I’m always on the lookout for paper trays that get paper off my desk, so the entire surface is free to organize 3×5 cards on. Ken in a comment pointed to a very interesting family of off-the-desk products. Purpose of this post is to show the product family off and point out the relative cost-effectiveness of these desk accessories compared to say … Steelcase desk accessories.
In addition to the three tray unit for $40 above, there is a two tray unit for $30 …
And a two tray + phone organizer for $40 …
A formidable six tray unit for $40 (the unit that Ken alerted me to) …
Note that the paper trays are rotated 90 degrees from their orientation in the three tray organizer, so it looks like the trays can be mounted to the tower, from either side, or the tray’s back.
A rotary catalog + paper tray organizer for $40 …
And to mix it up a little, a catalog + phone organizer for $80 …
For comparison, here is a Steelcase task light for … $340!
These desk accessories are significant because, like monitor arms, they allow you to clear the surface of your desk. Here is my desk before monitor arm:
Here is my desk after monitor arm:
Having the monitor off the desk surface allows a dramatic increase of usable desk space. Having a monitor arm allowed me to write on my desk or sort 3×5 cards (my atomic unit of thinking) without restraint.
My desk surface is an IKEA conference table, so it provides a lot of space. I used this table for a year and then on impulse leaned over the desk and stretched my arms to see how much of the surface area I could reach: roughly 40%. I composted this for a few months and then with the help of my cats …
I cut out a plug for the mandatory hole in IKEA conference tables, and then diagrammed a semi-circle of 15″ at the middle of the desk:
and then cut it out:
Then bought white edging material at Home Depot that I ironed on to the raw edge of the cut.
With the cut-out I can now reach 80% or so of the remaining desk. Of course I have lost some usable desk space from the cut out, but I have gained much more use of the remaining desk space. For example, without the cutout, I needed to push my keyboard 14″ or so from the edge of the desk in order to get my forearms on the table (my perfect ergonomic position for typing). As I type this my keyboard is about 5″ from the top of the cut out, and my forearms are just wresting over the edge of the cutout. Comfy!
The signal in the noise of this post is that if you work at it, you can get your desk clear, you can improve the usability of your desk, you can be more organized and more comfortable at the same time. The more of your desk you can use, the more focused your work can be.