Since I have been posting about software quite a bit lately, I thought I’d back up and talk about something just as important: your physical environment.
You want to strike a balance between having things clean and uncluttered, and having things close by when you need them. It’s a tough line: how can you have it so that things are out of your way but not so inconvenient that it becomes a hassle to get something done?
A few months ago I totally re-did my home office and for me at least, I have come up with a decent solution and hopefully some of you might find it useful.
About My Office
My home office is in the basement and is affectionately known as “the dungeon” because it is cold and there is not a huge amount of natural light.
There is a TV in it (as you will see), but we don’t use it much as we don’t have cable (yes we are one of those freak families). I have a Mac Mini hooked up to the TV running Plex that we use as a media center. Sometimes during the day I will have music playing on it, or when there is a webcast (or a hockey game) I want to watch, I will put it on the TV and work from the sofa.
First, A Confession
Before I go through my new office, I have a confession to make.
Are you familiar with the old saying “the cobbler’s children have no shoes?”. Well, that was pretty much the situation for the first year of DocumentSnap.
I had gone through and eliminated my entire filing cabinet of non-critical paper, but my workspace itself was pretty much a disaster.
Longtime readers might remember that I started going paperless because I moved and I was annoyed at having to move my filing cabinet that was bursting at the seams with paper. I swore I would never do that again, so I bought a ScanSnap and the rest is history.
One unfortunate side effect of that move is I somehow lost the legs of my desk. So here I present to you the workspace that DocumentSnap.com was born on:
Is that a gong show or what?
There’s a big inbox with paper all over the place, cords everywhere, a scanner and an all-in-one fighting for space, and the desk is being held up by boxes. What a nightmare.
The Office Redesign
I knew I had to do something, so I decided to start completely from scratch. I downloaded a room planner from Ikea, got out my tape measure, and went to work.
I had a few goals:
- Everything I needed to work with on a daily basis needed to be right at hand
- Anything I wasn’t currently working with needed to be hidden away
- I have a thing for the color red so I wanted to have at least one red wall
You can see from my desk, mission accomplished:
All that is on there is my computer, monitor, phone, and some drink coasters. Occasionally I will have a notebook and some note paper but that is it. I try to be disciplined about keeping stuff off the desk.
Here is a wide shot of the workspace. Can you guess what my favorite movie is?
Hmm, I wonder what is inside that cabinet.
You can see there is a number of sections. I have a tray for holding miscellaneous computer stuff, my ScanSnap S1300, my all-in-one, and some hanging file folders.
The hanging folders are important. Any paper that comes into my office that needs to be dealt with goes in there. There is an “inbox” folder, a “WIP” folder for things I am working on, a “To Scan” folder, and a “To Pay” folder. That’s it.
You might notice that there is no filing cabinet near my desk. This is completely intentional. I do have one, but it is hidden in the closet.
It is extremely, extremely rare that any paper gets filed into there, and there is none at all in the bottom two drawers.
I have some more pictures of the home office that you can see in this Flickr workspace set.
Still To Do
So far I am loving the change, but there are still some things to do. For starters, as I mentioned, the light isn’t the greatest. I think I need to improve that.
Also, its a bit boring. I need some art or something on the walls, especially above my desk. If anyone has suggestions for cool things to put there, leave a comment.
I hope this gives you some ideas. I certainly drew a lot of inspiration from workspaces that I found online. If you have any suggestions for improvements or have other cool workspaces, feel free to drop a comment and let us all know.
If you’re looking for a desk light take a look at this on amazon.com:
I just got one and really love it, and only $38.