On My Desk: Function and Fun

By Josie Ahlquist

I recently reclaimed my desk.

It was taken by books, random post-it’s, binders and too many picture frames.  In every office and campus I have worked, office visitors have commented on the “liveliness” to my office.  Call it busy, full or colorful.  There has always been a lot going on.

Not messy, just full.  I like to think full of life.  I want my personality into my work, which includes function and fun.

Especially working on a college campus, if I was going to spend so much time in the office I wanted to be comfortable.  Not like a couch and sleeping bag, but memento’s, books and photos.  For some I know this wouldn’t work.  Simplicity and empty shelves may bring on a sense of comfort.

Now, working from a home office it is nearly impossible to make a distinction from personal and professional.  I share my office with what serves as a guest bedroom, extra storage and an ever-present puppy ready to play.

Moving into the dissertation phase of my doctoral program my desk is going to be crucial.  From data collecting, analysis and reporting.  Nine-month countdown is on to May 15th 2015!  I recently wrote about my dissertation topic on my blog, feel free to read more about that here.

I am a visual person, color-code addicted and in love with my label maker.  This is obviously going to carry over in how I stay organized and even in how I conduct my research.

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When I reclaimed my office, I moved around my desk and the objects on it.  The one item that I added was a bulletin board that corresponds to my research participants.  It is a visual, colorful and secretly labeled object that allows it to remain in plain sight, yet completely informative and inspirational just to me.

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I love it because it is functional, yet fun.  It represents my personality.I think these ‘secret’ items are the coolest additions to have in your office space.  They can be used to break the ice with a student or have significant meaning so much that just seeing it is uplifting.  Maybe it’s a quote, a card or a weird pencil you received when you were five at Disneyland from your grandpa.

Professionalism in the office doesn’t mean leaving our whole selves back home and that includes the items we choose to lace in our work-spaces.

What is on your desk?  What does your desk/office say about you? 

What is your stance on personal items in your office?  Do you want clean lines or okay with clutter?  Do you have one item that will always be in you office, no matter where you go? 

Tell us about it in the comments below!

On My Desk: Function and Fun