If you are walking the streets of Somerville tonight you might see a very interesting sight: a grown-ass man throwing a desk through is living room window.
I haven’t really had a desk that I really liked since high school. The one that I’m currently using has a rounded edge and casters, which have become the two most hated aspects that a desk can have in my option. The casters cause the desk to slowly lurch around the sloping floors of my apartment.
The rounded edge may be the dumbest design choice for a desk. Instead of having two corners at the end, it’s round. This means that I’m losing all of the real-estate that those two conners would have made up, so everything is jumbled on the desk and I don’t feel like I can ever get the thing clean.
And the rounded edge in the on the right hand side. This force me to put my computer stuff more to the left, so that when I want to put a drink or something on the my desk I have to put in on the right. Problem with that is that I’m left-handed, so I naturally want to place things on my left side. Now a desk is just a table. That is to say, a rectangle and it shouldn’t left or right handed. Yet with it’s stupid design, it is in fact a right-handed desk.
Now this may all seem like a first world problem, and that would be because it is. However, when you spend as much time on the computer as I do, your working environment becomes very important because if you are fighting your working situation, you’re not actually working. I’ve spent a long time just while I was writing this post starring at the mess this badly thought out desk creates.
The solution to this, of course, would be to replace the desk with a new one. And again, I’ve had a lot of different desks, so I feel like I’ve been able to sculpt a pretty good option of what works best for me.
I generally like a long desk with enough room for a desk top computer, a laptop, and a legal pad to be laid out at the same time. I’m also going to need some space for a microphone and a mixer because I do a lot of podcasting. There should also be side for drawers to hold a lot of the office supplies I normally need.
When I was a kid, my dad had long work bench in the garage which he made himself out a butcher’s block and a metal frame. I used to sit a one of the bar stools that used to line the thing and watch him solder parts for the computers that he would build by hand. The best feature of that bench was that, being an electrician, he was able run wiring to his own electrical outlets that he built into the surface of the butcher’s block. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized that outlets were not a standard feature in work benches.
Electrical outlets would be a great thing to have in a desk, but I’m going to have to build that out myself. That’s ultimately the lesson that my current desk is trying to teach me: I hate it because it was prefabricated to kind of work for a lot of people without working for any one person perfectly.
For something as fundamental to your workflow as the thing you actually do work on, you have to build it yourself to make sure it’s completely customized for you. Does this mean that my next trip out of the house is to a hardware store? No. For the first draft of the New Desk, I’m going to try getting all of the pieces from Ikea and doing some customizations. I’ll keep you posted on the project as things develop.