A photo of Doug Rotherham

Doug Rotherham

I'm a UX/UI Designer – working from home since the start of COVID-19. This is where I share everything I'm learning about creating a beautifully productive home office.

Have you been struggling to focus lately? Me too!

Last week I was made redundant due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic on travel. Meanwhile, I've been fielding new opportunities from recruiters, exploring a side hustle with a friend and working on freelance projects. Then there's my actual, soon-to-be-redundant job.

I needed a circuit-breaker to get back in the zone. So I turned to the blog of best-selling author James Clear. His book Atomic Habits gets rave reviews. It's been on my radar for ages, but I still haven't read it. Anyway, James' blog has a free, dedicated guide on improving focus: 

Focus: The Ultimate Guide on How to Improve Focus and Concentration

These are the main takeaways:

  • People don’t have trouble focusing. They have trouble deciding.
  • Multitasking is a myth. Focus only occurs when we say yes to one option and no to all others.
  • Focus only requires a present no, not a permanent one.
  • Measure progress – focus fades with a lack of feedback.
  • Learn to love the process, not the outcome.
  • Assign one (and only one) priority to each workday. 
  • Manage your energy, not your time.

Pro tip: read the guide for yourself and put it into practice. It worked for me. I almost gave up on this week's newsletter. But here we are. Let me know if it works for you. 

Design trends

Modern vibes

Nailing a clean and modern aesthetic comes down to clean lines, a limited colour palette and great tech. Check out these examples.

40 Modern Home Office Ideas for Your Place

Gallery walls

Creating a gallery wall is a great way to personalise your home office. They also look amazing as a background for your video calls. Here's the only guide you need to get it right.

How to Actually Make a Gallery Wall: Our No-Fail Formula We Use Every Time

Modern eclectic setup

This home office video tour features a fantastic example of a real-life creative space (complete with a gallery wall).

Productivity tips

20 WFH Tips

There are thousands of articles out there with generic remote working advice like take breaks and remove distractions. But this one actually gives you some actionable tips. 

20 Tips for Working From Home

Handy Google Calendar Hacks

Even though I'm an Apple guy, I prefer Google Calendar. This article spills the tea on a bunch of handy features.

8 Must-Know Google Calendar Tips to Boost Your Productivity

New Chrome shortcut

This latest Chrome keyboard shortcut is pretty sweet. After you've entered a search query and arrive on the results page, hit the forward slash key. Your cursor will be active at the end of the search box – letting you refine your search quickly.

Speed Up Your Google Search With This New Keyboard Shortcut

Tech tools

Cutting edge

The Wirecutter generally makes tech recommendations that are on point. And this latest guide to the best WFH tech and home office must-haves will save you hours of research.

The Best Tech and Apps for Your Home Office

New M1 iMac

On Tuesday, Apple unveiled a new 24-inch iMac with an M1 processor. The M1 processor is amazing (I have the M1 Mac Mini). Although the 24-inch screen is on the small side, you could always pair it with another monitor. Or, wait until they update the 27-inch model later this year.

Top 5 Reasons you Should Buy the New 24-inch iMac With the M1 Chip

FigJam (online whiteboard)

Figma is a free vector graphics editor and prototyping tool used by designers. And this week saw the release of FigJam – an online whiteboard for brainstorming ideas, creating mood boards, mapping flows and more. It’s easy to learn and fun to use.

FigJam – An Online Whiteboard for Teams to Ideate and Brainstorm Together

It's been another solid week of new subscribers. Welcome, everyone! I'm glad you're here.

Until next week, find some focus and do your best work.


How to stay focused.