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Name: Ross Robinson
Location: Kailua, Hawaii
Occupation: Writer and Interior Designer
Room size: 11,2 m² (121 ft²)
Cost of setup: ~$3,7K
Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a content writer with an interior design background.
I use my experience to write design-related content for architects, interior designers, product manufacturers, and design publications.
In addition to providing writing services, I run Rosstopia.com, a website focused on home office productivity and design.
Prior to writing, I worked as an interior designer and spent many years working in home furnishings with top-tier brands and high-profile clientele.
I also worked as a marketing manager for a top-tier, mid-century-styled furniture brand in Los Angeles.
I continue to use my interior design and product design experience to help others design their home offices.
Take us through your setup
|Dell S2721HS Full HD 1920 x 1080p
|VIVO Articulating Single Arm in White (STAND-V101OW)
|Lenovo Yoga 9i - 14ITLS model number PF9XB111234
|Macally Aluminum Laptop Riser Stand
|Logitech MX Keys Mini
|Logitech MX Master 3S
|Logitech MX Palm Rest for MX Keys
|Aelfox Cork & Cork Desk Pad
|Herman Miller Aeron Chair Size B
|Oakywood Triple Dock & Charger
|Flexispot Desk EN 55″ in white
|DEVAISE Locking File Cabinet
|Target Threshold desk lamp with USB ports
This desk is designed to give me everything I need in a minimalist aesthetic.
I minimised colours to three:
- Black to coordinate with my monitor, iPad, and smartphone
- White to blend with my white walls for a minimalistic look and to warmly contrast the wood flooring. (The white walls help maximise the available natural light from my windows.)
- Light brown to bring a natural look and warm balance to the black and white. I also value natural products, so the light brown helps me incorporate wood into the setup (white oak, bamboo, and cork)
I love the setup because I can access all go-to items easily, like my notebook, pen, phone, tablet, and laptop.
All less-vital products sit in the white filing cabinet that also matches the white desk and walls for a clean overall look.
I’m more productive with this setup than with prior versions.
It puts most of what I need close at hand while minimising clutter, which helps me think better.
Each item has an engaging home that is well within reach, encouraging me to return it to its original location after use.
Grouping items together also helps minimise visual mess. The resulting clean look makes my desk a place I want to be, keeping me there longer to improve my productivity.
The total time for creating this setup was about a month once I decided on the colours.
The only challenge was small but worth mentioning.
The charging station by Oakywood is designed to work with iPhone products.
Since my phone is Android-based, I needed to sand the hole to make it fit the Android plug.
Still, the station is solid wood, so sanding was easy.
The Aeron chair is typically expensive but came to me at a discount thanks to my prior employment with Design Within Reach.
I think any black or dark grey Aeron-like chair would look just as good.
What’s your favourite item on your desk?
My favourite item is the charging station.
There are endless charging options, but setting my devices on natural wood balances out the feeling of tech for a more calm, almost zen work experience.
Since everything charges in one spot, I also have one clean area of my desk place to access all my electronics.
The design looks fantastic in person as well.
It was expensive ($90), but this is a long-term investment since it is solid wood, good-looking, and allows me to replace cords as new devices enter the market.
What apps or tools do you use to get things done?
As a writer, many of my clients are pushing for AI content.
I use AI-based writing tools like ChatGPT, Claude, Frase, and Jasper.
As a solopreneur, my favourite software is Google-based.
Google Docs, Google Sheets, Gmail, Tasks app, and Calendar work seamlessly together.
I can create my own systems for organising my work. Google provides all I need in one location at little cost (just a few dollars per month).
What books, blogs, or podcasts recently caught your attention?
I am a fan of BGE, a blogging course that is helping me grow my business.
I also follow Marques Brownlee on YouTube. He covers tech topics extremely well.
Any tips for other makers who want to improve their workspaces?
I think the most critical aspect of working from home is ensuring you stay productive.
I recommend using this goal as a guidepost when planning desk setups.
Keep your most important tools close at hand to minimise arm movements, and place items in intuitive locations so that you always return them to their original homes.
That way, you never think about where they are.
You can still choose products and design treatments you love, but the functionality of your workspace is what leads to success.
What does your typical day look like?
I get up at 6:30 am to meditate, stretch, and check emails.
I live in Hawaii, and most of my work comes from the mainland, so I check emails early to ensure my clients have timely responses.
I then have a relaxing breakfast and return to my desk to start my day at around 9 am.
I have a set of Big 3 tasks, each prioritised, and have all To-Do’s organised the night before, which allows me to start working immediately.
I check Upwork for new orders and Amazon to see what affiliate income came from my blogging business overnight. Then I’m off and running with my Big 3s.
I head to the gym at noon, eat lunch at 1 pm, and work until 6 or 7 pm.
I work a seven or eight-hour day.
I use Pomodoros throughout the day to take needed breaks and check off tasks.
At the end of the day, I water the plants and head out to play tennis or visit an art meetup group.
I have followed this framework on and off since beginning my WFH journey five years ago.
Your tips for working from home?
As I said before, productivity is the name of the game when working from home, so make sure you have all the tools you need and a setup you love using.
You will work there longer to get more done.
Also, work/life balance can be tricky, but it’s important.
Mix in motion by using a walking pad with a standup desk, walking around the block, exercising, or doing yoga.
Stretching each day also combats aches and pains.
Along the way, drink plenty of water.
Pre-organising homemade meals saves a massive amount of time, helping you get more done.
Batch cooking also encourages you to eat what you cooked, keeping you healthy.
Finally, mix in fun!
At the end of the day, shut your workspace down, walk away, and enjoy time with friends and family.
You will give yourself a mental break from work and improve the quality of your sleep.
We’re a reader-supported publication. This article might contain affiliate links. It means we may receive a commission if you click a link and buy a product that our maker has recommended. The interview was done independently.