There's an expression that says, "Messy bed, messy head," which refers to the impact that our environment can have on our wellbeing. I'm someone who wholeheartedly understands this expression. I thrive in a workspace and home that is clean and organized yet cozy, too.
So, today I bring you the products that have helped me create a positive work-from-home environment. Share what's helped improve YOUR work-from-home situation in the comments below!
The Ember 2 Travel Mug
Okay, this is one of the bougiest things I own, but I have used this every single day since I received it as a gift on Valentine's Day. (I'm not kidding, there has not been a single day where I haven't used this mug 😳.)
The Ember 2 Travel Mug is a smart mug that keeps your beverages at whatever temperature you wish for up to three hours. Before I started using this mug, I was going to to and from the microwave 5 - 6 times a day to re-heat my tea so that it would be enjoyable. Now I can take my time enjoying it and not fear that my Tim Horton's cup will start a fire in the microwave 🙃.
A couple things to note:
- Even though I'm obsessed with this mug, it 100% doesn't last three hours. I'd say it lasts for about two hours at the absolute maximum, which is kind of annoying given how expensive it is. That said, you can always buy more charging docks (or be like me and carry one around like it's your most prized possession).
- It would be nice if the temperature went a bit higher than 62.5ºC in my opinion, though it's still nice and hot.
- I wish you could get a size that was a bit bigger. This one holds a small tea from Tim Horton's perfectly.
- This travel mug is one of their most expensive models. You can get the regular Smart Mug for a cheaper price (currently about $163 CAD on Ember's website). That said, given that I use it every day, I'm definitely getting my money's worth!
2. Webcam covers
These webcam covers are super cheap but they get the job done! All you do is stick it over your laptop's camera and slide it from side to side to either show or conceal the camera. It's amazing how much peace of mind these little things give me!
3. Adhesive cable clips
Sometimes it's the most simple of purchases that make a big difference. This 10-pack of adhesive wire holders ensure that you're not constantly looking for your cables when you're rushing to get onto your morning Zoom meeting.
4. Blue light blocking glasses
I remember getting headaches when I started doing virtual sessions—something that's unusual for me as someone who never gets headaches! When I started using these blue light blocking glasses, the headaches vanished! The benefits of blue light blocking glasses are numerous. From easing digital eye strain to increasing the clarity of your vision, they're a necessary product in this digital age.
5. Apple's "Chill" Radio Station
I like having music on while I work, though it can't be something that will divert my attention and have me singing along! Apple's "Chill" radio station includes songs with a bit of a beat and vocals without being too distracting.
6. A portable seat warmer
Anyone who knows me knows I'm literally cold all. the. time. If a space heater won't suffice—or if you're still working in an office but they don't allow space heaters—this plug-in seat warmer will be your best friend. This is one of the more affordable options, but it's super effective.
7. Comfy clothes that don't make you look like a caveman
If there was a clothing brand that was seriously meant for COVID, it is Knix. Honestly, stepping into this loungewear set is like stepping into a cloud of coziness and joy. The moment you've been enveloped by this unfathomably soft fabric, you will never want to put on another outfit in your life. What's more is that it somehow looks cute!? You could even wear the top during a Zoom call (if you work in a casual workplace) and no one would know you're basically wearing pyjamas. You can buy the whole "Cozzzy Loungewear Set," which includes pants, a top, and a long cardigan, or you can buy items individually.
8. The reMarkable or the Apple iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil
These are both pricier items, but I can't tell you how helpful they are.
The reMarkable is a digital notepad that mimics the feel of paper. Using its digital pencil, you can take notes, read documents, and more, and everything is stored in one place. Its screen looks exactly like a Kindle's, meaning you won't get any glare.
The Apple iPad Pro is for the person who wants to be able to take handwritten notes and have a second laptop, essentially. FYI: the Apple Pencil has to be bought separately with prices starting at $129.
My partner has the reMarkable and I have the Apple iPad Pro and we love them both. Gone are the days of carrying around 209385032985 notebooks and wondering where on earth our points about last week's meeting went. Plus, being able to store your notes electronically not only ups your organization game, but it is way more secure and environmentally friendly. Seriously, I can't tell you how much paper I've saved with this and how much peace of mind I have knowing that my session notes can be deleted with a simple swipe, never to be found again.
9. A protective keyboard cover
There was never a moment where I was happier to have purchased a product than the time I spilled a drink ALL OVER MY LAPTOP KEYBOARD. Thankfully, I had bought this protective cover about two days prior, meaning no damage was done. Seriously, if you're like me and spill absolutely everything in your path, you need this in your life.
I haven't included a link because the keyboard protector you buy has to match your laptop's model, but there are a ton of options on Amazon! The one I have is clear, but there are lots of options with cute designs, too!
10. An app to break your phone addiction
Since we're spending so much time in front of screens during the day, it can be really helpful to minimize phone use outside of work. Instead, you might try reading a hard-copy book or engaging in a tactile hobby as a way of giving your eyes (and brain!) a bit of a break.
Forest is an app designed to help people break their phone addiction. When you're not on your phone, it will start growing a little forest. Leave the app too soon though and your forest will die 😩 ! The more and more you're able to resist the temptation to leave the app, the lusher your forest will be.
11. A charging phone stand
In addition to being able to easily see your phone screen, you'll be able to wirelessly charge your phone. This option is compatible with select iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models, but be sure to check if it will work with your specific device.
12. A guided daily journal
Choosing the right guided journal can be a personal thing, but here are some options:
Self-Care: A Day and Night Reflection Journal asks about your physical health (what you ate, how much water you drank) and your mental health as well (what your mood was like, what you enjoyed about the day, what you found difficult). Price: $22.76
The One-Minute Gratitude Journal asks what you're grateful for, plain and simple, along with some other random prompts peppered throughout (i.e. "Draw Something here"). Price: $9.15
The Five-Minute Journal: A Happier You in Five Minutes a Day includes various journal prompts each day such as what you're grateful for, what could have made the day better, affirmations for yourself, and more. Price: $29.99
13. An adjustable laptop stand
Sitting in our chairs all day makes it easy for our posture to suffer. This adjustable laptop stand allows you to make your laptop eye level to discourage slouching throughout the day.
14. A Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) lamp.
Originally, I was using a ring light to make sure that my face was well-lit during online sessions. However, I realized that using my SAD lamp did the job just as well with some extra mental health benefits! Verilux (on Amazon) has a bunch of different sizes and options so you can get the perfect one for your needs and desk size!
15. A month-view desk calendar
I love being able to see things visually. This calendar puts all of your deadlines, meeting dates, appointments, and more in one place so that you can see what's on the go at a glance.
The Bottom Line
During this crazy time, I've been finding that it's the small things that can really add up and make a positive difference to my day. I hope some of these products and apps will help you feel more calm, joyful, and centred as you continue working from home. Let me know what products have been helping YOU get through the day in the comments below!