Thursday, June 13, 2013

Working It Out

The Nest
My last two posts bemoaned the fact that I got lazy this week.  I gave myself a well earned day off Sunday but then did not get back to work.  I camped out on the mini-tramp for four days.  And most of a fifth since it wasn't until this evening that I set out to solve the issues making it so difficult to use the cubby workstation.

I'd fallen into this same bad pattern in early May after the return from Phoenix and the repercussions spread out:

  • By making the tramp my primary workstation it seldom got used for workouts. 
  • Getting back up off the tramp was harder than getting up out of a chair so I did it less
  • The 'work' that I worked on while sitting there tended to be less focused and productive, more fiddling, games, aimless surfing and chats and videos.  Less writing, serious reading or research.

So nearly two weeks ago now I dismantled my nest and got a serious workstation set up in the cubby corner.  I had it set up in time to test drive for the start of JuNoWriMo and made my word count that first day.  High hopes ensued but the rest of that week was so eaten up by appointments I was unable to keep the momentum on JuNo but I did continue to use the station for posting and emails.

And I did get back on the tramp every day.  In fact for more than an hour each day all last week.

Then came Saturday night, the end of a two day hard push to unpack, sort and repack as many of the boxes from home as possible with an eye to creating a load of household items that would go back in the first load after Ed is moved into a place again. After handling the contents of over two dozen boxes I was exhausted and the cubby desk was set up as a sorting center and Merlin had just been paroled from the laundry room and wanted to be close so I succumbed to the temptation to sit on the tramp again.

Tonight I finally got off.  I took the picture above and then dismantled the tray desk which blocked access to the cubby desk.  I left Merlin the cushions and blanket for now as I won't be getting on the tramp for a workout until tomorrow.  Then I set out to solve the issues making me reluctant to set up at the proven productive workstation.

The Desk
Have you ever seen anything so jerryrigged?  The two boards at right angles to each other are too narrow to serve as a desk.  Besides there is no leg room under them.  So to use my netbook here I have to have it propped on a board that is across one end of a long shallow box.  The other end of the box is on the narrow board and slides under the cubby desk with about three inches clearance when setting level.  But when I pull it out far enough to allow the netbook lid to be open it tilts like one end of a teeter-totter.  If I'm careful not to pull it out too far the other end stays wedged under the cubby desk.

This worked well enough last week when I was using it.  I had a number of very productive writing sessions at this workstation.  But there were some issues that made it easy to avoid getting set up to work in the first place:

  • It was too unstable of a system to walk away and leave set up so it always needed to be set up again.  Which included moving the netbook from whatever alternate station it was at.  This took an average of twenty minutes.
  • The slant created by the tilted box actually created a good angle for the keyboard.  But it created a slippery slope for the mouse which kept sliding off or annoyingly taking the cursor over the 'show desktop' button on the taskbar and disappearing what I was working on while my hands were both on the keyboard.
  • The board across the box tended to slide forward creating the risk of the whole thing ending up in my lap

Straws Paperclipped to Mousepad serve as bumpers to keep mouse from sliding off.  As added bonus they keep it corralled when transporting between stations

By moving some stuff under the cubby desk to make room for the long box to be slid all the way under and by removing an extra board under the netbook that has benefits for other workstations but adds a third of an inch in height it is now possible to leave the netbook set up at this station when I'm not sitting here.

The small cardboards cut off of a tissue box and sticking out of the end of the box prevent the board from sliding off the box when it is slanted toward my lap.  They are proof of concept but not perfect as they are not stiff enough and are too tall so rub on my wrists.  I'll have to fiddle with that issue some more.

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