive home office tomorrow. I challenge you to organize your office for productivity in one day. To assist you, please fill in the information to access the FREE planner.
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One of the most important components of an efficient and productive office is the desk. Often, you are looking for small home office desks that will fit in the space you have to work, whether your office is incorporated into your house decor or set up in a separate room. While the types of desks available today are unlimited, I am going to provide an overview of 10 home office desk ideas that encompass the main types of desks available. From exploring the different types of desks, you will have a clear idea of which type of desk will fit your individual needs. I will break the desk types into five general categories because these identify the underlying benefits of desks at home. These categories include minimalist desks, desks that “hide the office,” storage desks, large footprint desks and ergonomic desks.
These desks are particular useful for small home office desks. They can be easily incorporated into the living space because they are small and inconspicuous. If you are working in a nook or cranny in your home, these will fit well.
Floating desk – These wall mounted desks optimize small spaces. They can go into small home offices located in unused corners or even fold up when not being used. There are many ways the floating desk can be mounted to minimize space but maximize work surfaces.
Corner desk – A corner desk is designed to fit into a corner. They can actually be small to fit into an otherwise unused corner. However, they can also be quite large and have multiple drawers and other accessories that spread down the corner walls of a home office. A primary benefit of this type of desk is the ability to utilize otherwise unused spaces.
Home office desks that “hide the office”
These desks allow your work to be hidden very quickly. While some take up more space than a minimalist desk, when closed, they blend in as a piece of furniture in your home decor.
Small desks that hide the office
Secretary (or drop leaf) desk – Secretary desks are small desks with a hinged, flip-down workspace. Often secretary desks have storage at the bottom but others just have an open space at the bottom. Benefits of the secretary desk include the smaller footprint and the ability to close the flip-down workspace to hide “the mess” when guests knock on your door.
Roll-top desk – A rolltop desk is similar to the secretary desk in that the workspace can be closed off. This desk has a sliding roll top constructed of narrow wooden slats fitted along slides or grooves that roll up to work or roll down to hide the workspace. These desks are usually quite large and heavy, containing a combination of stacked compartments, shelves, drawers and various nooks that provide easily accessible storage for the user. Roll top desks are generally quite ornate and most also have drawers along the side for more storage.
Large desks that hide the office
Armoire desk – An armoire desk contains a work space built within a large cabinet that is generally 5-7 feet high. The work surface usually slides out with a slide-out keyboard/mouse shelf. Often, the armoire desk also contains file drawers for storage under the workspace. While the armoire desk has a large footprint, it is beneficial in the home office because it has two to four full-height doors that can be closed to hide the detritus of the office.
Computer desk – Computer desks provide space for the computer tower and monitor or multiple monitors and a laptop. This type of desk is to provide a workspace for your computer as well as a way to hide the computer, the cords and cabling that are part of the home office. Designed to conceal the technology you use, they are often desirable for the home office space. The computer desk is typically simple and efficient, yet larger than the writing desk. While the secretary desk, rolltop desk and armoire desks conveniently hide the artifacts of your office work, the computer desk hides or camouflages the technology used in the home office.
Storage in your home office desk
Storage desks are useful in the small home office because they provide additional storage space for the materials you need to get your job done.
Credenza desk – These desks have a side credenza – or an additional piece of furniture or a sideboard that provides extra storage and extra workspace. Place credenzas alongside the desk to form a little cubby in the room or along the wall. Commonly, credenza desks take a larger footprint in the room, although the additional storage and workspace make them desirable for the home office.
Pedestal desk – A pedestal desk uses two pedestals to support a work surface. DIY pedestal desks typically place a surface on top of a two-drawer file cabinet on the left and right. These desks are good for those who want stored items to be quickly accessible while working.
Large footprint desks
If you are lucky enough to have a separate room as your home office, this may be the desk for you. It is quite impressive looking but typically takes up more space than other types of desks.
Executive desks – The executive desk is the big kahuna of home offices with plenty of drawer space and surface area. Generally executive desks take a much larger footprint than other desks. Often, they are thought of as a desk for the “professional” office. Typically executive desks are seen in banks and lawyers offices and would generally need a separate room for a home office rather than a nook or corner in another room.
Ergonomic desks allow us a less passive working environment. For the home office worker, it is important to be active even while hard at work. Does that make sense?
Standing desk – These desks have become more popular lately. Standing desks help with the negative health effects of a sedentary work environment. With a standing desk, you stand up while working on your computer or writing. This somewhat ameliorates the detrimental effects of sitting all day. Although the research is still not definitive as to whether standing while working is beneficial to your health, more and more people are choosing to stand while working. A variety of products are available that will easily convert your desk into a standing desk either permanently or temporarily.
Suggestions for choosing your home office desk
With so many choices in types of desks available, asking the following questions can help you select the ideal desk for your work at home office?
How much space do I have for a desk? Do I have an entire room or just a corner of a room in which to work?
Will I need to “hide” components of my office at times? A separate room or curtains around your office workspace handily hides the clutter. But, if a guest (mother-in-law) knocks on my door, can I hide the clutter quickly? Can I close the door or do I need to close my desk up to hide clutter?
Do I have papers, books, or materials that I need to quickly and easily access? If yes, then I might prefer a desk with storage drawers built in for easy access.
Aesthetically, what design do I like? Do I prefer minimalist design or ornate furniture that makes a statement? Or somewhere in between?
How much money do I have? All types of desks can now be purchased at a variety of price points.
Will technology need to be readily available on the desk? Do I need a laptop and tower, monitors, tablet, mouse, keyboard, phone, camera or video equipment easily accessible?
Is time an element? For example, do I want to purchase a desk already assembled to get up and running fast? Or, do I prefer one in a box assembled at home or even one built from scratch?
Final thoughts on your perfect home office desk
A desk can be one of the most important components of your home office. For much of your work day at home, you will likely be working at a desk. When beginning in your home office, you can use a table. But, I encourage you to find a desk that fits your work style, your technology needs and your health as quickly as you can. While the choice of desk might seem easy, studying your individual needs will help you to make the right choice in your first desk. A desk perfectly suited to you and your needs ensures a more productive (profitable) day. Use the list of questions above to give you a better idea of the type of desk uniquely suited to you.
Welcome to my blog about home offices. As I began working from home, I realized that I just couldn’t do everything I needed to do in the middle of living. It quickly became obvious that I needed a separate place to work – a home office. But, it had to come in stages because we are in the middle of remodeling the house AND learning about sustainable living. If you think my life must be crazy at times, you would be sooo right. Read more here →
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