Joao Alves

Engineering Manager at IndeedFlex

Minimalism in Software Engineering — tidy that workplace

Posted at — Mar 12, 2019



  1. Minimalism in Software Engineering — an introduction
  2. Minimalism in Software Engineering — tidy that workplace
  3. Minimalism in Software Engineering — tidy that desktop
  4. Minimalism in Software Engineering — tidy that calendar

Hi everyone, welcome to article number 2 on this minimalism series on software engineering. After a quick introduction on the last article, today I’ll share the changes I made on my physical workspace, namely my desks, and how it helped me do to my work better.

Since the biggest impact when you apply minimalism at home is the physical space with the reducing of visual declutter, I decided to start with the same approach and evaluate my desks and see what was really needed in there.

Maybe you’re already one of those people that have a nice clean desk all the time, I wasn’t, trust me. My work desk was filled with stuff, from random development stickers, papers and pens, a notepad that had 2 or 3 pages with written stuff (I take most of my notes on the laptop anyway) to a running backpack that I bought thinking that I would run while commuting. I did it 4 times and since then the backpack was under my monitor just accumulating dust. I found a colleague to give proper use to the backpack and got rid of everything else as well apart from the monitor and my glasses.

This had an immediate impact, no more shifting clutter around all the time to set up the laptop every day or to accommodate a colleague whenever they joined for some pairing or discussion. It’s impressive how you only notice these things when the desk is actually clean and organised. It might not have an impact as big as other changes but it does help a lot.

I also have a home desk as I try to work from home once or twice per week, another nice thing we should all do and we’ll explore later on. If at the office my desk was cluttered with work stuff, at home it was basically a free surface for everything you can imagine including my son’s toys. I got rid of everything except for a couple of pictures of me and him and I found out I could actually use the desk to work after this 😃. For both desks, less clutter visually, easier to focus on what’s happening on the monitor, the important stuff.

Now, as much as this helps, if you’re unlucky, and your desk at the office is on a massive open space (don’t know who came up with this idea that open spaces were better 🤦‍♂), as mentioned above, I would also recommend to set up a nice working station at home and work from there a couple of times a week if possible, this helps me a lot with focus and productivity.And that’s it for today, go on and tidy your desk and you’ll see how such a simple thing will have a nice impact on your workflow. See you next week for some tips on how to manage your computer and apps to get the best out of your work day 👋

comments powered by Disqus