Minimal home office, maximum productivity

A minimal home office is about clearing the distractions and focusing on the ergonomics, boasting your creativity and productivity.

We know you know, but it’s never enough to say that:

Minimalism is all about freedom, it’s about clearing clutter, making careful choices, so we can focus on what’s essential, and find happiness in life.

That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong about owning things.

The problem is that we tend to buy everything impulsively, without considering its real benefits.

Any half-awake materialist well knows – that which you hold holds you.

Tom Robbins

The average American spends 8 hours per week cleaning and dealing with stuff. A precious time that they could instead be learning something new, traveling, or enjoying family.

To have fewer possessions is to have more free time. It’s to have more quality instead of quantity.

In this post, I’m going to share with you how I organized my home office.

Setting up my home office

There’s no rule for the ideal home office. The first step is to consider your working requirements – concentrating on what’s essential to your workflow.

Some people might need lots of pens and papers, while others, professional speakers.

I’ve been working remotely since 2012, a decision made because I started my minimalism process in 2010.

Since then, I set up some different home offices for myself. Below, you see 2 of them.

As you can notice, they are quite different. Each one reflects a different moment of my work and lifestyle.

But an ideal home office should be:

  • easy to use
  • distraction-free
  • ergonomic
  • beautiful
  • use high-quality materials
  • focused on productivity

Choosing the right room

As every minimalist, I live in a small apartment. However, if you have multiple spaces, choose one that gets sunlight. Working in a bright room definitely increases productivity.

Berlin is dark 5 months per year. Therefore, I’ve put a big mirror against the window. It made the room brighter and more spacious.

I discarded everything that distracts me from work. That’s why in my home office, I don’t have fancy posters or family pictures.

If I need inspiration, first, I take a look at the internet, and then I go for a few design books I still own.

While neutrals and grey tones are the hallmark of the minimalist movement, I bought a red chair and a yellow Moleskine to take away the boredom of the space.

A good table

The table is probably one of the most critical items on this list; after all, it’s where we spend a good portion of our lives.

There’s one mandatory requirement for choosing the right desk:

It has to accommodate your essential working tools, while it should fit your room. Please, please, please, no juggling to enter the office!

Another critical factor in choosing the ideal work table is health.

I strongly recommend that you buy a sit-stand desk, because studies are showing the many benefits of standing up during the workday.

Those who spend most of their working day sitting are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack. While those who sit and stand alternately during the day are up to 10% more productive.

As soon as I arrived in Berlin, I wasn’t sure if I would stay here for a long time. So I looked for a portable sit-stand desk. I ended up buying the Ergotron WorkFit-P Sit-Stand Workstation.

My paperless lifestyle allowed me to have a desk that fits only a laptop.

When I decided to stay in Berlin for good, I bought a real sit-stand desk. It’s a 120×80 cm and fits perfectly into my small room.

A minimal home office is about clearing the distractions and focusing on the ergonomics, boasting your creativity and productivity.
Working at my home office in a sit-stand desk

Comfortable Chair

This is a no-brainer; every creative person needs a comfy chair.

The rule of the game is to find an ergonomic chair. It will allow you to sit straight, providing the necessary support for you to stay focused for a long time.

Even so, don’t forget to take a break every 60 or 90 minutes of intensive work, and also often switch between standing and sitting.

If you sit for a long time, I strongly recommend Herman Miller’s Aeron chair. It’s super expensive but offers a system called Kinemat that adapts to every movement you make, making you feel like sitting on a cloud.

After using any Herman Miller, you will never want anything else. In Brazil, I still have the intermediate one: Mirra Chair.

For my new home office, I bought the Sayl model. It is less expensive, but it’s also very flexible and durable.

A minimal home office is about clearing the distractions and focusing on the ergonomics, boasting your creativity and productivity.
Working at my home office – Sayl Chair

The precise computer

If a computer is as essential for you as it is for me, you should buy the best machine on the market.

I decided to buy a MacBook Pro 15″ for 3 reasons:

  • I’ve been using Apple computers for more than 20 years.
  • I want to travel, work from a coffee shop, and visit my clients. 
  • A 15″ monitor is the smallest screen size I can handle.

When I bought it, it had the maximum memory available (16gb) and decent storage (512gb SSD). The retina display is just perfect, and it was the biggest screen that Apple used to offer.

A big screen

I think you will agree with me on this: working on a laptop is not comfortable.

The size of the screen matters, especially for those who work in the creative field. That’s why a bought a Dell 27″ 4k display monitor. It’s the best cost-benefit in the market.

Another benefit of having an external display, as my home office is in my living room, I also use it to watch movies.

Although I like my Dell monitor, if you use Apple computers, I recommend LG monitors that are compatible with MacOS.

Also, if you are buying a monitor now, you might want to buy a 5k monitor. But never buy a display with less resolution than 4k.

Home Office 5K Display
5K Display

Home office devices

Here there are many possibilities. I’m going to talk about the basic settings every creative need.

I use my notebook connected to an external display, so I don’t need a mouse and keyboard. Some people can’t work with a trackpad; in this case, they need at least one mouse.

Mouse

For me, the best mouse you can get is the Logitech MX Anywhere 2S. It has a great scroll wheel, its sensor tracks work flawlessly even on glass. 

If you use multiple machines, with just a click of a button, you can use it with up to 3 devices. And the coolest feature that allows moving your mouse cursor across three computers and even copy/paste text, images, and files from one computer to another.

Logitech MX Anywhere 2S

Keyboard

The next item is the keyboard. I tested the Logitech Craft keyboard, and it’s incredible!

The typing experience is just as you expect. The backlight is where it starts to shine. Craft light up the keys the moment your hands approach it. It also automatically adjusts brightness to suit changing lighting conditions.

It features a creative input dial that adapts to the app you’re using. Giving you instant access to specific functions for the task at hand. This dial is so amazing that I can’t put into words, I have to show it: 

Headphones

And the last essential item on this list is a good pair of headphones.

If you are an Apple fan, you will probably go with the AirPods. I’d recommend the Airpods Pro.

I personally bought the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i. Actually, B&O is the only brand that has build quality as good as Apple’s.

It’s Bluetooth, with excellent active noise canceling (ANC). Bang & Olufsen is one of the top makers of ANC headphones. It features ear cushions made of memory foam and covered with lambskin. The headband is made of leather.

Included with the headphones are a 4-foot-long USB-C charging cord, a 3.5-millimeter mini-jack, and an airplane adapter. B&O advertises a battery life of 18 hours, which is accurate from my experiences. Skype calls are crystal clear thanks to the two dedicated microphones.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i headphone

Backup system

Every person that works on a computer must have a backup system, it’s not negotiable.

I have an Apple’s AirPort Time Capsule that works as my WiFi router and also makes automatic daily backups from my computer.

As soon as I finish a project, I back it up on my Western Digital My Passport 3TB and delete it from my computer.

Monthly I back the 3TB Passport content to the Time Capsule as well.

Unfortunately, Apple discontinued the AirPort Time Capsule. And I do not know a similar product.

If you work with massive files like video files, I recommend a Raid Storage System. The Promise brand offers the Pegasus3 R4, which is expandable to 16TB and compatible with your Mac’s Thunderbolt 3.

For privacy reasons, I do not use cloud backups or file synchronization. But if you don’t mind, Dropbox is always the right choice.

If you just want to do a cloud backup, Backblaze is an excellent service.

Promise Raid Storage System
Raid Storage: Promise Pegasus3 R4

Enough storage

Depending on the type of work you do, you may only need to store some papers, or maybe you also have lots of equipment and peripherals.

You invested a significant amount of money on this table, not to mention Herman Miller’s piece of art. Don’t have enough drawers and folders? Is your desk a mess? Oh, Com’ on!

I highly recommend that you leave as little as possible on top of your desk. It will reduce distractions, so it’s a good idea to have a drawer and/or shelves next to your workstation.

For items that you don’t use daily, it’s recommended that you have a cabinet or a binder for extra storage in your home office.

By keeping your things organized, you decrease the amount of time you spend looking for what you need. Therefore you reduce stress. The more disorganized your desk is, the more stressed you become.


And when you’re all set, finish the ambiance set-up with this awesome playlist, we carefully curated to make your working days happier and happier!

There are many other exciting ideas and accessories for your office; soon, we will write a post about them. Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll let you know when we publish it!

How’s your home office?

Feel free to share with us pictures and a description of your workspace.

It can be featured in our fabulous home office inspiration post.

For more home office ideas, check out our Pinterest.

Minimalism references

PS: I’d like to thank Tatiana Bastos for the pictures!


A minimal home office is about clearing the distractions and focusing on the ergonomics, boasting your creativity and productivity. Check it out how I planned my workspace. - Elumina.me