Don’t Dismiss The Desk –
Sara Skillen, CPO®, ECC
Owner, SkillSet Organizing
January 9 was National Clean Off Your Desk Day (always celebrated the second Monday in January). Whether you marked that holiday or not I hope many of you have spent some time cleaning and clearing since the New Year kicked off, maybe even using this post for a little inspiration. I wonder what you might have discovered about the piece of furniture that was under all of the paper clutter and extra sticky notes (“Oh, cool, I never realized it was artisanal gray-washed pine…”)? Take a closer look. Is it a functional but affordable piece from a discount store? Grandma’s antique rolltop? A card table with hot glue gun burns?
I have clients who create all sorts of home office setups – some creative and ingenious, and many clearly afterthoughts. With as much care as we usually take to pick out a new car, a computer, or even a fabulous pair of shoes, why do we so quickly dismiss the piece of furniture where all of the business magic is supposed to happen? Lately I know many who have become enamored with the whole standing desk phenomenon, and there’s a great post from Reviews.com that outlines a LOT of important considerations for choosing a standing desk. Bookmark it and take a few minutes to read through, whether you’re thinking about a standing desk or not.
Yet you may still be thinking, “A desk is a desk is a desk, right?” Au contraire. Chosen carefully, a great desk can not only make the room look better, it can actually inspire you to stay more organized and productive. A desk that provides the correct spaces for your personal needs cuts down on all of those tiny little stresses that add up in a day. Things like “Where the hell are the stamps I just bought?”, and “Crap, coffee stains on the Jones agreement.” Whether you run a graphic design empire or manage the travel soccer team (or both), those little things build and keep your brain from focusing on what’s important. So to help you zero in on the right desk environment, I’ve created a list of questions to think through:
• How much space do you have for a desk? Do you need to go more vertical or horizontal?
• Do you have a budget for something new? Can you consider used or repurposed?
• If you’re using a hand-me-down or used desk, can you make changes to it that improve its functionality (like adding a keyboard tray, or storage hutch)?
• Do you want two monitors? Do you need space to spread out plans or designs?
• Does your work require lots of paper? Supplies? Be realistic. A glass top with no drawers may look cool, but who will even know when it’s totally covered with your clutter?
• Conversely, does the desk have so many drawers and compartments you get lost figuring out where things go?
• Are you right-handed or left-handed (important to consider if you want an L-shape, or drawers on one side or the other)?
• If you like a standing desk, will it adjust? You will occasionally want to sit (and you should).
• Where will the lighting in the room be in relation to the desk? Do you have space for task lighting?
• What is your taste? Antique? Modern? Minimalist? Don’t totally throw out aesthetic considerations in favor of function.
• What do you reach for most often during the day? Is there space on whatever desk you’re considering to keep those items close?
• Don’t forget a chair or stool – how tall are you? Does your seating adjust?
There are plenty more questions you can ask, but the point is to make this selection process a priority. Your desk is your mission control, command center, your bridge – so don’t squander your opportunity.
And if you’ve already created an amazing desk space, please share with us in the comments.
This blog post originally appeared on “Sorting Through the Haystack” and was reprinted with permission by the author. http://www.skillsetorganizing.com/saras-blog/dont-dismiss-the-desk.