There are a few things I thought I’d never actually need, or things I thought would be extravagant luxuries, and some things that would have been unnecessary (I don’t get the writer’s obsession with personal stationery for the purpose of branding, for example) but over the course of the last few years I have found the following items essential in my day to day work.
More than my mobile phone, I find my Kindle Fire an essential piece of kit for productivity. Why? Because as a business tool, it’s a much better substitute for my laptop than my phone could ever hope to be with so many great apps. I have two superb MS Office emulators (one free and one paid – though I got the paid one free on special offer), Dropbox, some games for distraction purposes, books for distraction purposes, notepad, Spotify so I can listen to music while I work on the go, The app Pocket so I can store web pages offline, Evernote for cloud storage of media rather than just files, and note taking apps. It’s my mini office away from my office.
A Good Chair
Don’t underestimate the need for a very comfortable chair – and don’t be afraid to pay a little extra for one that’s perfect for you. The dining room chair and the sofa will take a toll on your back over time so you won’t regret it. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in it so don’t cut back on the cost by getting something cheap. It could adversely affect your health. I have one I bought years ago (above) when I worked full time and used to spend most of my evenings writing. It’s still going strong and using a sturdy computer desk, my laptop fits if I push my desktop monitor to the back. It leans back, I can spin on it and it’s a nice leather one too. Not too shabby and makes me feel right at home as my “own boss”.
Foldable Mini Table
Typically, I sit at my computer desk in my nice executive chair but that’s not always possible. If the sun is shining, I can’t see the screen on my laptop when it’s in direct sunlight. Sitting up in bed isn’t really good for the neck and back and you have to take care of your posture. Bed is not an ideal or recommended place to set up your home office no matter how cosy yours is. That’s why I bought one of these little babies:
This one is great because not only does it give about 12″ elevation, I can also tilt the table so the laptop is angled. Better for my neck, back and hands when I choose to prop myself up in bed. I also have a small lap tray that I place it on when working in the living room, giving me a bit more elevation.
I’m always looking for ways to make my working life easier and it doesn’t always take a lot of expense. The tray table cost me just £8, I’ve had the executive chair for years (I think it cost me about £40) and the Kindle Fire came free with a new mobile phone contract last summer.
Fellow freelancers, what can’t you live without? They can be as basic or as posh as you like 🙂