Name: Kate Hammer
Location: Syracuse, NY
Current gig: Business Advisor & Coach
Current Mac: MacBook Pro 13” & iPad Pro
One word that best describes your WFH life: Agile
1. What was the thought process behind your current setup?
I had three goals in mind when I did a home office makeover this summer: 1) have a sit/stand option at my desk, 2) be as wire and clutter-free as possible, and 3) be able to connect several accessories to my MacBook at once via USB. I had a standing desk commissioned by a local craftsman and bought a counter stool to replace my standard desk and chair. Then I hooked up the StayGo to my MacBook Pro and fastened every necessary cord behind my desk and out of sight. What I love about the StayGo is that it comes with a cord long enough to keep it at the back of my desk (I hide mine behind a framed photo). That means I have just one cord showing, but I can use my monitor, printers, scanner, microphone, webcam and more with total ease. There is no better way to dock your laptop. I have thorough Twelve South product reviews on my blog of the StayGo, Curve SE, Compass Pro and more. Start the series here.
2. What three apps do you use everyday that you couldn’t live without?
Gmail- The trick is to turn off your notifications and decide ahead of time when you will check your email. If you give email any opportunity to own you, it will! That said, I appreciate being able to quickly toggle between my accounts and communicate with clients on the fly.
Libby- This is my preferred library app for listening to audiobooks. Since I listen to 1-2 books per week I really appreciate free access to my library database. I often have at least a half dozen books on hold at a time. My philosophy is that “it” books aren’t any better if you read them on their release date or two months later, so when a best seller pops up I just “add to queue”.
Trello- This one is my new favorite and it has totally changed my workflow planning. It’s a great tool if you’re visual, like I am. I used to do all of my planning in Google Sheets, but with Trello I can add photos and attachments. I’m a huge fan.
3. How do you stay motivated while working from home?
Motivation is my jam. In my job I am often playing the role of cheerleader for other business owners, so I really need to have high energy both for myself and for my clients. I believe in the power of prototyping, so I try new things all the time and build what works into my daily habits. While it may seem unrelated to working, I find that regular exercise, good sleep and a healthy diet help far more than any popular life hack or tactic. Beyond what I do to self- manage, I have to be honest and tell you that I do a job that I enjoy and that gets me into a flow state. Don’t fight the obvious- if you can, choose to do what thrills you and motivation will find you more than you have to find it. If you’re looking for a jump, I have a little something for you! Go download my goal planning system for free at consultwithkate.com It’s called the Success Capture System. I use it with my clients to ensure intentionality and maximized outcomes.
4. What’s the most unique object/accessory on your desk?
My Aftershokz open-ear headphones, and for good reason. I am not frequently on a plane and I work from home alone. I have no need for noise-canceling and in fact I want to be able to hear what's going on around me. Right now my daughter is virtual learning three days a week at home. I want to be able to hear her when she calls me over with a question. I want to hear when my dog barks to be let out and when the dryer buzzes (well maybe not that last one). Plus, the brand just offers the best technology out there for bone-conduction. Bonus- they are great for safe outdoor running!
5. What tips do you have for someone new to the WFH life?
Make it easy on yourself. Know what will distract you and get it out of your workspace. Turn off non-work notifications. Buy or request that your employer buys tools that will best enable your success. If you can only invest in one thing and you own a laptop- make it the StayGo. Set goals if you don't have them given to you. If you don't know what you're trying to accomplish or when the deadlines are, you'll be far more susceptible to wandering around both your house and the internet. But most importantly, don't forget to enjoy it! Treat yourself to a solo dance party when you hit that mid afternoon crash... no one is watching. Wear clothes that feel good. Put up artwork that inspires you. You can do this!