After writing the post about 12 Tips For an Organized Desk, several people were interested in seeing my setup. I’ve tried to map my description back to my page of tips. I’m interested in any comments or suggestions. Am I overlooking something obvious that could make things work even better?
When I graduated from college in 1998 I started looking for a good desk and chair. I found these and they have been my main workstation in the US ever since. While the glass tops make these a little hard to move, it is offset by the fact that the frames come apart, so the entire thing can be packed fairly flat against the wall in a moving van. It took me a very long time to find the chair. I can’t even remember where I got it, but it was the only reasonably priced chair that felt really comfortable. Considering the number of hours I’ve used it over the last 9 years, I’d say I’m definitely getting my money’s worth.
To the left of the chair is my filing cabinet. The top drawer is full of supplies (tip 5)and the bottom drawer has my files. Above it is a scanner next to the monitor that is sitting on top of a DVD player. Below the monitor is my assortment of “pocket stuff” (tip 2). Since the monitor has USB ports, this is an excellent place for things that need to be plugged in to sync or recharge. It is also where I keep my keys, watch, money clip, etc.
When I originally purchased the 24inch monitor I thought I was buying something of a luxury. It isn’t. If you spend all of your day looking at a computer screen, you really should have a decent screen. I can switch between 5 different input sources from the front of the monitor. This makes it easy to jump back and forth between my Linux workstation and using it as an external screen for my laptop. I can even play a DVD in the corner while keeping the rest of the screen set to display the computer signal. (This isn’t a particularly productive way to work, but for awhile I was working with programming set top boxes for streaming video to televisions. The picture in picture option made it very easy to work on code while viewing the results on the set top system.
When I first got the iSight camera, it didn’t get much use. Recently, I’ve been using it for video conferencing with client when doing presentations. Usually, they don’t have a camera, so I can’t see them, but it still helps to literally keep my face in front of them. It is going to be time to replace my laptop sometime this year and I’m looking forward to having the camera integrated.
Under the desk behind the chair is my desk for my desk. It is just a box turned upside down. All of the wires, battery backup and wall warts go under it out of site (tip 4 & 9) and all of my networking equipment goes on top, where I can easily get to it. The concept works really well. I want to make one out of wood instead of cardboard to help make things look a little more polished.
On the opposite wall is a chest of eight drawers for storage (tip 10)and to the left of the desk is a slightly messy bookshelf with software on the top, books in the middle and storage containers on the bottom. Behind some of the books are my cleaning supplies–a roll of paper towels and spray bottle of window cleaner (tip 7).
All in all I’m pretty happy with the setup. I’ve been using it for about 4 months now since coming back to the States. I prefer to have my desk near a closet so I can keep most of the electronics out of the way. I’ve simplified some things and most of my equipment is now silent so it isn’t as big of deal as it was on some of my previous setups.
Gary Lee was running a contest for the best workstation and the only photo I had available was my workspace setup from Mexico so I entered the picture below. (It was dubbed the smallest workstation of the contest.)
This was setup on a small table that I found in the abandoned maids quarters above the house where we were staying. The chair was just a standard folding metal chair and it would collapse 2 or 3 times per day regardless of how much I tried to bend it or super glue it. Behind the laptop monitor is our phone which was plugged into a Vonage box so we could make and receive telephone calls just like we were in the US.
If you like looking at workspaces (for ideas, inspiration, or just to procrastinate), here are a list of some other workstations to checkout: