The Owner of Chic Office Supply Shop Shorthand on How She Stays Laser-Focused & Productive

Rosanna Kvernmo makes a strong case for timers, animal-shaped paper clips, and more.

Whether you’re a seasoned remote worker or new to the whole work-from-home situation, it’s guaranteed that the time will come that you fall into a productivity rut. Like a blocked chakra (or writer’s block), long-disorganized desks suddenly require immediate clearing to ensure energy flow — conveniently as a major deadline looms.

To help guide us through these challenging (and mostly distracting) times, we’re tapping a host of L.A. creatives and shopkeeps to share their top WFH hacks and favorite desk accessories for adding a little inspiration to our makeshift cubicles (ahem, like our dinner table). Kicking things off is Rosanna Kvernmo, the owner of Highland Park office supply boutique Shorthand and local letterpress stationery company Iron Curtain Press.

The self-professed trash can lover (tell Oscar the Grouch!) clearly knows a thing or two about keeping a chic workspace. In addition to offering clever greeting cards and giftables, her cool shop stocks everything you need to create a non-boring desk, from colorful writing utensils and printastic file folders to minimalist-cool calendars and more.

Here, the fashionable entrepreneur reveals the paper goods that help her clear off her to-do list, the charming accoutrements that bring a smile to her face while checking off said items, and the 20-minute trick that keeps her as focused as a laser beam. Keep reading for all of that and more, and shop Shorthand online to enjoy free shipping while the brick-and-mortar is temporarily closed.

Rosanna’s Favorite Desk Accessories

Task Pad notebook in Mint, $19

“This handy notebook is perfect for keeping all your to-dos in one place. I tend to have a couple of different lists running at any given time depending on what I have going on. This notebook lets me keep all the lists in one place for easy referencing, and when a list is complete, I can simply tear it out of the notebook!”

Ballograf Epoca ballpoint pens, $8 each

A good pen. This is, of course, so subjective! Do you like to write with ballpoint pens, gel pens, rollerball? There are so many options. This Ballograf pen, made in Sweden since the 1960s, is my current favorite. I just love the color selection too. But be sure to peek through all of our various options.”

Midori D-clips in assorted animal shapes, $6 to $8 per box of 30

“Something fun. In this case, I’m choosing tiny paperclips as my item of frivolous desk fun. For just a few dollars, you can brighten your desk and spirits and in this age of quarantine and uncertainty, isn’t that just what our Work From Home desks need?”

Rosanna’s Top Work From Home Tips

Get dressed every morning. “Half of the working from home battle is getting yourself into the work mindset. I suggest sticking to your workday morning routine as much as possible. Wake up at the same time you would if you were going to work, make yourself a little breakfast, and throw on your work clothes. Trust me, even though your commute is now 30 seconds from your bedroom to your living room, it’s about getting into the mindset of, ‘I am here to be productive.’ Which brings me to Rule No. 2.”

Set up a work area and have a table or surface all for you and your work. “Personally, I bought a cheap Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and computer stand from Target (I also maybe needed to get out of the house for a second). Then I cleared off half of my dining room table to solidify it as MY WORKSPACE. Having a designated workspace is essential because it means you won’t work in bed. Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s hard not to switch over to work emails while browsing Netflix before bed. Try to resist! When you’re working from home, let your room be your place of relaxation. And let your workspace, be your workspace.”

Make a to-do list and leave it right next to your computer. “That way, when you finish one project and feel like moving that mouse over to browse Facebook or Reddit, your eye will catch the three other things you have to do and you’ll be back on track. (This is not a case against breaks! See Rule No. 4!) Building up those check marks next to your computer also gives you a sense of accomplishment, which can be the biggest encouragement next to FaceTiming your mom for company at lunch.”

Set a timer for 20-minute intervals. “If you’re having a really hard time getting yourself to focus, or you have some loved ones who also like to pull your attention, you can make an easy guide for you and everyone in your home. Set a timer for 20 minutes. In that 20 minutes, you place your phone facedown, on silent, somewhere across the room. You ask the people you share your home with to give you 20 minutes of uninterrupted time. Everyone can push through 20 minutes, including you.

When the timer goes off, you’ll be surprised at how quickly that went, and happy that you were able to get done what you did. After that, have a glass of water, check Instagram, give hugs to little ones who need it, and then set your next 20-minute timer.”

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