So here we are again (or still), working from home until our chance at a vaccine finally comes along. Here are a handful of things that have helped me get work done in my breakfast nook/office over the last year. (Truth: I get no income from these items. I just like them.)
1. Fingerless gloves
I don’t know about your house, but as a rule, San Francisco doesn’t believe in insulation in the walls. We’re in California, so it doesn’t get cold, right? (It’s 45 outside at the moment.) My office, with its uninsulated outside wall, tends toward the shivery side. One of the things that has really helped me keep my fingers moving is my collection of fingerless gloves. My favorites came from Nice Tattoo Crochet for Hire.
She makes plain black gloves (or whatever color tickles your fancy), as well as Star Wars-inspired gloves, and now she’s working on “tattoo” gloves. Keeping warm will boost your productivity, I promise.
2. Timeular time-tracking device
Last year, I tried two devices for tracking my time. One of them was cheaper, but it never worked and they had no customer service. The other was a Timeular. It’s basically an 8-sided toy that allows you to assign a different task to each face. When you begin that task, you turn the Timeular to that face and it tracks your time on a desktop app.
I found Timeular easy to use, fun to play with, and really motivational. If I had only managed 5 hours of work in a day (between constitutional crises, doom-scrolling the news, and what-have-you), I could usually persuade myself to turn off Twitter and get another hour’s work done, thanks to Timeular.
3. Wireless noise-cancelling JBL headphones
As I said before, my office is a former breakfast nook. That means it’s slightly larger than a hallway between the front door and the kitchen. It doesn’t have a door that I can close. Getting my family to leave me alone to work was a challenge until I discovered JBL noise-canceling headphones. They were pricey, but oh so worth it. As long as I have them on — whether I’m listening to music or not — no one talks to me. It’s lovely when I need to concentrate.
4. Hidrate Spark water bottle
I don’t drink enough water. I know I should drink more, but I often don’t remember. When someone suggested a water bottle that lights up when you need to take a drink, I thought it was a silly toy. Strangely enough, it actually works. And the Hidrate water bottles are pretty, too.
Drinking all that water solves my other problem, too: remembering to get up from my desk every so often to walk around before I get stiff.
5. Book Darts
These are my secret weapon. They’re a little hard to see in the photograph, but they are tiny aluminum bookmarks that slide over the edge of the page to mark something you’d like to quote later. My cemetery books are full of them, which is a huge improvement over underlining things and dog-earing the pages. I buy Book Darts by the hundreds. They’re available from Amazon, but I prefer to get them direct from the maker.
6. My life-changing planner
I know I’ve written about this before, but the Spooky Writer’s Planner I created with Emerian Rich really has changed my life. I track everything here: where I am in all my projects, what my next steps are, people to contact, questions to research, when to send out my newsletter… It has been huge to see all of that in one place.
The planner is undated, so you can begin to use it any time. It’s available from Amazon in paperback or (my preference) as a printable download from Etsy. Here’s the homepage: http://www.emzbox.com/horroraddicts/spookyplanner.html