knows will tell you, computer time is not the same as normal
everyday clock time. There is some kind of weird digital warp
that takes effect when you look into a monitor. Like Einstein's
theoretical astronauts, you will find that, while you spent a
few minutes at the computer, hours went by in the real world.
Without the proper equipment for the human interface (that's
you) your body will rebel and you won't get a whole lot
If you are the type
to operate a small business, you may also be the type to
practice other forms of self-neglect. I have walked into many
shops where the desk was an old kitchen table and the chair a
barstool, with the owner hunched over a keyboard and
recalcitrant mouse and muttering about the damned computer
system. He's too busy fighting with his environment to actually
use the thing. He is putting in time at his computer, but not
really getting any computer time. To get the most from your
system, you need an environment that will not get in the way.
Take a load off
all the things you might buy online, your chair is not one.
Select your chair even more carefully than you select your CPU
or printer. It is arguably the single most important piece of
office equipment you will ever own. Don't skimp! The right one
will see you through several computers. If you are going
to get any real use from your investment, you are going to spend
a lot of time in that chair. Spend time in the store before you
make your selection and ensure that the one you choose will be
comfortable for hours at a time.
A place for everything
When choosing a desk,
opt for size and solidity over amenities. Those compartments and
cubbyholes that look so neat in the store will eventually just
get in the way. I had a desk like that once. I can only guess at
the scope of a mind so cunning that it could conceive of a
manufacturing process whereby each cubbyhole is rendered
precisely the wrong size for whatever I want to put in it.
The important thing about a desk is that it accommodates both
you and your equipment. It is your workspace. If it doesn't work
well, neither will you. With a big plain desk you can add
modular shelves and racks, then change them as your needs
Ideally, all your
peripherals, including filing cabinets, should be within easy
reach, or at least no more than a roll of the chair away. Don't
be afraid to improvise. A couple of low filing cabinets with a
piece of plywood on top makes a usable workspace that does
multiple duty as a desktop and storage. The old engineering saw
still cuts wood: form follows function.
There are dozens of
useful, low cost accessories you can use to make your space more
organized and convenient. Far from being frivolous
luxuries, comfort and convenience mean efficiency.
Everything in its place
The basic idea is a
simple one. The most important component of your workspace is
you. Everything in it should cater to your requirements. Don't
settle for anything less.