On My Desk

by Kristen Abell

As a nod to the “how do you work” posts so many of us enjoyed writing before the summer, we created a new type of post – on your desk/desktop – for our bloggers to share with our readers. You may have seen Josie Ahlquist’s post on this same topic last week. Today I get to share mine.

Desk with computer, pictures, Wonder Woman accessories
My desk tends to serve two purposes – it’s a place for work, obviously, but it’s also a place for me to share my personality. For those of you that know me, it will be a real shock to find out that I’m a – gasp! – introvert in the workplace. Using my desk to share my Wonder Woman collection and my photos allows me to share a bit of my personality without having to tell everyone about myself (torture for this introvert). You might also see a couple #Suedles in this shot – some of my favorite things to show off!

Desktop with photos, stacks of paper
I am also a big believer in the “piles” method of organizing. In other words, all of my papers are in piles on my desk. To you they may look like a mess, but to me, they’re organized chaos. I can usually find whatever it is I’m looking for within a few seconds.

I keep photos of my family and artwork by Aedan at my desk, too. This helps me when I need perspective – when that project feels too big or that website too impossible. I just need to look at my pictures and know that I’ll be going home to that at the end of the day, and suddenly I can breathe easier.

As far as my computer desktop goes, I tend to also use the “piles” organization method on there, as well – although less effectively, I admit. My desktop is where any small website projects I’m working on tend to live, along with tons and tons of screen shots that I use when I’m developing responsive design on a website (I may have cleaned those off for the picture above). About every 2 – 3 months, I get in an organizing mood and clean up my desk and desktop, then usually can’t find anything for the next week or so, until my piles build up again.

So what’s on your desk or desktop? How do you organize workspace (or not)? Let us know!



On My Desk

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.

photo 2

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.

photo 1
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

Keeping Organized – The Old-Fashioned Way

By Kathryn Magura

I love technology and gadgets. I think I’ve made that clear over my time blogging here. I’m usually someone who could be considered an early adopter of technology, social media, and fun gizmos to use. That said, the one thing I haven’t really found a way to utilize technology for is keeping organized.

What do I mean by organized? All the things I need to get done: work, life, whatever. I use an iPad for work, and keep my work to-dos fairly organized on my iPad, but I’ve never really found a good app anywhere that’s helped me keep track of all the things I need to do in a way that makes it easy and intuitive enough for me to want to keep using. I’ve dabbled in apps like Evernote, but I’ve never really been able to make it stick.

As I’ve grappled with trying to figure out why I haven’t found a good way to organize my life via technology, I’ve noticed some colleagues who have gone back to a more traditional/old-fashioned route to keep organized. One of my coworkers uses a notecard system to keep everything she has going on with work and life organized. Each notecard is broken up into categories, and then stored by topic. I am continually impressed with how well this system seems to work for my coworker, but have also felt intimidated trying to see if I could adapt her system for my needs.

I have spent most of the last two weeks on-boarding a new staff member. One of the first things I noticed was the black notebook my new staff member carried around with her everywhere. During meetings and conversations, I’d see her make note in the notebook, and it got me curious. During our 1-on-1 this week, I finally asked about the notebook, and how exactly she used it to keep organized. Apparently the method she used to keep organized is called bullet journaling. I didn’t know what this was either, so she explained it. Thankfully, the person who devised this method created a video to help explain: 

Pretty cool, right? I decided I wanted to give bullet journaling a try, to see if I could keep all the competing priorities in my life organized in a way that keeps me as productive as possible. I will be sure to keep you all posted on my progress along the way.

So tell me, how do you stay organized? What tips do you have?

Keeping Organized – The Old-Fashioned Way

Linkage Love: Pocket

by Lauren Creamer

If you’re anything like me (and I’m sure some of you are), you spend a good portion of your day checking up on social media sites or trolling around the internet looking for some new interesting piece of information. I tend to check my Twitter and Facebook as I ride the bus to my practicum (a short 20 minute trip), wait for a meeting to begin, or just to kill a few spare minutes before I head to class. And in that time – when I seem to have no time – I always find articles or stories that seem intriguing. But I never actually have enough time to read them. However, I was recently introduced to Pocket, my new favorite site/app/gift from God and great solution to my time-crunch problem.


Pocket is like some sort of amazing cross between Evernote, Pulse, and Pinterest. Like Evernote, you can save PDFs and articles as you find them and access them across multiple mediums. Like Pulse, it categorizes those articles in a neat, organized fashion. And, like Pinterest, it does so at the click of a button on your search bar. Pocket will also save photos and videos, so you can save three different types of media at your finger tips (videos are especially great to save and watch later – I always find myself doing this with TED Talks).

While I know I have the option, it seems so silly to just keep book-marking pages and going back to them on my laptop periodically. Pocket lets you save articles from your smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop – and allows you to access them anywhere, as they are all connected. So now, instead of trying to speed read an article, I can save it with a click and browse them as please.


Linkage Love: Pocket

Blog Prompt Monday

As you may have noticed, we here at Student Affairs Women Talk Tech love to be organized – lists, calendars, you name it, we use it all. So now we want to find out what you’re using – and what we’ll be checking out next!

What technology tools do you use to stay organized (list apps, calendars, etc.)? If there is one you’d like to see, what would it look like?

We are looking forward to adding some new apps or tools to our resources! Remember to link back to your post in the comments below and tweet it out using the #sawomenblog hashtag. Share the organization love!

Blog Prompt Monday