Whats on your desk?

mattbidewell profile image Matthew Bidewell ・1 min read

What do you have on your desk that helps you work/think? For example, I have a Frankenstein plush that I used to help debug code (rubber duck debugging style).


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I have a coin. On one side is written Memento Mori. On the other side is written You could leave life right now

I'm a student of the Stoic philosophy. This coin is always on my desk, where I can see it. When I'm procrastinating or not doing what I'm suppose to do, a look at the coin usually pulls me back. Kind of a 'Come on, get it together now'. Helps me quite a lot.


That's really motivating! A sort of work totem.


Man, I really want one but the shipping to the UK is huge. Always good to find a Ryan Holiday fan.


I have couple of quotes sticked in the wall. One that says,

"You cannot save time, you can either spend it or invest it"

and another is a question to myself.

"What have you done to improve yourself?"

And also I have the "The Ten Commandments of Egoless Programming" posted on my wall to keep reminding myself to be a mature engineer.


Very motivating!


Fidget cube: keeps my hand busy while I read through code. Otherwise I have the awful habit of picking at my face. I only play with the silent parts at work.

Whiteboard marker, sticky notes, and noise cancelling headphones*

  • it's a common misconception that noise cancelling means "voice cancelling" It certainly does not, but by being around-the-ear headphones, they do help to keep talking out. Nothing would beat pure silence though.

The fidget cube is a great idea that I definitely have to try out. I'm constantly picking at my face... I have almost no chin hair(because of the picking) and a full beard lol.. that combo definitely doesn't look good.


I would have to try the fidget cube! Sounds like a great idea, as for headphones I'm using a pretty cheap pair, may have to invest in some better ones. Do you have any recommendations?


I personally have a pair of Bose QC15 smile.amazon.com/dp/B0054JJ0QW which is a older model.

The earpads have worn down after years of use, but they're incredibly comfortable, even with glasses.

I'm a Bose fanboy, so I'm incredibly biased.

Seinhauser are widely considered as having superior sound quality smile.amazon.com/dp/B01JP436TS


Rubiks Cube.

I find it acts as a good brain reset if I feel stuck. Completing the cube is a minute and a half (sadly no speed cuber here, but probably a good thing in this context) where I have to focus on the cube and not my current coding problem.

I have had more than one AHA! moment when looking back at the code after doing the cube.


Glad I'm not the only one, solving the Rubik's Cube instead of ranting when stuck.

And it really does help, I've had several “AHA!“ moments myself, when looking back at the screen after solving the cube.


A second desk on top of the original desk (my version of a discount standing desk).
Floppy disks (for retro flavor).




8th ball from 'the interstate 60'. :) It helps me find a solution in complex situations, like whether I want to approve or disapprove the code under review. It's a joke of course, but the ball is still on my table. :)


Sometimes I imagine it's not a joke ;)


A Perry the Platypus plushie. He's my rubber duck.

A mouse pad (TeckNet brand) with a wrist rest, because my wrist deserves better than carpal tunnel.

A keyboard on a short platform, again to stave off carpal tunnel.

My computer glasses (Gamma Ray brand), headphones, and a picture of my wife.

Two HD monitors, a box of Kleenex, a Solo cup for snacks, a lotion bottle, and a charging cable for my phone.


I really need to get myself a wrist rest. Any suggestions?


This is the one I've got: amazon.com/gp/product/B013WW0B5G/r...

I've had it since April 2016 and it's lost maybe a centimeter in thickness, but still does a great job keeping my wrist below a 90° angle. Less than $10, too.


I have a bunch of personal items on my desk, two of them being notable: An old-fashioned sand-filled hourglass and a small glass/crystal ball. Both of these used to be team birthday gifts in our very early corporate days - the hourglass dating back to a time when we ran into serious performance issues more often than we wanted to (and our employees had to watch the "virtual sandglass" Windows NT cursor more often than they wanted), and the glass ball dating back to our days before establishing a working support / helpdesk workflow (when I often was confronted with extremely vague error messages and at some point used to respond that I can't provide any help before looking into my magic crystal ball to see what's wrong). Oh well. Those early days of work. ;)

Actually, the more recent artifacts on my desks are stones collected at the shores of the Baltic Sea which I tend to have in my hands then and now, there's something meditative about the sensation of their surface. ;)


I have a tiny 9 x 7 white board, Super Mario Bros pushpin fire flower statue, black cloud tape dispenser with rainbow tape, Gunner glasses, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones, and a Bernstein notebook.


White boards are a life saver!


I have this figure of Judy (Zootopia) as she really inspires me in my career (I'm studying computer engineering and I feel it's being so difficult to get through) and a lot of post-it, they are useful in every situation.


Keyboard, mouse, notebook, phone, monitor, chocolate.


Other than the landscape of unnecessity, I have the following:

Post-It Notes
White Board & Markers
Dead Rising Chainsaw Pole
DIII Treasure Goblin
Pistachios (Healthy Snack)


Im curious about the Chainsaw Pole! Do the Chainsaws come included?

Brings a new meaning code refactoring!


T3h codes will f34r me!


Other than the obvious - a box of kinetic sand, the company coffee mug full of chargers, Game Developer Barbie, a photo of my family, a pig face vase with a fake plant in it and some books.


Kinetic Sand!? Damn I should have thought of that!


Slinky! ...The original workplace toy for fidgeters, mental blocks, and missing semicolon/single-quote/parenthesis frustration.


Good old slinky!


Fidget cube, harmonica, headphones, speakers, cell, and programming book.


Wallace and Gromit toy at the moment. But I sometimes have little NASA Apollo models as well.


I have a moderately-sized rubber band ball I have been slowly constructing over the course of my career. 😄


Una pelota de beisbol y una libreta para hacer mis modelos UML.


The worst thing that sticks around my desk are wires, electronics, random things I am not using, but haven't bothered moving from the desk. I need to clear that stuff more often.


I spent my Monday yesterday trying to fully clear up my desk! It's refreshing when there's no junk around.
Maybe our desks our metaphors for our minds. Food for thought.