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Pimp your workspace; every tool, gadget and app I leverage on a 6+ figure business

I recently visited a friend who was setting up their home office and I was giving them some recommendations of what they needed to get setup right away. Between layout, apps, chrome extensions, online services – I've tried everything (I nerd-out on this stuff) and have found the diamonds in the rough.

Before we get to tools, it's important that you have a good layout for your office. I recently did a quick study of some Feng Shui tips so I could improve the layout of my office. Here's what I learned:

Before:
office-layout_BEFORE

A few things I learned were an issue right away:

  • My back was facing the door (in a horror movie this would mean I'd be attacked first)
  • I was facing a wall on two sides which meant I was boxed in and not fully using desk space
  • My back was to the windows which meant for videos my face was always in darkness

After:
office-layout_AFTER

Improvements:

  1. Now I have my back to the wall which symbolically gives me support
  2. I am facing the door, which for a home office matters as business comes to your through the door so we don't want to turn our back to it.
  3. I have natural light at my face now rather than my back which helps throughout the day when I do video calls with my team
  4. I've free'd up space at the end of my desk that I can use creatively.

(did I mention I used to be an architect… hence the drawings)

Alright now you know a few tips on how to layout your space better, let's get onto all the tools, apps and gadgets I use to stay productive and run multiple businesses.

Workspace Tools:

When you optimize you start with the things you use everyday so you can start improving the tasks that will make the biggest difference. I use a Macbook Pro 13″ Retina laptop, fully loaded and these tools to optimize my workspace:

Roost Stand – Transforms your laptop into an ergonomic desktop workstation. It's height Adjustable and Portable, I bring mine everywhere.

SELF Journal – My daily journal

Apple Time Capsule – WiFi base station and a no-hassle backup solution

Humanscale Float Table – This is the desk I use, it's BIG at 72″ W x 30″ D. It's height adjustable, however I use as a standing desk for 80% of the time.

Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat – Makes working at my standing desk much more comfortable

Computer apps:

Alfred – Will put your Mac on steroids. I save WEEKS of my life because of this app with all the built in shortcuts and workflows.

aText – Text expander I use to create shortcuts for things I type regularly. Huge timesaver!

ByWord – This is what I write every article in (yes including this one).

Evernote – External brain for files, notes, images. Syncs across devices.

F.Lux – Adjusts your display's color temp, according to location & time of day

LastPass – Password manager, can create shared password folders

Skitch – I use this every day for screenshots and mockups. It's quickest and easiest way to relay ideas to virtual team members.

Slack – Messaging app for teams, Allen and I live on this with BestSelf.

ScreenFlow – For screen recordings and video editing

Sunrise – Awesome calendar app, the ‘Meet' features makes booking meetings seamless (no longer available)

RescueTime – Stay accountable of your time; app runs in the background and tracks your productivity

Transmission – Best way to download torrent files

VLC – Best way to watch movies on your computer

Chrome Extensions:

Momentum – Nice clean web dashboard

What Font – Ever see a cool font on a website and wonder what it was? Think no more, this extension will tell you.

ListGoal – Real-time email statistics dashboard

News Feed Eradicator – Procrastination killer. Removes your FB newsfeed. Install it.

The Great Suspender – Saves computer power by turning off tabs you haven’t used in awhile

ColorZilla – Choose any specific color from a screen

Online Services:

ConvertKit – Powerful email marketing. I use for LittleMight and CalmTheHam emails (get 1st Month Free if you use this link )

WP Engine – WordPress hosting. It's fast, secure and has amazing customer service.

WP Curve – Never deal with a WordPress headache again… seriously love this.

Dropbox – Save files and access anywhere. This has saved my ass a few times 🙂

Grammarly – Makes writing easier by keeping your spelling & grammar in-check.

Marketers Delight – Excellent WordPress blog theme (Though I'm no longer using it).

Shoeboxed – Scan, track and organize receipts. Makes tax time a breeze.

Shopify – Set up a store within mere hours. I use it on both BestSelf.co and Calm The Ham.

What other tools make your life better? I'd love to know what I'm missing out on.

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Cathryn Lavery

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