How I work – Environment

Todays 10 days to a better blog assignment is about the writing environment. I found this to be surprisingly on target. I’ve recently made sweeping changes in the how and where I work.

The Old

My desk was in the corner of my bedroom, with a window facing westward. I had it set up with a laptop stand, wireless keyboard, a decently wide monitor, USB hub, desk lamp, and a Wacom tablet. The cables were routed cleanly, with only the surge protector cord reaching the floor. I put effort into building something I would like. It was probably the cleanest desk setup I had ever put together.

Its location in the room turned out to be awkward. I had to go around my bed to get to it. The placement of the window and electrical outlets didn’t leave me a lot choice on places to move it. The sunset would light up the room with stunning warm colors, at time I was never there. I just don’t like sitting at a desk in hours around sundown.

The end result was a nicely setup desk. One that I never used. I would take the laptop to the living room and continually shatter my focus for hours on end.

The New

A lot was going change in my life when the calendar flipped to 2015. Around the middle of December I started thinking about how to carve out more time for myself. Something had to be done about the desk I didn’t use.

I’m fortunate enough to have a guest room. It’s about 2/3 the size of my ubedroom, but with southern exposure. After a few measurements, it looked like it would be a perfect office. The desk would fit in the corner with the window just behind my left shoulder. As a bonus the room was currently empty. It had endured a string of roommates and house guests over the last two years.

Since the desk was lightweight (IKEA top and legs) and the cables were tucked up, the moving and setup was easy. With a small table and bookcase along the wall next to the desk, I have a complete office in 4’x10’1 space.

Current setup, as of January 2015.
Current setup, as of January 2015.

I actually use my desk now! The room gets plenty of natural light, enough so my desk lamp is unused until the evening. I’m enjoying it for now, the southern exposure might be a bit too warm once the Southwest summer heats up.

Other changes

Moving the desk was the main physical change, but other virtual changes also mattered. The most important? Turning off notification sounds on my phone. Now, with the phone face down, I can ignore the screen lighting up, begging for my attention.

I’m also building my writing hub around the Ulysses text editor. I like its implementation of Markdown XL, and the library function keeps all my texts together. How I use it is worth its own post, later.

For now, I’m happy with what I’ve built.

  1. Approximately 1.2m x 3m for my metric friends.