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:
- Legal Andrew
- Stephen’s Work and Home Desks
- Josh Dorkin (with links to others)
- Al Gore’s Office (If you are discourage about how neat your desk is, you have to see this!)
Nice setup! Probably one of the neatest I have seen, without it looking too sterile.
Ariane Benefit says
Thanks so much for linking to my post! How am I just now learning about your blog? It’s Awesome!! I love your 12 tips for organizing your desk. I want to add a couple to my Free e-book. Did you see my Show Us Your Desk Challenge? http://www.neatliving.net/blog/2007/04/show_us_your_de.html I’m going to add you to it! : ) I’m going to be posting about the complete redesign of my office soon. It’s almost done…can’t wait!
I’ll be watching you…and maybe I’ll even do a review of your blog : )
Mark Shead says
@Ariane – Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you like Productivity501. That photo of Al Gore is incredible and I’ve been pointing it out to a lot of people. I did see your Desk Challenge, but it said we weren’t allowed to neaten up our desk, so I figured I would be automatically disqualified. :)
I’m looking forward to seeing your office redesign.
@Shalini – Thanks. Growing up all my friends said my room looked like a dentist office, so I’m glad to see I’ve moved away from the sterile look. :)
Ariane Benefit says
Mark – if you have a neat desk most of the time, that’s ok…I just wanted to see people’s desk – as is – neat or messy! You are now added to the post! :)
Hey Mark, thanks for the link. You know, are all of these on a tag at Flickr? I really need to get an account. Even though my “Digital Camera” leaves something to be desired.
Mark Shead says
@Stephen – I don’t have an account at Flickr, so I haven’t put any of mine up there. I think there may be some tags for “desks” or “work area” that people are doing. There was one awhile back for “what’s in your bag” that was kind of interesting.
Trevor Karan says
this is nice for you folks who work on few things at a time. come to my project office where we manage project that last for years. IMPOSSIBLE. I have tried and tried. to work effficiently and asswer many questions, i must have paperes and files all around me. kudos to you all.
Richard James Oakwood says
Your desk looks very organized, I’m impressed! I know that it can be pretty difficult to have very single thing in place, especially when have tons of work to you just want to get over with. I like really like your setup, thank for sharing this with us!
You asked if there could be improvement to your office; my suggestion would be to turn your desk around and not facing wall, then you get a clear view of the door.
This is called the power position in feng shui.
Great leaders do not sit facing a wall.
I hope this helps.
Mark Shead says
If you are talking about the glass desk photos, that is an older setup in a very small room and there wasn’t enough space to face the door directly. However the door was on the same wall that the my desk faced to the immediate left of the desk. So if someone entered the room they would be about 20 to 30 degrees to my left if I was looking at the computer monitor. My current home office has my desk facing the stairs that are the primary entry to the room.
David Collins says
Always nice to have a neat desk with everything in reach for when you need it