My workspace makeover, part 2: Layout

By Katharine Swan On Thursday, June 30, 2011 At 1:42 PM

I'm reviving an old series of posts that I had planned, since this is really a continuation of the same theme: making over my workspace in order to encourage greater productivity.

In the first post, I wrote about my new desk chair.  I was having a hard time sitting at my desk for long periods of time, and suspected that part of it was the chair I was using, a vintage wooden chair.  It was more comfortable than you'd think, but just not enough to justify sitting in it for long stretches.

The new desk chair is comfortable, but it wasn't working to keep me in my desk as much as I wanted.  I was still taking my laptop into the living room and working there instead.  I started thinking maybe I needed a different desk — this one has been a challenge because the footwell is small (it's an older desk) and many chairs don't fit underneath.  My office chair doesn't, so I'm still in a position where it's far too easy to hunch forward, which is fatiguing.

I was thinking about getting a secretary desk or a piano desk (I like antiques), because either style would have a writing surface that would either fold down or pull out, coming out over my lap so that I could lean back in my chair.  I even found a gorgeous Eastlake secretary desk that I might have walked out with that very day, had the price tag not given me pause.

While I was thinking about the Eastlake desk, I decided to go ahead and rearrange my office space.  My husband and I share the second bedroom in our house — he has a secretary desk in one corner, and I had my desk against the front window.  However, it occurred to me that this might have had a hand in causing my problem, since the bright window behind my screen made it hard to see unless I leaned forward.

Here is my old workspace:

Freelance writers desk

Note the old armchair rocker in the corner.  As I mentioned in this post, about being comfortable when I write, I used to sit in this rocker to work.  It's extremely comfortable, but my older cat has taken it over since we got the kitten last summer.  I never had the heart to move her so I could work there, but last week I decided to get rid of the rocker and put my workspace in that corner, facing the adjacent wall.  I also exchanged my floor lamp with the one in the living room, which will give more direct light.  The printer is on nesting tables on the far side of the desk, in front of the lamp, and instead of the rocker, I moved in a Victorian parlor chair that my mom gave me recently.

Here is the result:

Freelance writers desk

Yesterday was the first day I sat at my desk for a lot of the day since moving it here.  I'm able to get my chair partly under the desk, so I can pull my laptop forward, and with a wrist rest (ordered from Etsy), I should be fairly comfortable sitting back to work.  I still catch myself leaning forward occasionally, but overall I don't seem to have as much of that impulse with a wall behind my screen instead of a window.

I'm hoping this will be another step toward improving my productivity.  If so, it seems I will be able to keep my current desk, which makes me happy because I really do like it! 

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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