I’ve been working from home for roughly 10 years, with a variety of workspaces along the way. My first “home office”—if you can even call it that—was a tiny desk beside my bed. Now my home office is one of the biggest rooms in the house because it’s not just where I work—it’s a multiuse space for everything from working out to playing music.
My home office has four general areas: my desk/workspace, musical instruments, workout space, and bike repair area. I try to keep these areas as separate as I can, but of course, they often overlap with each other as needed, and the open floor space in the middle of the room is a universal area that is anything goes.
There’s undoubtedly a lot going on here, so I’ll break it down by area (and try to keep it as brief as possible). If you have any questions about any of my stuff, hit me up in the comments or on Twitter.
My Workspace: Standing Desk, Big Screen, Old Computer
I’ve been using some sort of standing desk, either makeshift or otherwise, for at least 7 years. A handful of years ago, however, I settled into this Bekant sit/stand desk from IKEA. It was easily the most affordable option on the market back when I bought it, but these days you can grab a decent sit/stand desk for quite a bit less, which is great.
Why a sit/stand desk, you ask? Because I find that I’m more productive and think more clearly when I’m standing. I’ve had ADD/ADHD my entire life, and when I sit too long, I just get fidgety. While I’ve learned to deal with this as an adult, it was a real struggle for me as a child—the constant need to get up and move around has always been strong. A sit/stand desk is a legitimate solution for me because it allows me to stand/fidget and work all at the same time. And when I get tired of standing, I can easily sit back down.
So yeah, I can’t say enough good things about my desk. If you like the idea of being able to stand and work, I highly recommend picking one up—it doesn’t have to be the same one I have, of course. Tons of sit/stand desks are on the market.
When I do sit, I either use a gaming chair that my wife got me (I have no idea what brand it is), or a cheap drafting stool from Amazon. If I’m feeling slouchy, I’ll sit in the chair, but it’s also easy to get too slouchy, which is where the stool comes in. It’s a lot like sitting on a balance ball in that it requires core engagement to keep me from flopping all over the place. When I stand, it’s on this Cubefit Terramat. It’s fine for what it is, and I especially like the knobs on either side for when I’m standing barefoot. It’s like a massage for my tootsies.
What’s on top of the desk, of course, is arguably more important than the desk itself, because it’s where I actually work. I’ll start with the basics here: the keyboard and mouse. Unlike most of my colleagues, I am not a fan of mechanical keyboards. I’ve tried several, only kind of liked one, and hated the rest. So for me, the Logitech MX Keys is where it’s at. It’s probably the best keyboard I’ve ever used. Pair that with the MX Master 3, and you have the perfect keyboard/mouse combo in my mind.
In front of my face is a massive Dell 38-inch widescreen beast. I used dual screens for years (upon years upon years), but I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to switch to an ultrawide eventually. And I’m glad that I did—it just works so much better for my workflow than an excessive multi-monitor setup. It probably goes back to that ADD thing—too many screens means easy distractions. With a single ultrawide, I can minimize everything I’m not actively using and focus solely on my edit window. But when I need the extra real estate, it’s there. Pair that with Dell’s basic-but-useful Display Manager, and I can split this big-ass screen up just like two (or more) smaller ones if I need to. It’s the best of both worlds.
Perched atop that big-ass screen is a Logitech C920 webcam. I’ve had this thing for years, and it still looks great. I used it when I podcasted back in the day (which I’d really like to start doing again—hit me up if you’d be interested in a Review Geek podcast of some kind!), but now it’s mostly just for meetings and junk. I pair it with my Blue Yeti mic, which is still one of the best mics out there.
Underneath the screen is where you’ll find the excellent Polk MagniFi Mini soundbar. I had the same Harmon/Kardon speakers for something like 15 years before they finally kicked the bucket, and when it finally happened I wanted something low profile to replace them. This fit the bill perfectly—it sounds amazing, has a separate sub with incredible bass, and gets loud. That’s great when I want to grab a guitar and jam along with some tunes. (Note: guitar banter coming later.)
Then there’s the workhorse: my main PC. It might surprise you to find out that I’m not using the latest and most powerful PC components out there—far from it. I’ve been using the same Falcon Northwest Tiki for literally years at this point, with little more than a graphics card upgrade a few years ago. Here’s a peek at the core specs:
- Intel Core i7-4770K (Haswell) processor (3.5 GHz)
- 16 GB RAM
- 500 Crucial SSD (main), 2 TB WD HDD (storage) drives
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 GPU
- ASUS Z871 Mobo
- Windows 10 Home
Yeah, nothing to write home about. I’ve had it for 6 or 7 years now. It keeps working, so I keep using it. When the day comes that it stops working, I’ll have to make a call: buy a new desktop or switch to an all-laptop-all-the-time setup (which is honestly a dream of mine anyway). This big ol’ Dell screen has tons of ports, including a 60w USB-C PD port that I can use to dock my Surface Laptop 3.
Speaking of the SL3, I guess we can talk about laptops and other portable devices now, eh? I have a pair of laptops that do all of my on-the-go heavy lifting: the aforementioned Surface Laptop 3 and a Google Pixelbook, complete with a black camo dbrand skin. The Pixelbook was my main laptop for a couple of years until I finally decided it was time to shell out for a Windows laptop. Now I have, use, and love both. Here are the specs of the SL3 for those interested:
- 13.5-inch 2256×1504 display
- Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor (1.5 GHz)
- 16 GB RAM
- 512 GB Storage
- Cobalt Blue finish with Alcantara
- Windows 10 Home
It’s funny because at this point, the SL3 outperforms my aging desktop. The desktop is still fast enough for what I need, though, so it’s fine. But I like knowing that if it were to die today, I could just plug a USB-C cable into the SL3 and never miss a beat.
The Pixelbook is also a workhorse in its own right. It’s the base model but still performs exceptionally well because of Chrome OS:
- 12.3-inch 2400×1600 display
- Intel Core i5-7Y57 processor (1.2 GHz)
- 8 GB RAM
- 128 GB Storage
- Chrome OS
There are also a variety of mobile devices in my arsenal, but I’ll try to keep this short and sweet.
- OnePlus 8 Pro: This is my primary phone at the moment. It’s an excellent piece of hardware and finally (finally) puts OnePlus into “flagship” territory. There are no compromises here … except maybe its massive size. Otherwise it’s perfect.
- iPhone XR: This is my secondary line. I’ve been carrying the XR since it was initially released, and it’s still just as fast as it was on day one. As I die-hard Android user, there’s something refreshing about having the same phone for nearly 2 years and not feeling an ounce of lag from it.
- Pixel 4 XL: I haven’t carried this since I got the OP 8 Pro, but it’s a staple Android phone, so I keep it on hand for quick comparisons and other stock Android-related things.
- iPad (6th Gen): This mostly sits on my desk so I can see notifications at a glance, but I also use it to run Zwift when I’m on my bike trainer. But we’ll talk more about that down below.
- AirPods Pro: If you ask me, these are the best true wireless headphones on the planet. I use them with my Android and iOS devices, and they’re flawless with both.
Yeah, so that that for my main work gear. Now, we can talk about the fun stuff.
My Workout Space: Mostly Bikes and Stuff to Work on Bikes
I’ve told the story about how I used to be big (210 pounds), then I lost a bunch of weight (70 lbs), and donated a kidney to my youngest son a bunch of times before, so I won’t go into all the details here. Instead, I’ll just say that cycling changed my life. It gave me an outlet I didn’t know I needed, helped me get healthier, and taught me more about myself that I would’ve ever been able to learn otherwise.
It’s such an integral part of my life now, and I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s a way to relieve mental and emotional stress, get away from the rest of the world, and work through my thoughts. There’s nothing I love more than burying myself on the bike—seeing how far I can push my body is one of my favorite things to do these days (within reason, of course).
I have a pair of bikes that do everything I want and more: a 2018 Cannondale SuperSix Evo disc and 2017 Cannondale CAADX. The former handles pretty much all of my training and fast-paced road rides, with the latter is reserved for gravel riding, and any time I want to be a little more comfortable. Here are the specs of each:
2018 SuperSix Evo Disc
- Full carbon frame/fork, size 50
- SRAM Force 1 drivetrain, 50t chainring w/ Sunrace 11-36 cassette
- Cannondale Hollowgram Si crankset w/ Stages Gen3 power meter
- ENVE 3.4 wheelset w/ DT Swiss 240 hubs
- Continental GP 4000 tires, 700×25
- Zipp SL-70 Aero handlebar
- ZIPP Service Source SL Seatpost, zero-offset
- S-Works Power saddle, 143mm
- Aluminum frame/carbon fork, size 51
- SRAM Apex 1 drivetrain, 44t chainring w/ Shimano 11-40 cassette
- Cannondale Si Crankset w/ Stages Gen 3 power meter
- H Plus Son Archetype wheelset w/ DT Swiss 350 hubs
- WTB Riddler tires, 700×37
- Salsa Cowbell handlebar
- Zipp Service Course SL seatpost, zero-offset
- Specialized Power Comp Saddle, 143mm
The CAADX was my main bike for over 3 years (over 10,000 miles on it!), and I recently ordered a set of the new Zipp 303 S wheels to run with a set of Panaracer Gravel King 700×32 tires for more comfortable-but-still-fast-enough road rides. While the SuperSix is by far the bike I ride most now, the CAADX will always be one of my favorites bikes of all time.
I also have some essential on-bike tech. Stuff I won’t ride without:
- Garmin Edge 530: This is my main bike computer. I recently upgraded to this from the Edge 520, and honestly, I wish I would’ve done it a lot sooner. The 530 is a massive upgrade from the 520. It has everything I want from a bike computer.
- Garmin Varia Radar (Gen 1): The Varia Radar is a game-changer. It detects cars coming up behind me and sends a notification to my Edge 530. It has a quick visual indicator that shows how far away the car is and how fast it’s traveling. It’s not a replacement for situational awareness, but it makes me feel better when riding outside. I know when cars are coming up behind me long before anyone who doesn’t have a Radar.
- Cycliq Fly12 CE: Being a cyclist out on the road is pretty scary, and while the Varia Radar does an excellent job of giving me a heads up when something is coming up behind me, I want cars coming towards me to know I’m there, too. That’s where the Fly12 comes in: it’s a headlight and a camera. I use it in daylight flash mode every time I ride, and it records everything while I’m on the road. That way, if something does happen, then I’ll at least have video evidence if I need it.
- AfterShokz Air: There’s nothing more motivating than music in the middle of a hard ride, but I also always want to be able to hear what’s going on around me when I’m on the road. That’s where the Afterhokz Air comes into play—they’re bone conduction headphones, so I can hear what’s going on around me and jam to my favorite on-bike tunes. It’s the best of both worlds. I’m looking forward to the upcoming Aeropex Mini.
- Stages Power: I briefly mentioned these power meters in the bike specs above, but thought they could use a bit more explanation for anyone who may not be familiar with the tech. A power meter measures how hard you’re working on the bike (in watts). This effectively allows you to not only quantify your fitness but also gives a far more accurate calorie-burn reading than any app out there.
- Wahoo Tickr: This is my go-to heart rate monitor. Been using Tickrs for years now, and I’ll keep using them for years to come. Wahoo just announced a new model, too, and I’m honestly kind of excited for this one to break, so I have a reason to get the new one.
I ride 5-6 days (150ish miles) a week, and while I get outside when I can—mostly weekends—the bulk of my time on the bike takes place indoors on my trainer. My Wahoo Kickr Core is the workhorse here and has been the best trainer I’ve ever owned. It’s direct drive, so it’s super responsive when it comes to power changes, and it pairs up nicely with both Stages power meters. This way, I get the same numbers indoors as out.
I train heavily with TrainerRoad, as it’s by far the best way to get fast on a bicycle. Even if you don’t race (I don’t), it can take your riding to the next level. There’s also an exceptional community behind TR—the forum is full of great conversation about training, equipment, and all sorts of other cycling-related crap. But it’s also one of the best communities I’ve ever been a part of for lifting each other up. All (or at least the vast majority) of my fellow TrainerRoad athletes genuinely want to see each other succeed. It’s great.
But I digress—I’m talking about my office, not how amazing TrainerRoad is (seriously though—it’s incredible).
I also run Zwift alongside TrainerRoad—TR on the iPhone, Zwift on the iPad—mostly for the visual aspect (and the drops). It’s fine software as well, especially for the social aspect of cycling. It fits a different niche than TrainerRoad, which might make more sense for some cyclists. I like them both for various reasons.
I have a trainer desk for the iPhone and iPad, as well as a towel, nutrition, and everything else I use while I’m on the trainer. It’s a clear ripoff of the Wahoo Kickr Desk that I grabbed for $120 before they sold out some time last year. I haven’t seen any others like it on the market since this one disappeared, so I imagine Wahoo pushed out some cease and desists to make sure these cheaper desks were off the market as the official desk typically goes for $250. Woof. (If you want something like this, you could opt for an overbed table.)
It’s taken me a while to get the space itself dialed in. For the longest time, I set up and broke down my trainer every single day. That got old, so I knew I wanted a way to leave it set up permanently. It took a bit of trial and error, but eventually I settled on what you see above. I removed the doors to this section of the built-ins along the back of my office, cleaned everything out, and got my trainer TV setup in there. It’s a cheap Insignia TV with Roku software, but I have SHIELD Android TV running the show anyway.
Everything is out of the way, my back is to my computer so I can focus on working out and not get distracted by thoughts of work (and vice versa). I also use the open area beside the trainer for a bit of strength training, mostly with body weight and resistance bands. I’m pleased with this setup overall, though I’d love to have a dedicated workout room in our next house. It’s on the wishlist.
I also have a small “bike repair” area opposite my trainer space, which is just a very small portable table with most of my bike tools on top of it. I got tired of setting it up and breaking it down every time I had to do something, so I set this up when I was building the SuperSix up and just left it. It’s mostly of the way, and I like having things out in the open when I need them for quick adjustments.
My Jam Space: Guitars and Stuff
Before I started cycling, playing guitar was my main hobby. I’m still not very good, but I do enjoy playing quite a bit. It turns out that bikes and guitars are both very expensive, so I had to make a call: which one gets the focus of my time and money? It didn’t take long for me to figure it out, and guitars have taken a backseat to bikes ever since.
Having my office on the other side of the house from everything else means I can crank it, jam out, and forget everything else in the world exists. I try to play a bit each day if I can, but that doesn’t always work out—it’s last on the list of things to do after all of my priorities are taken care of, so my playing doesn’t get the love I wish it did. Overall, I’m okay with that though.
If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of keeping things clean and concise with lists, so here’s a look at my electric guitars:
Fender Blacktop Telecaster (“The Bulls Tele”)
- Seymour Duncan Distortion/Jazz pickups (bridge/neck)
- Hipshot bridge
- Volume, killswitch
- Elixir 9-46 strings, tuned to Standard E
Fender Blacktop Telecaster (“The Red One”)
- EMG 81x bridge pickup
- Hipshot bridge
- Volume, killswitch
- D’Addario 11-56 strings, tuned to Drop B
Fender Noir Telecaster (“The Noir”)
- Stock Fender pickups
- Stock bridge
- Volume, Tone
- Elixir 9-46 strings, tuned to Standard E
ESP LTD F-400 (“The F”)
- EMG 81/81 pickups (bridge/neck)
- Tonepros bridge
- Volume, killswitch
- D’Addario 12-60 strings, tuned to Drop A#
I use the different guitars for different things (clearly), but right now, The Red One is my favorite. Drop B is my favorite tuning overall, and the EMG 81x in the bridge has a mean growl that I just can’t get enough of. Still yet, if something happened and I could only keep one of these, it would be The Bulls Tele, because it’s the most versatile. That guitar can cover a gamut of genres and sound good on all of them.
I also have a pair of acoustics, an Ibanez somethingoranother and an old-ass Dorado that I know nothing about. My grandfather gave me the later when I was 13, and it’s the guitar I learned to play on—it’s been around the block a time or two (as you can see), and I never play it now. But it’s sentimental.
The Ibby is my “main” acoustic, and I go through phases of pick-up-and-play with it. I find that my desire to play acoustic is a direct reflection of what I’ve been listening to lately. So, if it’s a lot of metal, then I’m playing The Red One all the time. But if I’ve been in a bluegrass mood, you better believe the Ibby is getting a lot of love.
I went through a phase with several different amps a few years ago, but it all culminated with the Boss Katana-Head (Mk I). Because I’m just an at-home player and don’t have to worry about gigs and whatnot, it does everything I could want and sounds incredible doing it. It’s versatile, loud as hell, and easy to use. But maybe best of all, it’s cheap. I’ve had it for a couple of years now and still don’t understand how a $350 head can sound this good.
I pair the head with a 2×12 Avatar cab loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s. I know that’s overkill for an at-home guitarist, but I got a great deal on it 6 or 7 years ago and see no reason to downsize. I’d probably end up losing money in the long run anyway.
Finally, my pedalboard. It’s about as simple as a board can get: a tuner, a wah, and my trusty Digitech Whammy DT. I use the Whammy a lot, but I mostly have this for the DT—Drop Tune—feature. This means I can play along with whatever I want, regardless of which guitar I’m playing or what tuning it’s in. I use this feature all the time. I used to have a much bigger board with several superfluous pedals, but now I do pretty much everything that isn’t wah or whammy-related with the Katana.
If you made it this far, I congratulate you. That was a long read with a pretty eclectic mix of stuff throughout. If you have any questions about any of my gear, how I use it, or anything else, feel free to ask away in the comments or hit me up on Twitter, and I’ll answer.