I’ve got the perfect focused desk due to lockdown
It’s easy to let your desk become the dumping ground for a whole host of non-essential things.
The collection of coffee cups and biscuits. Notepads galore and wires everywhere. Screens covered in post-it notes, and old magazines acting as mouse mats.
But research from the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute has shown, through the use of fMRI scans, that our brains like to be ordered, and that constant visual reminders of disorganization strain our brain and reduce our ability to focus.
They also found that when participants cleared their work space, they were better able to focus and process information, and their productivity increased.
Clutter has also been shown to affect our general mental health, making us feel stressed, anxious, or depressed, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned from 2020 is that we don’t need extra things making us feel stressed, anxious or depressed. W
With that in mind, and the fact that due to Covid restrictions I was now working from home at a desk in my bedroom, I have streamlined my desk.
1) A desk tidy with only the basis in it
This three slot desk tidy carries everything I need on and off during my working day, which includes:
- Notepad, for meeting notes (as I take in the detail better if I write compared to typing up notes, plus I doodle)
- Post-it notes (to highlight elements within my notepad)
- Glasses cleaner (to keep my specs smudge free)
- A little leather gadget for storing my headphones (to keep the bloody wires out of the way when I’m not using them)
2) A baseball stress ball
At a time when I’m having many hours of video meetings during the course of the day, I find it a challenge to keep focused on the screen.
Not being in the room with people means that I get distracted by what’s in the room with me, rather than giving my colleagues my undivided attention.
I’ve taken to using this stress ball to help keep my mind on the task at hand, paying attention to the meeting, in order to avoid all those times when someone says my name and I wasn’t listening to the subject and now I need to figure out what I’m supposed to say.
3) A well stocked pen pot
Writing handwritten notes requires the use of a pen, but this pot carries pens, and pencils for all occasions.
My main, pre-meeting notes are written in standard blue or black biro, but then during-meeting notes get added in with fine tipped coloured pens, which stand out more and are better for drawing diagrams or flowcharts.
There are, hidden amongst the multiple pens, mechanical pencils and your standard wooden pencils, for when I’m working through ideas.
Clipped to the pen pot is a gift made by my youngest daughter, as it’s good to have something positive and personal to keep in my eyeline.
4) A desk notepad
This has been my find of the year, and it’s a throwback to the olden days of offices, where the laptop wasn’t the main focus on your desk.
Each sheet has the days of the week across the top, ready for day specific notes or reminders, and then there are large areas of note taking space, for when I just need to jot something down before it goes out of my mind.
By the end of the week this is filled with scribbles and reminders, which can be acted on, recorded somewhere else, or ignored, and I simply rip the top sheet off and I’ve got a new clear sheet to start the week with.
I do not know what I’d do without it, as it means I don’t need a notepad constantly open on my desk, and it can sit underneath my mouse mat for easy access.
Advice varies, but we should all be drinking between 1 and 2 litres of water a day, so having my bottle so close is a constant reminder to keep drinking.
My bottle holds 800ml, which means I don’t have to do too many walks down the stairs to fill it up, and it keeps me going between meal breaks.
My next challenge is to find a suitable chair that is both comfortable for long periods of working, and also aesthetically pleasing (because my wife won’t have an ugly chair in the bedroom). Feel free to write a response and point me in the direction of your recommendations.