A GTD Desk Zoo (Inspired by bookshelfporn.com)

The purpose of this page, is to create Meade’s Zoo of GTD Desks

There are many types of desk, I guess I’m a collector of the ideas of desks.  So, I thought I’d put my collection in one place (with links so I can re-find this stuff), and since no reason not to, share it.

Section #1: Top Five Ikeahackers.net Desks

Dust Free Cable Free


BillPinion: I love the look of this, but I bet the monitor can not move forward enough for 52 year old eyes.  And, I prefer a good foot more depth in the work surface … and a slight tilt down toward the user.  No clutter, gotta love that!


Mr T Stand Up Desk


BillPinion: Way cool, but I would not want to use it.  I’ve got to rest the under-side of my forearms on the desk in order to avoid my hands going to sleep.  This keyboard is too shallow and too narrow for me!

iMac to Work Stand Up Desk


BillPinion: Another cool idea.  Reminds me of the Sapien Bookcase (and its evil cheaper near-twin) only with shelves large enough for computer components.  While I’m on bookshelves, a cool addition to any desk zoo is the $12 invisible bookshelf.   I’ve mounted 6 of these in my office on the front of my book cases.  Gives you incremental book storage, and it is fun when people come in to your office and say “How are those books staying up?” Then you show them by doing this:

Amazon com Umbra 330638 560 Conceal Wall Book Shelf Silver Home  Garden

Again, a nice desk to visit, but I would not want to live there.


Lab Bench from Kitchen Cabinets


BillPinion: Not strictly a desk, but it might be a great addition to an office to allow space to spread paper out to organize ideas.


Besta Workstation

IKEA Hackers Besta work station with lots of storage

Section #2: Fantasy Desks

Hat tip to designriver.com

Adjustable Height Flat Top


BillPinion: Stop o heart of mine!  This is so cool.  But, also, so expensive, at $1,600.  And, because the work surface is does not have a tilt adjustment, suboptimal to my mind.   But, since we are being unrealistic and looking at optimality, how about this …

Mayline Futur-matic


BillPinion: This $2,200 bad boy (can be found for less on yourcity.craigslist.org in furniture) is adjustable up and down, and it tilts as well.  There is ample room to spread paper out to think.  This would make an amazingly great mind-like-water desk.  Visualize a rail running across the top of the drawing table, now, hang a retractable 27″ iMac on the rail.  Adjustable front to back and side to side regardless of the angle of the work surface.  Then, add Shaun Fynn’s delicious paper trays:



Aircraft Carrier Desk



Section #3: Pico Desks

I’ll start this section, with myman purse pico desk, and add more wallet desks later.


Section #4: Micro Desks

Again, I’ll start this section with my BookBook Micro Desk and add more smaller than briefcase desks, later.



Section #5: Dual Use Desks

iMac VESA Dualie

DSC07382 JPG | Flickr  Photo Sharing



Section #6: Portable Desks

Creative Industrial Objects Portable Desk


BillPinion: This is very cool in an Inspector Gadget sort of way. Made by Vienna-based CreativeIndustrialObjects, this probably costs a fortune.  But wow, what a cool idea.  Hide your clutter, work away from the “mother ship desk” with your laptop.  Nice!


Domitalia Portable Desk


BillPinion: This portable desk has two positive attributes: (1) it looks strong enough to last, and (2) it looks like it could go underneath a chair or couch that had 4″ or more of space.  Spacify.com where the above links to, is a very cool source of desk ideas.  For example, this:


Tether Tools Aero Desk


Tether Table Aero for Apple iMac Tripod Podium Stand

Tether Table Aero for Apple iMac Tripod Podium Stand 1

Billpinion: How can it stay level?  I guess that is why camera stands cost a fortune?


Section 7: Gorgeous Desks

Mercer Desk By Modloft


BillPinion: This is gorgeous.  It is so asymmetrical, I could not do any work at it.  I’d push back in my chair and fall into a design cocaine trance, and just admire it.  Also, I’d have to drill a hole and put an arm on the top to make sure that this $1,400 desk did not turn into a $1,400 iMac stand.  But, I digress …


Section #7 (and my personal favorite category) Minimalist Desks

Bcasaresidence.com desk with integrated cable

Minimalist Desk With Hidden Cables Look From Rear | casaresidence com

Beautiful Computer Desk With a White Color | casaresidence com

BillPinion: I’m not sure if casaresidence.com makes this or just sells it, so if you can correct the attribution, please email me (bill@basicip.com) and let me know. Now, this desk is too small.  Not enough elbow room to think.  But, there is no reason that you could not scale it up to a 3′ deep, 7′ long monster!  And the cable management is slick, simple, and to die for. Check out this shelf.

casaresidence.com shelving on wall with cable


BillPinion: Ucky because the cables are in plain view no … wait … is that a micro USB cable that isn’t falling off the table.  BITFLIP this is GREAT!  Now, I just wish I knew where I could buy one!

Ca Nova Design Spiral Coffee Table


BillPinion: I had to throw this coffee table in because it was on casaresidence.com with the above minimalist desk and shelf.  I saw these first in St. Louis, at House of Denmark, almost 20 years ago.  They cost like $2,500, and at the time i was on a professor salary with three small boys.  And well, I’m sigh, still on a professor’s salary, but just imagine three little boys playing with table: (1) with their hot wheels cars. (2) with their Playmobile castle sets, (3) with ships on opposite sides of the spiral like Pirates of the Caribbean! MacWayCool!  If you can afford this (or insure it), you owe it to your little boys to put one in their reach!

*Note* Spacify.com has this table for $1,700.

Not a desk, but out of work surface view, beside a desk


BillPinion: When I do desk makeovers for people, they often want to put some kind of organizer like this at the back of their work surface.  Without exception, better results are achieved by taking this idea, and rotating it 90 degrees and putting it at the left or right of the person so that the clutter, is not in the brain’s field of view when working at the work surface.  You might even mount this below the surface of your desk on the left, so that the top of it just comes up to your work surface.  Then, you’d have access to stuff, but not see the stuff.

Why do I insist on a clear work surface?  Because clutter engages the zombie sup processes of our unconscious.  I’m going to cite Unclutter’s citing (take a trip over and check Unclutter out if you haven’t seen it) of a Princeton’s university study that found that physical clutter negatively affects the ability to focus and process information.

One of the lines I love most in THE HOUSE THAT CLEANS ITSLEF is:

“..most organizational products create more mess than they help to contain.”
Clark, Mindy Starns (2007-06-01). The House that Cleans Itself (p. 47). Harvest House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Organizers tempt us to over-customize our trusted system in ways that my be pleasing to our brains in the short run, but which put us in long term productivity box-end canyons. Refactoring your organization as you go is the invisible part of GTD.  You’ve got to still your mind in order to reflect and refine.  But, when you’ve got a tweak to your system that works, it gives you a good feeling for the whole morning.  So, as long as you don’t break the bank, always be thinking about refining the trusted system.

Minimalist Desk for Large Office Space


BillPinion: The longer I do GTD, the closer to this ideal I’m coming.  This is enough elbow space to spread 3″x5″ cards out and thinking with them.  I don’t care how many you have, there is enough room.  This desk does not have a computer, which I must needs have because half my reference and project filing is in computerized form, but imagine a cart that shaped like a close bracket with wheels on the bottom and a computer on a work surface on the top horizontal section.  This could drive a 27″ iMac over this kind of desk when needed.


Section #8: Desk/chairs (Not Chairs for Sitting at Desks)

Santa Cruz Leather Mobile Lounge Chair with Tablet

A GTD Desk Zoo  Inspired by bookshelfporn com 1

A combination of desk and chair works great if you work in a large ossified bureaucracy.  In these environments, the furniture police are on a never ending quest to shrink cubes.  When I was in HP, and the cubes were just starting their march to the “so small they can’t be seen.”  So as a preemptive move, I selected two chairs like this, and removed all panel-mounted work surfaces in my cube.

Here I am in my HP cube in 1990.  I had two small tables (unwanted from salvage) to hold up my phone and my desktop computer.  The only other thing in my cube was the a second combination desk/chair.  Note the *hacked* tablet.  I swapped out the small tablet that came with the chair for this larger/better surface. The chair’s hinge was so overbuilt, that even with all the force created by a 3′ cantilever of a heavy surface, the hinge worked without complaint or sagging.  To sit down, I pivoted the work surface on the hinge to open the front of the chair, backed in, sat down, and then swung the work surface closed.  I left the work surface closed on the chair to not stretch my luck with the over-built hinge.


When people came in to my cube they would say “Why is your cube bigger than everyone else’s?” My cube wasn’t, it was that combination desk/chairs let you use your space more effectively and efficiently.  Another hack was the white board I had in the aisle.  It was a normal whiteboard with 2 plastic brackets that fit the top of the 5′ panels.  Here is the whiteboard seen through the opening in my cube, behind my super inventor buddy Bob Sesek (the original Cha Chi).


This chair/desk and the cube I hat HP fail my current theory of the perfect GTD desk. But hey, I wasn’t doing GTD yet.  :-)

Check back often, and send your nominees for the desk zoo to bill@basicip.com!





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