Monday, August 19, 2013

The Workplace: Getting Things in Order

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me, there always seems to be too much to do and not a lot of time to do it in. Between dealing with work, kids, other family obligations, trying to get a game in now again, and side projects, I get pulled in many different directions. Sometimes, this gets me in trouble. I make a mistake. I forget something. Screw up my project priorities, etc. There is a point here, I promise.

One thing that helps me be productive is my work area. If I can keep it somewhat neat and efficient, I can get more stuff done. Now, usually, it falls into disarray while I am busy being busy. But, over time, that jumbled mess gets into the inside of my brain. It messing with my chi, man. So, last night, I worked on cleaning up my office and setting up a few things that hadn’t been set up yet.

I operate on a shoestring budget these days, so most of what you see—and even what you don’t—is the furthest thing from the top of the line. It is mostly functional, however.

To the far right, we have my Windows 7 PC. I originally had a spare monitor from a dead unit and my wife encouraged me to hook it up to my PC. I was surprised to find my video card supported this at the time. Now, it is difficult to function without it. The second screen allows me to divide tasks a bit easier. I usually do research on one screen, writing on the other. I’ll have my Hangouts and most other internet functions to the left, and Office applications, Adobe, etc. over to the left there.  My wife’s machine also has two monitors and she swears she doesn’t need it, but she uses the heck out of the split screen model when it’s there.

To the far left, I have an older flat screen Dynex TV. I dunno the size. It’s probably somewhere in the 42” inch range. +Jonathan Henry, my good friend, picked it up at a garage sale for about $20. The sound doesn’t work on it. I haven’t done any real troubleshooting on it besides checking basic settings. I hooked up my Windows laptop through HDMI and turned off the audio to HDMI, and it works great. I either need to get the sound working on the big TV or pick up some speakers for the laptop. That big screen TV will be good for Google Hangouts, digital game maps, and other things. I know my wife tested Diablo III on it last night and she was happy with it.

There’s a good chance the TV will be hooked up to a Mac Mini in the very near future—I have to flash the HD. I have some other older Macs off camera as well. One will most likely be my eldest’s machine for school this year, although I kind of like hooking her up to the TV, so we can all keep an eye on her and make sure she is doing what she’s supposed to be during school hours. Then, two tablets I was given to use for testing and reading PDFs. And, there is still more.

It gets a bit warm up here, making it near impossible to get work done without at least a fan and/or room air conditioner running.  I also wonder how much my electric bill would be if I didn’t work from home.

Later, I’ll probably share a tidbit with some of the analog tools I use, but I thought this was a kind of neat setup. I’m investigating a way to make the TV swivel, so I can run videos and such on it while working on the other machines.

What kind of gonzo setups help you to be more efficient and productive?