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.

Are you struggling to check things off your to-do list? Well, here's a killer 'hack' to help deal with it: stop writing checklists!

Yes, seriously.

Noah Kagan and Lewis Howes are smart entrepreneurs who know how to get shit done. And in this latest podcast, I was interested to learn that neither uses checklists anymore.

Why? Because they know that relying on checklists is a faulty operating system.

First, checklists don't have time constraints. And people are terrible at predicting how long it will take to complete a task. 

So when we don't get through our daily to-do list, it makes us feel like we're failing at life. Those unfinished tasks and negative feelings compound and creep up on us – making it difficult to enjoy our downtime.

Second, checklists don't prioritise our most important tasks. It's easy to keep adding new items and getting distracted by easy, non-urgent work. Then we end up having to pull an all-nighter to deliver the important stuff. Or worse, miss a deadline.  

Sound familiar? 

If you want to break free from the to-do list trap, I've got one word for you: scheduling!

Keeping a schedule involves prioritising the most important tasks in fixed blocks of time. Also known as 'timeboxing', it's a technique used by many top performers, including Elon Musk.

Research shows that imposing time pressure on a task reduces distraction. It's easier to stay on track when you know you've only got a limited amount of time to do something.

But scheduling isn't just a matter of adding a couple of tasks to your weekly calendar. It's the intentional and detailed planning of each day. 

While there are several different scheduling methods you can try, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. If you want to master your time, you've got to find what works for you. Because as best-selling author Robin Sharma said: "Time management is life management".

Design trends

In the 'Cloffice'

With only 41% of American's working remotely from a dedicated room, it's not surprising to see the rise of the 'cloffice'. It's the latest hack that involves turning a closet or cupboard into a functional workspace. 

Say Hello to the ‘Cloffice’ – the Latest Space-Saving Working from Home Trend

More popular than plants

A recent study uncovered the types of desks, chairs, bookcases and colour schemes people prefer in their home offices. But there was one other thing that proved more popular than plants. Can you guess what it was?

This Home Decor Item is More Popular Than Plants for Home Offices, According to One Study

Minimalist setups

Back in the first issue, I declared my love for minimalist desk setups. And this website has some sweet minimalist eye candy.

Minimal Desk Setups: The Collection

Productivity tips

Cord control

Cable management is crucial for a well organised and productive home office. While the availability of certain types of power outlets will depend on which country you're in, the clips, cords, and straps in this article will help you tame your cable clutter.

Home Office Upgrade: Cord Control

Guilt-free screen time

It turns out that taking a break doesn't always mean unplugging. But only if you can incorporate some combination of physical movement (e.g. on-screen workout), social interaction (e.g. connecting with people online), or brain stimulation (e.g. video games). 

Taking a Break Doesn’t Always Mean Unplugging

Tech tools

Illuminating gadgets

Another week, another tech listicle. But this one has some solid recommendations for everyday items. Plus, the 'digital availability calendar' and 'illuminating mute button' look kind of cool. But I'll pass on the 'videoconferencing bar'. 

10 Home Office Tech Gadgets to Boost Productivity

This iOS feature is everything

The iOS keyboard can be frustrating when it comes to inserting or selecting text. But did you know that pressing, holding and swiping along the space bar gives you pinpoint control? Life changing!

How to Use Your iPhone's Keyboard as a Trackpad

Ending password pain

Sick and tired of resetting forgotten passwords? Me too! So I'm finally getting a password manager. My research has led me to 1Password (paid). But if you're looking for a free option, Bitwarden is the go.

Best Password Manager to Use for 2021: 1Password, LastPass and More Compared

Insta office of the week

This setup is so clean. I especially love the DSLR webcam mount.

Speaking of Instagram, head on over and follow my new account. I'm going to start reposting the best home offices I can find.

Until next week, do your best work.

~ Doug.

The ultimate work-from-home 'hack'.