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What's on My Desk?

Robin Kim

January 09, 2020

I've been working remotely full-time since 2015, and the following are what I've been using:

Standing desk

Cost: $10 bedrisers to elevate my existing desk

It's a lot cheaper than spending $300-1000 on a fancy desk that goes up and down depending on whether you want to sit or stand. If I want to sit, I'll grab my $10 used stool.

If this $10 experiment didn't work out, then I would have just returned the bedrisers. But now that I know I actually take advantage of my standing desk (where the goal is add movement -- not standing -- to my day), I now have the option of sticking with my $10 setup or knowing that I'll take advantage of any $300 sit/stand desk I decide to invest in in the future.

2014 MacBook Pro

Cost: $1000?

It works fine. I rue the day it's going to break down because of all the dongles I'll need to get.

The one thing I appreciate about this MacBook Pro is that it allows me to attach 2 external monitors while using the built-in display, aka I'm using 3 monitors at a time. MacBook Airs of the same era have traditionally only allowed one external monitor to be attached.

2x 23" LCD monitors

Cost: $50 each on Craigslist in 2012/2013

My trusty monitors have been holding up just fine for years. No need to spend hundreds of dollars if you're on a budget!

2x AmazonBasics Metal Monitor Stands

Cost: $20 each

This ensures the tops of my monitors are at eye-level, thereby allowing for a neutral spine.

AmazonBasics Laptop Stand

Cost: $20

This elevates my laptop so it sits at about the same level as my other monitors. It's works just as well as $40+ alternatives.

Apple Magic Mouse

Cost: $70 new, $15 used

I'm unable to use my laptops built-in trackpad (nor any external trackpads) because the joints in my index finger start hurting. I suspect any mouse would help eliminate this pain, but since the Magic Mouse is basically a standard mouse with a trackpad build on top of it, it's my go to choice. Now I can use it as a regular mouse while having access to any of my special macOS gestures! With BetterTouchTool, I can customize everything about my mouse/trackpad even further.

Huion Drawing Tablet

Cost: $20

It's relatively inexpensive compared to its $80+ alternatives, and it's smaller than a half sheet of paper, so I can carry it with me when I'm traveling. It's been a staple of my setup since November 2015.

Gunnar Glasses

Cost: $60

I get pretty bad eyestrain (self-diagnosed). I'll have a dedicated post for this later, but I got these glasses as an experiment NOT for the blue light filtering, but for the slight magnification. My headaches come significantly less frequently now!

120 Minute Time Timer

Cost: $35

I can't believe I spend $35 on an oversized timer, but it's been one of the most used items on my desk for many months now.

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