How I set up my study/gaming/procrastination desk for maximum effectiveness during Quarantine
Taking action on all the YouTube vid’s
No doubt, there is a subtlety to set-ups. A certain beautiful mathematics that enables a monitor to perfectly fit just beside a desk lamp, and yet sustain the exact amount of negative space to preside ahead of a bright RGB keyboard and mouse coupling. Right angles, and the color black, just about elicit the perfectionist in everyone. If nothing else, this time in quarantine has shone a floodlight on my desk's tumultuous history.
Over the years, I have found there to be a distinct mood correlation between desk layout and desired outcome from said desk. This hypothesis allowed for: the journalling productive study set-up; the intense gaming, distraction restricted set-up; the creative coffee minimalist set-up; and the quintessential procrastinator, clean/cluttered split set-up. Sequentially, that has been the journey of this particular desk over the last 3 months. Times, and my eyes, heralded a change. A change that brings me to the current set-up; one built atop of weeks (days) and weeks (minutes) of research (Medium reading on the topic). Configuration time aside, and after several days of testing, I have compiled my findings into 3 takeaways.
Thanks to the investigations of a few scientists, we (non-scientists) are able to understand how lighting can and does impact us. As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid poor lighting options when selecting a light source for your desk. The reason being that inadequate, or ineffective lighting has been found to lead to eye strain, fatigue, and headaches just to mention a few. Regardless, the outcome is always the same ann undesired — a negative impact on one's mood. These discoveries lead me into investing in a modular light source wherein I am given the option to adjust and set lighting according to a host of variables.
As a result, I came to two conclusions:
- Brightness follows the Goldilock’s principle — Find the mid-point where your eyes are comfortable and can operate intelligently for a long period of time without strain and you are golden.
- Position of the light source is crucial — For face-times, web-cams, or just about anything video char related, I follow the defacto behind-the-camera-aimed-at-your-head standard. For hand-writing tasks, I have the light source angled on-top of the paper (and my hand ofc). And for the other menial tasks, the light source sits in the middle of the desk, readily available.
Ergonomics have a come a long way since my child year knee-sitting method to an efficient desk seating position. That lad had no idea, or interest, in the science of desk-chairs, or the extent of it. The sheer customizability that an individual can be serviced with desk/gaming chairs today is absurd.
Beating out the traditional living-room wooden chair with the cushioned centerpiece, my current chair boasts an arsenal of features. Not being sponsored or influenced by a single brand, in particular, the current ‘sitter’ boasts chair height; chair angle; backrest angle; and armrest height adjustable. All while being mounted on five trusty wheelies, for maximum spin and intense swiveling.
- Wrists should be supported at all times — Armrest height adjustability is invaluable for the modern-day student, ailing away at digital assignment after digital assignment.
- Convenience is unbeatable — Smoothly shimmying from one side of the desk to the other without arising from your throne beats up-lift-sit protocol any time of the day
- Comfort, comfort, and more comfort — Gaming sessions can turn into ventures of hours. Thus, it is paramount that one be in a constant state of relaxation and (dare I say it) joy. And the leather I am sitting on at the moment facilitates this delightfully.
Early on, I learned how structure can play a pivotal role in success. Pre-planning a month’s worth of study before a finals exam; setting up my calendar to allocate time to write Medium thoughts to be able to write as many as I hope to; the examples are endless. We (I, at least) can apply this to desk management.
- Always have a water bottle close (in my case underneath) your desk. This will mitigate the chances of you leaving your desk to refill your water and falling victim to social media scrolling. It also helps as a quick and ready hydration source for times of late-night assignment writing.
- Put your phone away for that Pomodoro session you keep cutting short for a notification. Structuring your environment in a way that lessens the number of distractions in your eye line, will (always to a certain degree of success) reduce the chance of procrastination.
- Neatness is best —Anything on your desk should have a role to play, however benign. My empty mug to the right of my keyboard stands as a reminder that I today is a tea-favored day. Similarly, the lamp set to a dim orange, reiterates to my brain that I am in a ‘focused’ state. You get the gist. Point is, if you have clutter on your desk, your brain will spot them and look to bother itself with understanding what is doing there, taking away from productive brainpower resources.
Lighting, Chair, and Structure are but three variables that I saw have a massive and day-to-day impact on my productivity, focus, and overall well-being.