Welcome to The Privacy Dad's Blog!


This post is a bit of a stretch, but as my personal privacy journey has, unfortunately, resulted in more time spent behind the computer, I'll briefly describe my desk setup today.


While my main workhorse is in fact a Lenovo TP 440p laptop with a good HD screen, I mostly keep it docked. You can find cheap second-hand docking stations for old Lenovo laptops. I am guessing these laptops were very popular in offices at one point, because there really is no shortage of docking stations, batteries and other hardware for them.

Using the docking station allows me to keep all peripherals plugged in and ready to go, and remove the laptop with one button click. But the main reason I have it set up like this is to encourage working on a full-sized monitor screen.


I bought a Razer wired mini gaming keyboard, so it can sit on closed lid of the docked laptop. I honestly don't know if this makes ergonomic sense, but resting my upper arms on the desk, just below the elbow, with hands sort of floating above the keys seems to work ok for me.

One of the most useful things I learned in high school was blind typing - on a noisy, electric typewriter! -, and so this combination of monitor and small keyboard creates an unimpeded workflow.


I use a wired mouse. I try to use wired everything. Bluetooth can be magical, but is still unreliable. For headphones, wired is still best in terms of fidelity, and if you do a lot of rebooting, a wired keyboard is the most reliable.

In any case, one of my best purchases is a weighted mouse pad with gel wrist support. I use a Kensington one, because the weight keeps it in place, rather than having to resort to sticky rubber surfaces.


When I look straight ahead, my gaze meets the middle of the upper third of my monitor. Most ergonomic advice tells you that your eyes should be level with the top of your screen, around the address bar of your browser (CNET). If you wear bifocals, I recommend buying a separate pair of computer glasses if possible; your optician will know about this.

I always make sure the night light setting is active, so blue light is reduced after sunset, and I set most applications to dark mode, for a gentler visual experience.

Desk and chair

Ikea to the rescue. I have been surprised by the affordable, high quality and comfort of Ikea's ergonomic desk chairs. The one I have has a comfortable headrest (see below). This is good because it encourages leaning back a bit when watching tutorials, which puts less tension on the neck.

My desk is also Ikea and has adjustable height. I originally got this to encourage standing up. I had read this is supposed to be good for health, and that some famous authors wrote standing up. But I am too lazy and mostly sit. The adjustable height, however, is really convenient for small adjustments to screen and keyboard height. My desk is electric, a bit of an investment, but you can get the mechanical version cheaply.


A kind IT colleague once spent a long time explaining the best way to position your monitor screen in a room with natural light. I don't have natural light here, but find what's most restful to the eyes is a bar desklamp just above the monitor screen, parallel with the top and facing away. Diffused light cast behind the monitor screen causes less of a strain on the eyes.


I am an audiophile and have had the good fortune of having been able to invest in some really excellent studio monitors by Yamaha. These are at a slight upward incline on specialised studio foam rests, to avoid sound vibrating into the desk. This is only important for monitoring audio while mixing, to avoid any kind of interference. They are positioned equidistant from my ears, pointing directly at them.

I also have a very good headset by Beyerdynamic with soft ear pads. These investments are not an extravagance if you spend a lot of time mixing audio, but it is nice benefit to have a good audio setup for regular use too. The soft pads and high level of comfort means there is never any fatigue from wearing the headset.


I have experienced all the usual aches and problems that come with computer use in the past, but when I began paying just a little bit more attention to ergonomic positioning, these all but disappeared. I don't game on my computer, but use a console hooked up to the TV.

The most effective changes were the mouse pad with wrist support, adjusting the monitor screen to a comfortable level and getting a good desk chair.

There are numerous digital minimalism-related reasons for working on your computer at a desk. While I'm not sure I'm spending less time on my computer than if I were to just work on a laptop screen, I would count the ergonomic benefits among them.


Ikea Markus

The lovely Ikea Markus deskchair.

Affordable Kensington ergonomic mouse pad.

CNET article cited above.

More thorough Mayo Clinic article.

-----Discuss on Reddit-----

Subscribe to my blog via email or RSS feed.

Back to Blog

#desktop #digitalprivacy #ergonomics