Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My workspace makeover, part 1: My desk chair

I've come to realize something that may play a major role in my recent productivity struggles: I hate my desk.  I haven't worked there for months — I've been taking my netbook into the living room and working on the couch.  It's comfortable for a little bit, but after a while I get uncomfortable there, too, and working there all day definitely doesn't do much for my productivity.

There seem to be a few reasons why I don't like my desk:

1) My desk chair
2) It's messy
3) The glare

Cleaning it is going to be a big job because I will need to make some new files and put some old files in storage.  And the glare of the window is only going to be resolved by getting newer blinds that do a better job of blocking the light.  (I have a shade on the porch I can put down, but in the winter the sun is too far south for the shade to help me much.)  So I started with the easiest of the three to fix, which luckily was also the biggest problem: the chair.

The vintage wooden chair I was using as a desk chair

I got my wooden desk chair back in 2007, and at the time I was thrilled with it.  It was much more comfortable than my old chair, which I suppose says a lot about how bad my old chair was!  But it isn't designed for long-term use, and doesn't make me sit back enough.  After three years of hunching over my desk (or avoiding sitting there altogether), I was getting tired of it.

I have an older desk with a small foot well, though, which eliminates a lot of modern desk chairs.  Plus I didn't want an ugly chair — call me superficial if you want, but I wanted it to go with my antiques at least a little better than the typical black desk chair would.  I really liked a smallish burgundy fake-leather one at Target, but it was pricey for not having an adjustable height.  Luckily we found this one at Office Depot, on sale for half the price of the Target one.

A much better desk chair for a freelance writer!

It's far more comfortable than my old chair, and fits decently at my desk.  I think I will want a low foot rest to keep under the desk, though, because with the chair at the height I need, only my toes touch the ground.  Oh, the joys of being short!

The sign said the chair was only intended for casual use, defined as up to 3 hours, but that's still about 2 ½ more hours than I could spend in my wooden chair.  That works for me, anyway, since I do tend to move around a little during the day — I like to work in the rocker in my office (when my cat's not in it, which is most of the time lately) or on the couch periodically.  I find I work better if I move around a little, which probably is why working on the couch all day long was causing productivity problems.

What about you?  Have you found that your comfort impacts your productivity?  What type of seating arrangement works best for you?


Lori said...

LOVE your carpet!

I bit the bullet last year and bought a new desk. My husband had bought me a new chair, which is amazing, and the desk was just an ugly hand-me-down his ex used to use. Bad juju! LOL

I bought a handmade oak mission-style desk. I LOVE it. I feel so much more productive (even if I'm not). :)

Katharine Swan said...

Thanks, Lori! We love that rug too. We love how vintage it looks, but believe it or not, it's a Target find! LOL

I put the chair together on Sunday, and so far I think it's helping. I've worked at my desk all week, and I haven't done that in ages! And I've gotten stuff done, too! So I wouldn't be surprised at all if your beautiful new desk does make you more productive. It may be all in our heads, but then, so is productivity, isn't it? :o)


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