My Desk (2023 edition)

— 5 minute read

Recently work has been reminding folks that we have a budget for improving our desks. Since pandemic times I've been slowly improving my desk and I thought it would make sense to take an inventory of what I'm using and what I think about it. So this is my 2023 desk:

I have a stand/sit desk and I spend most of my day standing. I have my laptop closed in a dock almost all of the time and I use a single monitor with a keyboard and mouse.

  • Desk: A stand / sit motorized leg set from Amazon with an ikea bamboo top that's been with me for over a decade and has held up so well
  • Wobble board: I got the Amazon Basics wobble board. It's a piece of wood with a sturdy plastic ball on the bottom. I use it when I'm standing and I balance on top of it. I've found that it really does help with focus.
  • Desk accessories: My desk has a pink leather mat to make things easier to set down on the desk without them clattering around, a tube of Burt's Bees, a tiny squishmallow that I use for rubber duck debugging, and a glass cup with a silicone sleeve and a straw that I drink from all day.
  • Notebook: I use the Cortex Brand sidekick notebook and I LOVE it. It fits between my keyboard and me and I use it to scribble down scratch notes. I use Microline art pens and I prefer 03.
  • Chair: My chair is a disaster so I don't sit very often. I have a 20+-year-old Steelcase chair that was surplus from Sun Microsystems. I would very much like chair recommendations
  • Keyboard: Microsoft Sculpt wireless keyboard. I use the keyboard with the riser in the front so that my hands are angled down 15°. I've remapped the Alt key to command so it mostly feels like an Apple keyboard. My favorite keyboard of all time is the apple magic keyboard because it has extremely low activation force for the keys but I've found that for long typing sessions, I was getting pain in my wrists. The Microsoft keyboard is my second favorite, it has slightly higher activation force and longer key travel but it fits my hands exactly.
  • Mouse: Logitech M705. I like but don't love this mouse. It fits my hands well and has a scroll wheel that I can lock and unlock (so the wheel can freely spin for fast scrolling). I wish it were heavier sometimes so that it felt better to glide around and had a little more momentum. It also has back/forward buttons that I use with a tiny utility to remap.
  • Dock: I have a no-name Thunderbolt dock (it says QGeem on the top of it). It has lots of ports- USB A, USB C, two HDMI ports, headphones, SD card. It's totally fine. Occasionally it gets fussy and I need to turn it off and on and then it works fine. This is my second Thunderbolt dock. I had a Dell one and it was SO bad and required twice-daily rebooting.
  • Monitor: Dell UltraSharp 27: U2715H. It's a generic Dell 27" monitor with kind-of-okay 2560 x 1440 resolution at 60Hz. It's fine. I don't love it. I don't hate it. The monitor is on a generic VESA arm that's clipped to my desk.
  • Headphones: I have a pair of non-pro apple airpods that are dedicated to work. I like the non-pro because they don't fit super tight in my ears which makes it easier for me to hear ambient sounds while on a call. When I'm programming I usually switch over to my pro airpods, put on noise cancelling, and listen to wordless music.

Things I'd like to upgrade

  • Lighting: My desk is right next to a window but I'd love to have task lighting for when it's gloomy.
  • Walking pad: I have friends who have gotten small treadmills to go under their standing desks and have said walking is pretty great for staying focused.
  • Monitor: It would be nice to have a 4k (or more) resolution monitor so I can see things more clearly. When I'm doing iOS development stuff I have to use the built-in display on the laptop because I want to know what things look like in "retina" resolution.
  • Desk timer: I keep thinking about a desk timer so that I don't have to fuss with my phone to set timers. I tend to work in 40-minute blocks and it's not always the best to fiddle with my phone to see how far I am into the block.

I ran my desk by my coworkers and a couple of them had some things that they loved and suggested.

My coworker Matthew loves his steelcase chair and wired Magicforce keyboard. He's also a trackball person and likes the Sanwa one. He's using an LG 4k but has found it annoying for switching between work and personal.

My coworker Sarah mentioned that she loves this desk timer (which is super cute) and uses a Verilux “HappyLight” on her desk.

And my coworker Adam uses a full motion keyboard tray that he says has made a HUGE difference in improving his RSI symptoms.