Best Way to Arrange Your Computer Desk for Maximum Efficiency

May 2, 2009

in computer-related health

by Tina Gasperson

Face it, you’re going to be spending a lot of time at your desk. For many of us, this is where it all happens – this is where the buck stops: right in front of the computer screen. Because of this, it makes sense to arrange your desk so that you are physically comfortable and emotionally happy. Let’s see how that works.

Everything on your desk should be secondary to the placement of your monitor and keyboard. The monitor should be about 14 inches away from you, centered parallel to your body so that you do not have to turn or lift your head to see it. Your keyboard should also be centered and parallel so you are not turning your body at a strange angle to reach it. I’ve seen some people with their desk set up so that the keyboard was diagonal to the monitor. This is a deep-tissue massage waiting to happen. So center everything and line it up with your shoulders. This takes care of your physical well-being.

To keep your sanity, make sure your desk area is well organized. Keep the things you use constantly (and only those things) right there on your desk. For many of us, that will only be the keyboard and the mouse. There really shouldn’t be much of anything else on your desktop.

Make sure your desk has a few drawers in which to keep pens, pencils, tape, scissors, and other small tools that you will need from time to time. When you do use these items, put them right back in the drawer to avoid cluttering your desktop.

Other items, such as paper copies of documents, manuals, back up CDs, and similar items, should be stored in a file drawer that is a bit farther away from the desk, to keep things clean and organized. Don’t let papers pile up on your desk. Some people make it a priority to deal with each piece of paper before the end of the day. It’s a good way to eliminate clutter that can make you disorganized and confused.

Finally, if you can, place your desk by a source of natural sunlight. Even better if you can look out of the window from time to time and think about something other than work. It’s good for your mental health, which will ultimately make you more efficient.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.