Like many of us, Chikiu-san of Tokyo, Japan wasn't exactly prepared or setup for working from home on an indefinite basis. And also like many of us, as a programer, photographer, and content creator, the circumstances were thrust upon him and he was forced to adapt, quickly.
"Since I had been spending most of my time at home I figured it was a good idea to redesign my WFH desk setup. My hobbies include programming, drawing, taking photos, and video editing – so I needed a strong power station to max productivity!"
The result? A work station that has outlived quarantine, and a setup so fresh, clean, and perfectly aligned for multi-tasking it could put a mission control center to shame. With the help of our Tokyo distributors at NAVYs Inc, we recently spent some time chatting with Chikiu to find out what it is that makes his workspace so successful. Trying to upgrade your work station, or just looking for some inspiration? Check out his 5 tips to help take your desk to the next level...
#1. Keep it clean.
I try to keep only the most important tools on my desk for work, and this is the key to it staying clutter-free. I had found that my desk was inundated with stationary and that this was really interfering with my work. There were notebooks, sticky notes, papers – and when I needed to find information, it felt like I was on a scavenger hunt. I was fed up with that experience and decided to consolidate. I now restrict all my notes to a single notebook, so I know with certainty that it has all the information that I need.
Another issue I had to resolve was my growing collection of earbuds, headphones, and speakers. It was far too time-consuming having to change my PC settings any time I wanted to switch between the three, so I decided to pare down to my Tivoli Audio Model Two and Orb wireless speaker. They've reduced clutter and now handle all my music/radio needs.
Finally, cables were all over the place and didn't leave me enough room to jot down notes or draw. After upgrading to a wireless mouse and keyboard I can now stow them away when I need to switch gears and use the desk space to work on something else.
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#2. Customize, with a touch of personality.
I built my desktop PC two years ago with my work and hobby in mind – programming/machine learning development and serious gaming! When I train machine learning models or deep learning models, I'm relying on my GPU to run 24/7, so I've chosen my hardware based on this. DeepCool is affordable and good quality, so I use their products for AIO, RGB Fans, and PC Cases.
And I absolutely love my PC case. It has great airflow so when I'm playing PC games or running heavy programs, my system stays cool (in fact the temperature dropped by 10°C after I made the switch). I'm usually not a big fan of LED lights, but I wanted to add a warm, more stylish look to my home office, so I tried orange and it worked great with my black GPU and motherboard! I positioned another light behind the monitor, as I usually sit in front of the computer 8–10 hours a day. By night, my eyes hurt, so the supporting light keeps my eyes from tiring out.
For the GPU, I’m using a Nvidia RTX 3090 so when I write machine learning programs, modules that I use are compatible with the Nvidia graphics card. For the CPU, I was team Intel all the way, but recently the cost and performance of the AMD CPU became very appealing, so I went with their Ryzen 9 3950X desktop processor.
#3. Get setup to work.
The correct monitor configuration is a huge and easy productivity boost. I have one vertical and one horizontal, and I highly recommend this setup if you are a programmer or photographer. As a programmer, I'm always reading long lines of code. And because code references are back and forth, it's easier to read on the vertical monitor and limits the amount of scrolling I need to do. The horizontal monitor is designated for writing code.
As a digital photographer, I edit vertical photos on the vertical monitor and horizontal pictures on the horizontal monitor. The aspect ratio made it difficult to see vertical picture details on the horizontal screen, but with a vertical screen, I can see more detail, which helps with retouching or editing finer points.
#4. Get setup for play.
When I need to relax I usually listen to jazz, big band, blues, or rock at my desk. This is where my old Model Two and Orb wireless speaker come in handy, and I can still remember the day my parents got it. When I was young, my mother took me to the stylish furniture store which was the only cool store in my town! She was attracted to cool imported furniture and products, so she immediately picked up on the Model One BT and tried it out. We instantly fell in love with it after listening to some music and the radio. It was very unique and unlike anything else in town, so we just had to have it!
For my microphone, I went with Blue Yeti as this is the best cost/performance in the market and was needed for gaming or when I'm recording YouTube videos.
#5. It's all about the details.
I love retro looking products and furniture! Currently I'm using a Durgod retro keyboard with an old school Nintendo theme. Growing up in Japan, my childhood memories are filled with video games and anime, such as Dragon Ball Z, Pokémon, Samurai X, Naruto, Zelda, and Donkey Kong. The Nintendo theme brings me back to my youth and gives me that sentimental feeling, which I love! When I was young, I would play Nintendo 64 and Family Computer (NES in North America) a lot, so the color scheme bridges the gap between now and then.
My desk chair is one of the most important details in the room and so it took a long time to find the right one. As I mentioned, I usually sit for 8–10 hours a day, so my back hurts being in the wrong chair. I chose an ergonomic office chair, which is designed to conform to my natural posture and won't hurt my back after working long hours. It was quite expensive, but it's a great investment for a comfortable desk setup!