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Name: Thomas Sanlis
Location: Nantes, France
Occupation: Web Developer and Indie Hacker
Room size: 9 m² (97 ft²)
Cost of setup: ~$3,7K
Social media: Twitter
Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi there, thanks for having me on Maker Stations! 👋
My name is Thomas, and I’m a 27-year-old developer and indie hacker from France.
I attended a school called Hetic, where I received a five-year education in web development, design, and marketing.
Currently, I divide my time between indie hacking, teaching at Ada Tech School — an inclusive tech school in Nantes, and doing freelance development and design work.
I started indie hacking three years ago, and it’s just starting to pay off, thanks to my project Uneed.best, a curated collection of the best tools on the Internet 😎
My goal is to stop freelancing and focus on teaching at Ada and my projects.
Take us through your setup
|Monitor light bar
|BenQ Halo ScreenBar
|MacBook Pro 14″ 2021
|Logitech MX Keys
|Logitech MX Master 3
|Setup Cockpit by balolo on Etsy
|Oakywood Desk Mat
I live in a two-bedroom apartment, and my office is in the second room measuring 9 m², which also houses a bed, a chest of drawers, and a wardrobe.
Although I have limited space, I spend a substantial amount of my time at this desk, which is why I prioritised creating a cosy and inviting environment.
Three years ago, when I was still living in Paris, I followed the typical desk setup of many developers I knew and used two monitors, a keyboard, a mouse, and a desk.
I still have the same desk today: a simple 150×65 cm varnished oak board from a local reseller.
It does the job 👌
Also, headphones quickly became essential as, without them, I couldn’t concentrate with the noise of the passing cars.
Two years ago, when I moved to a less desirable apartment in Nantes while searching for something better, I switched to a single screen and made an effort to make my office comfortable to compensate for the rest of the apartment.
When I moved to my current apartment, I made substantial investments to create a truly cosy workspace.
I bought a HomePod mini, added some decorations, got a new MacBook, and, more recently, a screen bar (which I highly recommend for night owls).
I’m now very happy with my home office, but I plan to tackle the rest of the room, which is lacking in decoration.
I want to add shelves to the walls, some posters, a carpet, and anything that will make the atmosphere warmer.
I’m also considering painting a wall, but I haven’t decided which wall to paint or what colour to use yet.
The only drawback of my office is that it faces north and therefore has weak, white natural light.
What’s your favourite item on your desk?
I hesitated to mention the zebra, but I’ll let the experts discuss that 😄
As for my favourite item, it has to be my monitor!
It took me a while to find one that was just right.
I don’t like monitors that are too large, making me strain my neck and struggle to manage the windows.
The Huawei MateView has a unique square format — it’s wide enough to show a lot of code but also tall enough for comfortable viewing.
I’m in love with its versatility!
What apps or tools do you use to get things done?
I prefer a tried-and-true approach with a notebook and Todoist.
I use Todoist to keep track of long-term project tasks in a Kanban view, and I start each day by writing down my tasks in my notebook to stay focused.
As for my MacOS setup, I prefer to use five virtual desktops and keep all my apps organised consistently.
I also heavily rely on keyboard shortcuts for maximum efficiency.
What books, blogs or podcasts recently caught your attention?
I don’t read blogs, I rarely listen to podcasts, and I almost only read fiction 😂
However, I watch a lot of series and play a lot of video games on my Xbox!
Any tips for other makers who want to improve their workspaces?
Move forward little by little. Don’t follow the trends and find what works for you.
If you spend a lot of time at your desk, don’t neglect your chair and move around regularly — the HAG Capisco is perfect for that.
What does your typical day look like?
I’m a bit unorthodox, but my days are always different!
I don’t have a set time when I’m most productive.
Sometimes, I’m all-in in the morning; sometimes, it’s the night.
Sometimes, I just use my office, and sometimes, I work on the couch or go to a co-working space.
Spending a lot of time at my desk is common, usually between six and nine hours daily, and on weekends too!
I’ve been working solo from home for more than three years, pre-COVID, which didn’t change a thing for me.
My phone stays in “focus” mode all day, and I get no notifications.
It’s very important for me to minimise distractions and manage my time well — I find it very difficult to concentrate when I don’t have enough time.
For example, if I go to the hairdresser’s at 11 am, I know that I won’t be able to concentrate and work before that.
So I try to plan as many large blocks of time for work.
I sometimes play video games on my computer, but it’s never a good idea — I really need to keep entertainment and distractions out of my office.
When I go into my office, I work. When I leave, I do what I want 😄
Your tips for working from home?
To keep my work-life balance in check, I’ve adopted some habits:
- Regular mini-breaks to recharge.
- Mixing it up by working standing up at least once a day.
- Incorporating exercise into my routine at least every other day.
- When focus eludes me, I don’t push it. I take a step back and allow myself to rest.
Working from home is not easy.
The most important thing is to be very careful not to isolate yourself — force yourself to go out!
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.