Arranging your workspace

When you sit down at your desk, how is your comfort level? Do you have to shove piles of paper out of the way, or do you believe that a cluttered desk indicates a cluttered mind? Do you have enough room to work? Are your ergonomics in place to stop you from getting headaches, wrist injuries, and the like?

Ryan and I were talking the other day about how our desks were arranged. He was trying to fit a laptop on the same desk as his dual monitor setup, and it struck him that it was nearly impossible to search for how people arranged their desktops without getting screenshots of, well, desktops.

In the interest of sharing information, I present a rough diagram (created in OmniGraffle), for your enjoyment:

In the interest of professionalism, I have left off the trilobyte fossil, Michael Scott sticky-notes, and bobble head Knight Who Says Ni. I also forgot the aspirin, pepto bismol, tums, and multivitamins. Being a sysadmin is hard sometimes :-)

Depending on the number of projects I’m working on, my desk is pretty messy, but filing generally helps reduce clutter.

How are your desks arranged? Do you have a way of organizing that you like more than others? Throw pictures up on flickr and share!

  • heinz

    Well i have 5 screens on my desk 17laptop-17crt-19crt-17crt-15laptop.

    Just imagine whats left :)

    Im considering wallmounting some TFTs so i can get some space.

  • Matt


    What you need is one of these bad boys from Digital Tigers:

  • Michel

    Time to get rid of that heinz alias. Think i signed up months ago in a hurry.

    To be precise im working from home right now until our new office is done. I better forward the price to my boss and see what he says.

    Heres some picture taken with my windowsphone. Please excuse the quality but i dont like pictures at all. So i dont know how to take them properly.

    Since that room is small and only temporary for work i can manage. Maybe doesnt quite fit your original post but it works quite well.

    In the left back are some servers wich i use for testing. Computers and networking equipement is hidden in the closet below my desk. It doesnt like the heat that much obviously but i dont like the sound. My next computer will probably be silent.

    A few more servers in another room. Thats it right now.

  • Matt


    Nice, thanks!

    You’re right, you would save a lot of desk space if you upgraded from CRT. I don’t know if I’d hang them on the wall, though, unless you got some nice, big models. With LCD, at least you can put back a little farther, still see them well, and have lots of room for other stuff.

    You’ll definitely have to send an updated picture when your new workspace is ready. I love seeing how other people have their stuff arranged

  • Ben C

    Here’s how Vizio envisions mine:

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any shapes for “large stack of random papers” and “whatever I happen to be drinking and snacking on at the time.” In reality, there’s pretty much no desk visible. Not to mention my file cabinet, shelves, floor, etc…

  • Jason Antman

    The desk at work is pretty minimalist – 3x 17″ CRTs (hooked up to 2 machines, with synergy), phone, a 4×4-foot area for whatever I’m working on (Soekris boxes at the moment), a big whiteboard just to the right of the chair (though I’m a lefty), and a table on the other side with the printers and random network hardware.

    At home, on the other hand (and where the real work gets done), I have a wonderful Ikea-desk with my laptop (15″, my primary machine), a 21″ CRT for MythTV, a shelf above for random hardware, and a 17″ LCD hooked up to an 8-port KVM…

  • Matt


    Your desktop sounds like mine. If I can find it, it’s a successful morning!


    Nice home setup :-) I think the MythTV would distract me from my work too often, but I’m jealous of the monitor ;-)

    Thanks for sharing

  • Kenny

    Here’s what mine actually looks like. :) The monitor on the right is my main gaming machine. The one on the left is shared between my Laptop and my linux machine.

    Fear the Pirate Turtle Bobble Head! He nods at me as I type.

  • Lloyd Collins

    The knights who say NI! Require you to have a shrubbery on your desk.