Tag Archives: organization

Hiding Laptop Cords with a Serving Tray

Recently I started a new job and with each new job comes a new work space and new equipment.  At my new (to me… 1960s standard university issues Steelcase) desk, I’ve got a sleek new laptop and a heap of cords plugged into a hub that they tell me is called a docking station, which just looks like a heap of cords to me.  It not only looks cluttered, it’s taking up space.  So here’s my solution…

1. Get yourself a serving tray.  Make sure you like the look of the sides and bottom because you’re going to turn it over.  Also, make sure there are handle holes and that the whole edge of the tray is even. Some have handles that stick up and you’re not going to want that.  Finally, make sure it’s deep enough to accommodate the height of your cord mess (I mean docking station).  Mine’s less than an inch tall, so this 2 inch deep tray is great.

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2. Stick your “docking station” (or cord mess) in the middle of that tray and run the wires out of the holes.  I’ve got the mouse and keyboard cords running into the hub from the handle that’s near the center of the desk and the power cords through the handle on the edge of the desk.  The cords that plug into each side of the laptop come out on their respective sides.

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3. Now, turn that tray over and hide that mess underneath the tray.  So much better.  Now I only see small lengths of cords and the computer can sit over the cord jumble.

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Ok, I need to bring more decorations, but now I can put a potted plant on the corner of the tray with the computer and it won’t be in the way.

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Organizing Many Projects Simultaneously

It’s probably obvious by now if you read my blog at all that I do a lot of things.  I’m a researcher, scientist, artist, and dancer, just to name a few of my callings in life.  Even though I believe all of these things are connected, it can still be a challenge to keep all of the tasks and deadlines straight.

Recently, a friend asked me for my thoughts on how to keep many different projects organized.  This was a really good question to have to try to answer because it made me think critically about my system and helped me clarify my process.  In doing this exercise, I realized how fluid my system is.  I don’t always use the same process.  It is important to me though to have many different tools at my disposal so I can use whichever tool works with my current frame of mind.  In trying to explain these processes to myself and to my friend, I created the diagram you see above.  Clearly, I need visuals to explain things to myself.

If you would like a larger, printable version of this graphic, you can download an 8.5 x 11 version here: OrganizationScheme

Did this diagram help you?  I’d love to hear if you used it and how you keep yourself organized.