Home office or office at home?
One of the challenges about running a blog like mine is surely coming up with topics to write about. Previously, I was extremely strict about always sending a newsletter every two weeks with a new post like clockwork. As soon as I gave myself some breathing room I decided that it’s OK not to write or send a newsletter if I don’t have anything to say. Downside? I basically stopped writing altogether. This, however, allowed me assess how much I really value what I had to say previously..
Then early this year I stumbled upon a post from Brian Lovin that resonated with me - Reasons you aren’t updating your personal site. One of the tips Brian suggested was to keep a list in Things about potential blog topics. I had previously done something similar, but housed my list in Notion. For me it was easier to have it in Notion as it’s where I do my writing. The disadvantage was (and this is crucial) adding the idea to Notion is more difficult than adding it to Things.
One method I use to get new topic ideas is to ask my newsletter community about what they’re interested in. A couple of weeks ago I did just that and got a ton of interesting replies and questions! Many of them were so well articulated and complex that they deserve more thought and research before I even attempt to answer them.
One really interesting one that came in was when Edvin asked about what my home office setup is like and how I think about the balance between work and private life. It might strike as a bit weird that I’ve worked primarily remotely for the last 10 years but I’ve always had an office - even during this pandemic. When I was looking for a new apartment I knew I wanted to find a place that would allow for a dedicated office in my home - something I’ve never really done. So in January, I moved to my new apartment in Malmö and finally began working from home like most of the rest of the world.
It’s been about 6 weeks so far and I think my impressions are still very early, but then again, writing them down now allows me to better review and update them in a year’s time.
My home office also keeps the home gym equipment I have so it’s a bit of a mix. However, it was important for me to have a dedicated space for my office and not work from my living room or kitchen (my kitchen is too small to work in anyways).
I prefer my work area to be very clean and minimalistic (Hello Scandinavia!) as well as having a warm, comfortable feeling. Natural surfaces and plants are a must. I try to combine quality products with decent cheaper options, so I’m comfortable with the IKEA desk as long as I have my trusted Herman Miller Aeron chair. The rug is also from IKEA, but the shelving system is from String.
I’ve invested in a decent microphone as I’ll spend most of my days in online meetings and I think sound quality is important. I’m certainly not a fan of using headphones all day. I’d eventually like to have a decent camera solution (I’m definitely team camera-on when it comes to meetings), but I don’t want to clutter my desk with having a DSLR connected. Dan always has some of the best looking webcam setups though. Maybe when I’ll upgrade my iPhone, I’ll use Camo with my then-replaced-iPhone.
I also enjoy having beautiful and quality books near me even though I must confess that I don’t read them nearly as often as I should.
Work / Private life balance
I realise that for a lot of people working from home blurs the line between private life and work life - I strongly discourage from using the term work-life balance. However, I’ve found that working from home has almost had the opposite effect on me. Previously when I had an office, as long as I was in the office, I felt like it was necessary to work. My habit is to work early in the mornings and have meetings in the evenings, so my days ended up being really long. Now, when working from home, I’ll work for an hour or two in the morning, then have breakfast and and maybe go for a long walk or workout. I’ll do a couple of more hours when I return until my meetings begin. If there’s a 30 minute gap between meetings I can easily relax and do something else whereas I was previously more bound to doing work constantly. If I have meetings later in the evenings, I can easily make myself dinner in-between meetings and not having to show up like a cranky drama queen at 9pm. I’ve always enjoyed doing some catch-up work on weekends when everything is quieter which feels far easier with a home office too. It is really working out for me and, while not unexpected, is a pleasant surprise.
Curious to hear more about how you’re finding working from home! Drop me a note.