What's up, everybody? I'm so excited, because today I’m taking you on a tour of my home office!
Whether you work from home or a coffee shop or somewhere else, you're going to get a couple things out of this post.
First, you're just going to see the different kinds of work that I do and why it's important to have a specific environment where you do those certain things.
Second, hopefully it will also give you some inspiration for something to work toward when it comes to your own work space—because this is definitely not how it was for me in the beginning. It took a number of years and a lot of hard work to get this level. I'm not about dream cars and dream vacations and things like that; I'm about the dream office, because my office is where I produce a lot of what I create for you guys.
My Very First (Very Tiny) Office
I remember my very first office. It was in a one-bedroom apartment I shared with my wife, April, right after we got married. It was hardly any room at all; just a little dinky corner in the kitchen space. Check out this screenshot from a video I made way back in 2008.
But the thing is, this tiny space worked really well for me. This goes to show that you don't necessarily need an incredibly spacious office. You just need a place to do your work—one that has whatever you need to get into that “work mode” mindset, whether you’re sitting down or standing up. As long as your location and setup helps you check in mentally to do the work you need to do, that’s what matters.
My New Digs
From there, we rented a house and I had an office for the first time. That was really nice, because I had my own door that I could close. A few years later, we bought our own house. By that point, I had a really good idea of what I wanted in a working space, and I was willing to invest a lot of money to build one I would love. And that’s what I’ve done! I put a lot of thought and care into my current office space. The design process was especially cool because I got to tap into my architecture past to help make it happen. I created some design drawings and then shared them with an interior designer, who added her touches and shared them with the people who eventually built it all.
Ready to take the tour? Let’s go!
My Home Office Tour
Here’s a shot of (most of) the space. It was definitely built from scratch and it's my dream office. I had it very specifically laid out for all the different things I do, and each space and item has a specific reason for being there. I'm going to share those things with you now!
This room isn't that big; it's maybe 14 feet by 16 feet, but that space is utilized in a way that maximizes the productivity and usefulness of the entire space. As you can see, there isn't much wall space left—but it's not just a bunch of shelves, either. Everything in here has been very strategically designed and placed.
The first thing you'll see is the large stand-up desk in the middle of the room. Standing up while working has been one of the best things for me in terms of staying focused and being able to get off my butt a little bit. It’s nice to stand up. It's good for your back. And if I have to sit down, I can pull out one of the stools that are strategically placed underneath the desk so they don't take up much room!
I use the standing desk to do some of my writing, but I also write on the board you see below. It's not really a whiteboard—it's a frosted glassboard. I like it better than a traditional whiteboard because it's a little more stylish. Regular dry erase whiteboards don't really do justice to some spaces, and I wanted to make sure this one looked really good and fit the space nicely.
The surface of the glassboard is writeable, so I can just go into one of the drawers located in the standing desk, pull out one of these markers and write on the surface. Then, if I want to, I can erase it using one of these chamois cloths. You might also recognize these Post-it notes from a previous blog post where I walked you through my book writing process.
Down on the ground on the left here is the infamous “Hello, My Name Is Pat” backpack, which some of you may have seen on me at conferences!
Now, I'll get into some of the other important parts of the space. To the left of standing desk is my planning area. As you can see, there are no computers here.
This is where I sit down to do my planning, scheduling, and things like that. This giant calendar essentially has my whole year laid out. I don't use this space very often—it's more decorative than anything most of the time, to be honest. But I still keep some interesting pieces over here! Here’s my diploma from Cal.
And here is my foam roller. I sit on the floor here every once in a while and do some foam rolling to wake myself up if I'm feeling tired. It's good for the muscles and tissues, as well.
To the right are some books you might recognize from posts I've written before. Here’s a fun little tidbit for you: My interior designer, who I hired to help create the space, told me books look really good when you take the covers off. If you're trying to design a nice, elegant space, just take the covers off some of your hardcover books and set them out. Here’s The 4-Hour Body, which you might recognize as a purple and orange book, but take the cover off and it's a nice-looking blue book for you to show off.
This is my hoverboard from Back to the Future Part II. It's not a real hoverboard, but it does look like one. I got it on Etsy.com.
I'm a huge Back to the Future fan, if you couldn't tell already from the hoverboard, or the Back to the Future Lego I’ve also got over here.
This next one is really cool. An artist who was a fan of SPI sent me this. If you look really closely, you can see some of the threading.
Back to the center of the room, you’ll notice this large TV.
I do a lot of my writing right here. If you look underneath the table, you'll see some stools. Often, I'll pull out a stool, set up my laptop up here, and do some work.
I can also use Apple TV and Airplay to show what is on my laptop on the screen, as well. Let’s pull out my Logitech Bluetooth keyboard that’s stored underneath the TV and fire up my Apple TV.
Then we’ll open up YouTube and see if we can find some Smart Passive Income videos. There we go!
I like using this space as a “learning center.” I’ll watch course material or informative YouTube videos and take notes. It's almost like I'm watching a lecture, which is really cool. I find that I learn better sitting in this space as opposed to the area to the right with the computer screens, where it’s easier to be distracted.
Another thing I love to do at this table is practice my keynote presentations. I’ll pull one up on the screen, then walk back and forth behind the table to practice my presentation while I look at the slides on the screen.
Let’s move down to the right, where I have my computers. This is the space where I actually spend most of my time. You'll notice these two iMacs, which I use to do a lot of my writing. My main screen on the right is one of the newer Retina display 27-inch iMacs, and the one on the left is an older 27-inch iMac.
To left of the screens is my podcasting mic and stand. Those of you who are podcasters might recognize the microphone as a Heil PR-40. This is an awesome podcasting mic (although the ATR2100 by Audio-Technica is great, as well).
The mic stand also shows off my Smart Passive Income mic flag, which is really cool. You can go to impactpbs.com to get your own.
The mic arm is really handy because it connects right into my desk. I had to modify it to do that, though. The part that's supposed to keep it from sticking or moving around kept falling off, so I just said, “Hey, let's drill a hole in the counter and stick it there.” And it works really well!
Typically when I'm podcasting, I swing the mic around and up so I can speak into it while standing. I like podcasting standing up. I feel like I have better volume, and I’m more alert and focused. I’ll often do Skype interviews this way, too.
Let me show you some other cool parts of this space! The shelving area to the right of my computers was originally stacked full of books. When my interior designer came in to help me design my office, she loved this space so much that she wanted to take pictures of it for her portfolio. So she gathered lots of little books, boxes, coral, vases, and bottles from her house and brought them here. I liked the way she set it up so much that I half jokingly said, “Hey, I’d love to buy that stuff off of you because it looks great there.” She said, “Okay!” So I bought them from her and left them on the shelf, along with some of my camera stuff and other things that are important to me.
You can see the trumpet up there. I played trumpet in marching band in high school and college.
A bear, because I graduated from UC Berkeley.
And of course, I’ve got the Delorean with working gull wings, from Back to the Future Part II.
This is a baseball signed by Nolan Ryan, my favorite baseball player. (Thank you, Azul, for hooking that up for me.)
This is a lightsaber. If you follow me on Instagram, you might remember I was Darth Vader for Halloween one year.
I have a lot of storage space in here, as well. Another thing you’ll notice about this room is that the wires are virtually hidden. That's one thing that was important to me, because I didn't want to get distracted and I don't like seeing wires everywhere. All of that stuff is in the walls or inside the cabinets.
This cabinet is where all the internet stuff goes: my router, cables, and all that stuff.
Over to the left, this cabinet is where my printer lives, as well as my sound mixer and scanner. You can't see it because it's so dark, but the printer is an HP Laserjet P1102W. It's the thinnest printer I've found, so it fits in that space really nicely.
You'll notice these red boards here. These are actually padded. This is more acoustical paneling on either side of the television here, which frames it quite nicely.
The windows are covered in gray Roman shades, which absorb sound, too. I like this little white border that my interior designer insisted be placed there. I'm really glad she did, because they look really good.
If you look up, you'll notice these track lights. These are something I’d never had in a home before. They add some modern elements to the space, and can be used to highlight different parts of the room.
Up above, you’ll notice some more books and memorabilia, including stuff from my college years, and of course, more Back to the Future items.
Moving to the right, here’s one of my favorite parts of the room. This is the banquette area (as my interior designer called it), and it's sort of my thinking area. A lot of cool things happen in this space. More on that shortly.
Above the couch, you’ll find an image of me at New Media Expo in 2014, presenting about how to convert your casual audience into raving fans. The cool thing about this piece of fabric is that it's not just a canvas; it’s a piece of acoustical fabric. It was custom printed on this fabric that absorbs sound from the room so there’s less echo. You'll also see these Edison lights, which are really cool, on either side.
To the right is possibly my absolute favorite part of the room. Behind all these cards is a 5-foot acoustic panel that’s similar to the one over the couch. On this one, I've pinned all my thank-you notes and letters from fans of Smart Passive Income and people who I've helped with their businesses. This isn't all of them, not by far. When I'm feeling down and out and lacking motivation, I'll often just turn around and look at this board, and it always gets me fired up again. Some people have even sent me the first dollars they ever made online; one person sent me the first $5 they made online, because they promised that's what they would do.
There’s so much cool stuff here. Someone sent me a CD with videos on it. Another person even sent me Magic cards because they knew I like Magic: The Gathering.
Right next to my thank-you board is my meditation chair. This is where I meditate using the device you see on the table there. It’s also where I journal using my Five-Minute Journal. We’ll come back to those two things in a minute here!
This really cool table cuts away to reveal storage space I use for magazines.
Back to the chair. This is my favorite chair in the room. It’s actually an Ikea chair that I reupholstered for a couple hundred bucks. I do a lot of my thinking and reflection in this very chair, mainly in the morning. Here’s my routine: Each morning I come downstairs, get a glass of water, then boil some water for my bulletproof coffee. Once I’ve grabbed that, I sit down here and journal.
I've been writing in my Five-Minute Journal almost every day for several years. It's been life-changing to write down why I wake up each day, what I appreciate, and what I’m striving for. Then at night before I go to bed, I journal about the things I’ve accomplished, and write down what I wish I could have done better.
I also use what’s on this table to help me meditate, because I’ve always had issues with meditating. Having one spot where I meditate each day helps me check in mentally and get into a routine. To help me meditate, I also use this device, the Muse headband.
You may have seen me talk about the Muse before on the blog. It's a brain-sensing headband. If you go to ChooseMuse.com, you'll see what this device is all about. I’ll put it on now, then sit down and show you what I look like for 7 to 12 minutes every morning.
I don't have my headphones on right now, but those are also necessary. The Muse senses your brain activity, and when you have an active brain, you hear crashing waves and loud wind in your headphones. When you have a calm brain, you hear hardly any wind at all, maybe just some trickles of water. If you’re calm for a certain period of time, you may also hear some birds chirping in the distance. It's a really cool tool, and it helps me validate if I'm doing it correctly, because that was the biggest issue for me with meditation.
I get my work done in the other parts of the office, but this area is where I sit down, relax, journal, meditate, and read, and I love it. It’s also where I can be right next to what matters most to me besides my family—you guys, courtesy of my thank-you board.
Well, there you have it! I showed you all the different spaces in my office, including where I get stuff done, where I plan, and where I meditate and work on self-improvement. I know a lot of you might not have a home office, and even if you do, it might not be quite as intricate and planned out as this one. Maybe you get most of your work done at a coffee shop. It's up to you! You have to figure out what works best for you.
I'd love to see where you work, as well. Where do you get your work done? Where do you do your planning? Where do you do your meditation stuff? Maybe it's all in the same spot. Wherever it is, I'd love to see it. Click here to visit the video version of this post on my YouTube channel. When you get there, leave a comment with a picture of your workspace, too. I'd love to see what you have going on and where you do most of your work.
And if you haven’t already, make sure to click here to subscribe to my channel to be notified whenever I release new videos. Cheers!