Tuesday, March 8, 2016

★ My Home Office 2016: whiteboard, stand-up desk, chill-out sofa and less stuff

Every year I'm changing something at Nozbe headquarters, aka my home office and tonight after work I decided to change a few things as well. Here's how my 2016 home office looks like with highlights:

home office 2016

Whiteboard front and center

I've already sang praises to it, but really, whiteboard is my favorite tool for planning and brainstorming. Lately I've been doing a lot of that so I've moved it a little more to the center of my wall to make sure I can take advantage of every inch of it.

Stand up desk still rocks

I've been standing a lot recently while working and I enjoy it more than sitting actually. And when I do want to sit I just lower the desk and use the pilates ball as my chair or...

Chill out sofa is there!

Haven't had that in a few years in my home office so I decided to bring it back. Makes the space more "cozy" and will be useful for reading or sketching on my iPad.

Less stuff and clutter...

As always when I modify my home office I always end up questioning lots of things there and getting rid of clutter that always piles up. My environment here is now cleaner and nicer!

That's just my home office...

In my company everyone works from home and if you're curious how other people on my team work, feel free to check out our home offices as well as our Nozbe customers offices. Hope these set ups will inspire you to improve your workspace just like they help me improve mine every year.

Question: How does your productive workspace look like?

Sent from my iPhone 6 Plus

Thursday, January 28, 2016

✔ My #NozbeOffice - what's my desk like? What helps me get things done?

On our Nozbe blog we started an action showing our offices. We also asked our users on Twitter with hashtag #NozbeOffice and it's amazing to see how and where people get their things done. So in the spirit of sharing my home office space I decided to write this blog post explaining why my home office in 2016 looks like this - because everything is here for a reason:

Michael's Nozbe Office

My 2016 home office setup in a nutshell:

Ikea height-adjustable desk, iMac 5K with Microsoft Sculpt keyboard and Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, iPad Pro with Logitech Ultrathin keyboard and Apple Pencil... and lastly my iPhone 6S Plus (taking the picture). And a mug with my hometown (Gdynia) name on it.

Now, why I use these devices? Here goes:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

✔ My Home Office 2015 renovation with Ikea's height-adjustable desk

Almost every year I'm changing the look and feel of my Home Office. As you know in Nozbe we all work from home so my home office is actually my main office. My last major change was at the end of 2013 with a few tweaks last year but this year I went for a bigger overhaul:

home office 2015

I really like stand up desks. I've used them in the past and when I went #iPadOnly I built a permanent stand up desk for my iPad. But I've always been tempted to get a height-adjustable desk so I could also work standing when on my Mac. Up until now these were very expensive but IKEA finally added these desks to their offer and they're pretty affordable... So when I went with my wife to shop at Ikea for things for our new kitchen, I impulse-bought this desk, which prompted the entire home office renovation series:

Monday, August 4, 2014

✔ Teleworking in Nozbe - why we all work from home, from anywhere, without any office...

Every year I'm posting pictures and videos of my home office. If you feel nostalgic, feel free to check it out: 2008, 2009, 2010 (video), 2011, 2012 and 2013. Why home office? Well, because my home office is indeed my only real office. Even when running a company of over a dozen of full time people.

Teleworking in Nozbe - why we all work from home, from anywhere, without any office

I always wanted to work from anywhere...

Back in the day when I was in college I was amazed how much I could get done together with my friend. We built a web app together in early 2000s. He was living and studying in Poland and I just moved to study in Germany. There was no Skype back then, no Github, he was on a dial-up connection... it was crazy, yet we built something (you can read more about it in my book "It's all about passion").

I was so amazed by it that I wrote my master thesis on virtual companies and teleworking in 2003... and the main premise of it was:

"work is not a place to go, it's a thing that you do".

Now I'm running a successful company called Nozbe and we all work from home. I'm living my dream... and here's how we're doing it:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

✔ My Home office 2013 - Productive!Show #62

It's already 2014 so this video is long overdue especially that I'm planing to make some changes to my home office this year but the principles stay the same and I think you'll get a great dose of inspiration from this one. I really like to have my working space neatly done and well organized and I think you can see that in my video. It's basically a sit-down desk for my traditional computer and a stand-up desk for my iPad and little else. Hope you like it!

Question: How do you organize and design your work environment?

Please post your comments below, thanks!

Check it out:

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Simplifying Productive! Home Office in 2012

If you follow me long enough you know every year or so I like to reorganize my home office. I started off with an Ikea cabinet (in 2008), later moved to a bigger office with large desk (in 2009), then we moved to a new house where I re-built the office again (in 2010) and then I improved my cable-management with my CTO in 2011 and this time around I'm simplifying everything this year (and moving my office to a different room in our house).

Image

2012 theme: "Stand up working and Minimalism with iPad"

Back in 2011 I had an iPad 1 for reading but my main work machine was my MacBook Air and my home-office computer was the Lenovo TabletPC and later Mac Mini. Now it's a different world we live in - since then I moved to work almost exclusively on the iPad (#iPadOnly) and configured my Mac Mini to be my only machine should I need a "traditional" computer (and I still need it 20%-30% of the time). And my MacBook Air is now a "mobile" version of my Mini... and it's not being used that much anymore.

In 2011 I had my home office set up for the MacBook Air and Mac Mini... now it'll be only for mini and the iPad... with a noble inclusion of my stand up desk :-)

Getting started - Chaos

It all starts with Chaos - I removed all the cables and switches, and gadgets and everything I had stored below my main work desk and you can see I had to start with a really big mess. There it is.

0image

Planning - what to keep and what to throw away

Then, after careful analysis I did a diagram of the things I really needed in my home office and made sure there wasn't anything "too much" set up there. Instead of two "baskets" of cables, one for the Air and one for the Mini, it's just one now:

Diagram:

1image

Photo:

Image

Losing weight - before and after

Here's what I had in my 2011 home office and what I have now after the move:

I still have my four "computers": Mac Mini, MacBook Air, iPad and iPhone. And an Android phone and Windows phone for testing. Other than that, here's what got dumped:

Before - After

  • Monitors: 2 - 1 (I connected my Thunderbolt Monitor to the Mini)
  • USB hubs: 2 - 0 (I use my TB Monitor as USB hub)
  • External HDD: 3 - 2 (just my backup 750 GB and 1TB 2.5" for travel) - I also use a Time Capsule for backing up my and my wife's Airs.

And a lot less cables, chargers and other things... the setup has been slimmed down to what I believe now to be a minimum for me.

Other machines that survived the change:

  • multi-functional laser printer with document feeder (helps me go paperless)
  • document shredder (again, helps me securely go paperless :-)

Connecting the dots, moving to a new place, standing up

Now as I work on my iPad, I usually work standing there, so my new stand-up desk is an integral part of my home office. My MacBook Air doesn't have a dedicated space anymore as it's not being used all that much. Here's the final result:

0image

And here are some details of the cables I put in the "cage" with my Mini which hangs below my desk:

1image

Bonus: Ambient lighting

As I heard that "ambient lighting" is really healthy and it'a great way of working in the evenings when it's dark outside - I decided to install an Ikea set of diodes I bought the other day. The effect is amazing:

2image

There it is, my home office 2012 - new, improved, simplified. Love it.

How did you simplify your office this year? Any questions you have to my setup? I'll be happy to answer these in the comments, let me know!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm still standing! Stand-up desk and productivity - Show #42

Aren't you sitting too much? In the office, in the car, at home after work? Have you ever considered standing while working? I'm Michael Sliwinski of Nozbe.com and Productive! Magazine and I have been working standing these last two months and I love it. Here's how I prepared the stand-up desk setup and how I'm doing it. Hope this helps you decide to at least give it a try!

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Here are some of my thoughts on working with a stand-up desk:

  • get comfortable shoes, with as soft a sole as possible
  • first week work only 2-3 hours standing max, your legs will feel totally destroyed anyway...
  • later try to change positions, move a lot... and work max 4-5 hours standing

That's basically how I work. As I mentioned in the video, I appreciate sitting a lot more now. I love to work in the morning standing, fully concentrated in the "action mode"... and around 1-2 pm unplug the laptop and sit comfortably to answer email or chat via Skype...

Additional benefit - I'm exercising more eagerly now - the stand up position warms me up to do more exercise. It's really cool. And totally unexpected as my feet feel really tired after I've been standing for quite a few hours. Anyway, I'm still standing and I'll keep on experimenting with alternating between standing and sitting.

Question: Have you ever tried working standing? You should try it!

If you have enjoyed this episode of the Productive! Show, please subscribe:

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm still standing! Stand-up desk and productivity - Show #42

Aren't you sitting too much? In the office, in the car, at home after work? Have you ever considered standing while working? I'm Michael Sliwinski of Nozbe.com and Productive! Magazine and I have been working standing these last two months and I love it. Here's how I prepared the stand-up desk setup and how I'm doing it. Hope this helps you decide to at least give it a try!

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Watch and comment on YouTube

Here are some of my thoughts on working with a stand-up desk:

  • get comfortable shoes, with as soft a sole as possible
  • first week work only 2-3 hours standing max, your legs will feel totally destroyed anyway...
  • later try to change positions, move a lot... and work max 4-5 hours standing

That's basically how I work. As I mentioned in the video, I appreciate sitting a lot more now. I love to work in the morning standing, fully concentrated in the "action mode"... and around 1-2 pm unplug the laptop and sit comfortably to answer email or chat via Skype...

Additional benefit - I'm exercising more eagerly now - the stand up position warms me up to do more exercise. It's really cool. And totally unexpected as my feet feel really tired after I've been standing for quite a few hours. Anyway, I'm still standing and I'll keep on experimenting with alternating between standing and sitting.

Question: Have you ever tried working standing? You should try it!

If you have enjoyed this episode of the Productive! Show, please subscribe:

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Subscribe to AUDIO podcast | Get AUDIO from iTunes

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Paper Pad helps me focus - Show #41

A simple thing but changes the way I work dramatically - paper pad with a pen always handy next to my computer - this is how Michael Sliwinski applies a rule known from the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology by David Allen - to make sure nothing stays on his conscious mind.

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Question: And where do you dump your ideas?

If you have enjoyed this episode of the Productive! Show, please subscribe:

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cable management in my home office

Well, last year I designed my home office and I blogged about it. Even recorded a video showcasing it... but everything can be improved. Especially that my (almost) 3-year old girl keeps visiting his daddy at the office, I decided to finally get rid of cables by optimizing the cable management even more. In my last iteration the cables were hidden under my desk but still they were hanging there without any protection. As my Nozbe CTO Tomasz visited me this month, we decided to do this one together as a man-bonding exercise :-)
Cables-1-1

Starting with the Mac Mini

One month ago I bought a Mac Mini which I hooked up to my 21-inch screen. The Mini will serve as my home server, doing backups, uploading stuff, serving as video-making machine, etc. That's why I wanted to make sure the Mini and its cables are optimized well.

Firstly I put the mini with the two accompanying hard drives into a plastic basket I found in a chinese shop nearby:
Cables-5
Then I had to cut out some holes for the Mini ports to make sure they are accessible from the outside for me:
Cables-2-1
I added power plugs, other cables and attached the Mini and the hard disks to the basket with some plastic bands. Later I made sure only the cables that had to go outside really did go outside the basket in an optimized fashion. Here's the outcome:
Cables-3-1
That's it. Three cable sets going out of the basket:
1) Power cable
2) DVI cable to the monitor along with power to the monitor and USB web cam
3) USB extension, headphone jack and keyboard extensions

And when install, the Mini looks like this hanging below my desk (you can see my CTO pointing to it on the very first picture of this post):
Cables-4

Macbook Air and the rest of my home office gear

Second part was to put all of the other things I need for my work in the other plastic basket and hook them up to my Macbook Air. I started with this:
Cables-5-1
I wanted to put as much as I could UNDER my desk:
1) USB Hub
2) USB DVD burner
3) Gigabit LAN switch
4) VOIP box
5) and all the chargers and cables, all of them!

Well, I succeeded. As you can see, the cables are all inside the basket and the power strips (two of them) are behind it and there are only 5 cord groups going out of the basket:
Cables-6
1) Macbook Air power + USB cable to the USB hub
2) iPhone and Nexus S sync cable from USB hub
3) Main Power cord
4) Different chargers for iPhone, Nexus and other devices
5) VOIP phone with power and phone cable

And that's it. Now, hooked up it looks like this (with easy access to USB hub and DVD Drive):
Finder

What you don't see
My Time Capsule is not anywhere to be found as it is in the corridor in the middle of the house. It's connected via LAN cable with the Gigabit LAN switch in my basket. The same applies to my printer, it's also connected via LAN to my gigabit switch and has a power cord somewhere else.

Cable management is important
It's important to actually manage these cables well. I have less clutter than before on my desk now and less clutter below my desk, too. I'm not planning on changing my gear for quite a while now so I don't have to remove these baskets often. When I do, it's just cutting the plastic bands and putting them back on. Easy-cheasy.

Do you like my set-up? How did you optimize your office / home-office?
I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Show #30 -Clutter-free Home Office Optimized for GTD

Let's kick of our new Year with a brand new Productive! Show episode about un-cluttering the Home-office. It's always great to start a new Year 2011 with a new uncluttered space ready for some great creative work, enjoy!

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Question: Did you manage to prepare your place of work for 2011? How?

If you have enjoyed this episode of the Productive! Show, please subscribe:

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Monday, December 6, 2010

McDonald's - my remote office of choice

Last week I posted a detailed overview of my "Zen Home Office" and I'm glad you liked it. I love working there, that's for sure. Yet, I'm not always there - I sometimes need to run errands, travel to a different city or just work outside of my home... and this may sound strange to you, but to work remotely I work at... McDonalds. Here's why:
Img_0025_1
Free Wifi across Europe

When I lived in Warsaw (Poland) I thought it was just us... but this August I drove all the way to Spain from Poland and I traveled through Germany, Switzerland, France and Spain... and guess what? Every time I wanted to go online to check my email, I'd just go to the a McDonald's place on my way and I was sure when I pull out my laptop I'll be almost instantly online.

No charges, no extra signups, no extra hassle... it just works and it's free. This is what any road warrior needs - to know that in any city there is for 100% a place where the Internet will just work.

Cappuccino - good coffee (in most of the locations)

I love coffee and surprisingly McDonald's doesn't offer bad coffee anymore. They now serve a true Arabica blend coffee and whenever I order a Cappuccino (or "Cafe con leche" in Spain) I'm almost sure I'll get a good coffee with my free Wifi. Sweet.

Tasty salads so you don't get fat that fast

I've been visiting hundreds of McDonald's locations this year, yet I hardly remember when I had my last Big Mac... I just usually get a very fresh and tasty salad. They've improved and they are really good now. Believe me, I've been working hard to lose over 10 pounds the last 3 months so I know what I'm talking about.

Newest technologies that make a geek like me feel at home

Believe it or not, but McDonald's restaurants are trying to roll out the newest technologies possible, especially when it comes to quick checkout. I love these things. I always try to sign up for the most modern and credit and debit cards (and they do accept Mastercard Paypass in Poland) and I like to try new things (and make the Nozbe sigup experience as painless as possible).

On the photo above you can see me paying for my Ceasar Grill Salad at McDonald's in Toulouse, France, where there was a big line to the cashier... I payed in 1 minute using my credit card at the automatic payment machine and picked my order from a special window in the next 3 minutes. I really like new technologies :-)

It's not a Starbucks vs McDonald's debate

I love Starbucks, too, but in Europe we don't have so many of them and as far as I recall in the US you need special subscription to use the Internet there. There are lots of McDonald's restaurants in Europe (virtually in every city) and the arguments I listed above make McDonald's my perfect remote work office.

What is your remote office of choice?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Clutter-free Office Space Ideas

Earlier this week I posted details how I built my home office: Home Office The idea is to have as uncluttered space as possible... and to have all the cables managed well so that they don't spoil you the fun of working (from home or in your office). My recent post was an update to my previous one, where I shared details about my last year's home office: Home Office 2 In this post I shared even more juicy details about my way of cable management and the zen-like feeling of a big Apple-store style desk. If you want to truly understand where I'm coming from, make sure to check out my initial small home-office design: Home Office 3 Never underestimate the power of an uncluttered desk I'm showing you these designs because for our firms, companies and home-based businesses to be productive, we really need to focus on creating as un-cluttered spaces as possible. For more inspiration, make sure to check out one of my favorite blogs, Unclutterer and their Flickr pool. Have a great and productive weekend! - Michael

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Zen in My New 2010 Clutter-free Home Office

I'm a productivity geek and I love tweaking my home office space. In the past three years I've moved three times and each time I had to build my home office from scratch and each time I learned something new. 

I started with a small office space powered by Ikea cabinet in the corner of our living room in our small condo in Warsaw. When we moved to a new apartment I finally had an entire room dedicated to my home office so I built a really nice one with a big long Apple-store-kinda desk and I loved it.

Now we moved again. Different house, city and country. So I had to build it from scratch. Luckily there was an Ikea nearby so I came up with something like this:
Home-office
There it is - my new home office built entirely out of Ikea furniture (ok, the chair does not come from Ikea) and it's clean, bright and white... and I love getting stuff done here.

It's all about what you see... and what you don't see.

If you take a closer look, you'll see that I have quite a few computers on my desk... but still I have lots of free space and everything is quite clutter-free. It took a significant while to build it all that way, but if you have a few minutes, let me show you the entire process with all the spicy details. Here we go:

Step 1 - Start with a clean slate

The first thing I did was to plan how the desks will look like. Bought two pieces of wood-like desks from Ikea with legs and attached all together to form an "L" letter and there was my desk. Now, before I started to put cables and all these small things, I started with this question:

"How I want my office to look like when I'm done?"... and I put a sculpture from my friend Miguel Guia, my Macbook Air and my external monitor in portrait mode .... and an Ikea lamp behind the monitor. And it started to look really "clean" and nice:
Home-office-clean

Step 2 - Figure out Power Management

This is a tough and lengthy step. I needed to figure out what I'm going to use around my computer gear and how I'm going to put it all together.

I started with putting the gear on the table and attaching cables to it:
Beginnings

I knew I didn't want to see any of my cables (no distractions, please!) so I figured out I should mount the cables and stuff right below the desk. I decided to use a thin board with small holes to serve as my cable management hub:
Preparation
As always - when I started counting I realized I'm going to need close to 20 power sockets so I had them prepared before the board arrived.

This kind of board is very flexible and you can easily mount stuff to it with plastic "belts" and then you can mount the board to the desk with simple hooks. Here are some details:
Details

I liked this "cable management" concept and kept on adding stuff to the board. I started with power sockets and later went on with LAN router, VoIP box, laptop chargers, USB hard drives, etc. Here's the process along the way:
Adding

As mentioned earlier, I had to prepare special hooks and install them below the desk. It was fairly easy - 5 hooks should be all I need to keep the board with my entire gear in place:
Hooks

Once I've added everything and mounted the board, it all looked really promising. I've got all my sockets in one place and all my chargers and most of my gear "out-of-sight" right below my desk:
Below-breakdown

Step 3 - What you see (and don't see) is what you get

Now, as you can see, although I've got plenty of gear mounted to my desk, I hardly see any of it. This helps me focus and get stuff done and I'm never worried about my cables.
What-see

Closer look at my office

Here's what I see when I just work - on the right side I have my external monitor in portrait mode for web browsing, writing and coding. The display is attached to my Macbook Air and on the left hand side I have my trusted iPad which I use for video-watching and news-reading. Right next to my Air there is my Magic mouse, iPhone dock and Pomodoro :-)
Front-office

To make sure I don't look at my other laptop (IBM Thinkpad X60T) - which serves as my home-server and all the documents and inboxes, I've moved them to the side. When I need them, they are there, but they remain out-of-sight.

All my phones and chargers are here, my USB hub, Inbox, document shredder and folders are on the side - I like it that way - don't have to look at all this when I don't need to:
Side-office

To make sure I have as few objects to look at as possible, I've moved my document cabinet (Ikea made as well) and my laser printer-copier-scan machine to my "back". This is my "back office" and since the multi-fuctional device is connected to my router and then to my wireless router, I can print and scan from any place in my home:
Back-office

I love my new home office - here it is in a nutshell

I've learned a lot building this new home office and I'm happy it's exactly how I want it to be. I'll probably record a Productive! Show episode about it to explain more about why I built the office the way I did. Hope you like it, too, and hopefully I inspired you to make your home office also a great place to work. Here it is, once again, with more details explained:
Home-office-explained

Do you also work from home? How does your office look like?
--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Macbook Air week - new mobile office, new show

This week has been all about the new Apple's Macbook Air laptop. I posted my thoughts on it yesterday and although I'm disappointed to hear it doesn't have the backlit keyboard and it doesn't work with the Apple remote, I might still upgrade my old Air just to get longer battery life and instant-on with 4GB or RAM.

Speaking of my current Macbook Air, here's my new Productive! Show video featuring a perfect mobile-office bag for the Air and all the accessories I use with it that help me get stuff done with my ultraportable laptop:

You can always browse my past Productive! Shows (I recorded more than 25 of them by now) on the new Productive! Firm web site.

And which bag do you use to carry your mobile office with you?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of Nozbe.com - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.