Whether at home or at the office, organization is important. Your productivity and efficiency can hinge on your ability to locate things quickly and easily. Unfortunately, being busy often keeps us from finding the time to clean up our workspace and get our desk organized. Sounds a bit like the “chicken or the egg” argument, doesn’t it? Well, it’s time to make a change and we have some tips to help you out.
With any computer workspace there are a few standard hurdles to overcome. Cables, monitors, speakers and peripherals are necessities, but take up valuable desk space and limit your “elbow room.” Honestly, once you get all these things set up in the small bit of real estate that your office allows you, what room is there for actual work? In most cases, the answer is as simple as a bigger desk or cubicle. Unfortunately, due to space constraints and budgets, this easy answer is often impossible. It is going to be up to you and a small amount of money to seize back your workspace and your sanity.
Here are some tips, broken out by category, for organizing and beautifying your work area:
- CPU – You might be using a tower or a laptop. Either way, you would benefit from getting that hardware off your desk and leaving just a keyboard and mouse behind. You’ll want to keep the CPU off of the ground (dust can harm the internal components) but out of sight. Try an under desk CPU holder, like the one shown below.
- Monitors – Thank God for LCD monitors. Long gone are the days of the “giant boxes” (CRT monitors) that once took up the entire desk. With any luck, you have dual monitors at this point. Although they are slim and efficient, they still take up quite a bit of room and are often a little low for your line of sight. Elevate your monitor(s) with a LCD Monitor Mount and completely remove the monitor footprint that now occupies your desk. There are multiple companies that manufacture these and they are now much more affordable and easy to use.
Note: I recently purchased a Dual LCD Monitor Mount (just like the one featured below in External Links) and I could not be happier with my purchase.
- Cables – There are few people in the world who have won this battle. There is at least one cord for every element of your workspace (often more) and managing them is a constant battle. Luckily, many desks are designed with pre-drilled holes for running those cables, but then what? There are still cables on top and under your desk. Google the words “cable management” and you will find hundreds of choices on organizing your wiring. Choosing a type of cable management is determined by a few factors:
- How often you travel – Will you be plugging and unplugging wires constantly?
- How much time do you want to spend organizing in the first place?
- How much you are willing to spend?
- Peripherals – In addition to all of the standard elements of a computer workspace, you most likely have things like printers, iPods, speakers, external hard drives, scanners, etc. occupying valuable space. There are a number of ways you can deal with the clutter, but here are a couple of our favorites:
- USB Hub – A simple USB hub can help with cable management by moving the clutter to another area. Keep just one USB cable connected to your PC at a time.
- Go Wireless – New wireless technologies emerge every day, but you can already get inexpensive wireless printers and speakers for your computer. Less wires and the freedom to place these items in non-traditional spaces means more desk space.
If you have some time, venture over and take a look at this article from Lifehacker.com Most Popular Featured Workspaces of 2009. Hopefully, some of these wonderful workstations will fuel you to tackle your current disaster area workspace.
External Links to Some of Our Favorite Products
Dual LCD Monitor Mount – This LCD Monitor Pole with Double-Link Swing Arm provides a secure and elevated position for two flat-screen monitors to help free up valuable desk and work space. The picture does not do the product justice. You will have your entire desk to use for work after elevating your LCD monitors.
In-Desk USB 4 Port Hub – a lot of desks come with pre-drilled holes for cable management. Replace the standard plastic piece with this hub and save space.
Belkin Velcro Cable Ties – come in a pack of six to let you tie up all sorts of cables and keep them organized by color: red, green, black, yellow, blue, or gray. You can purchase less expensive ties at your local hardware store, but the assorted colors are fun and add some life to your workspace.
Cable Drops from BlueLounge – Attach behind or on the desktop, even onto a facing wall. Anywhere in fact where you wish to have cables temporarily held yet easily removeable or extended. CableDrop gently grasps your power and peripheral cords so they do not fall off your desk every time you unplug your laptop.
Price: $9.95 (for a set of 6)
Belkin Conceal Surge Protector – organizes your cables and keeps them out of view with a unique closing cover. Cords remain organized and secure in their sockets, and outlets stay out of reach of kids and pets.
Linksys Wirerless Print Server – lets you connect a USB printer directly to your network, eliminating the need to dedicate a PC to print sharing chores. It also removes the printing bottleneck, and sets your PC free to do more useful work.
Under Desk Mount – CPU Holder – Keep your computer clean and out of the way with Cyberguys’ convenient under-desk mounting kits. You save floor and desktop space while keeping your media drives within easy reach.