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Sven Lenaerts's Desk

Sven Lenaerts is a product manager and freelance product designer based in Belgium.

A few weeks ago Sven submitted his desk to Desk Hunt. What was first intended as a reader submission turned into one of my favourite interviews.

Let’s take a look.

Who are you and what do you do for a living?

I’m Sven Lenaerts, 22 and currently living in Belgium. I work as product manager at Bringme, my role consists out of conceptually figuring out new product features and opportunities to make our product even better. Right now, our product is a clever box in which people can send and receive packages, but we’re slowly growing towards an ecosystem where services and products can integrate directly with our product.

Besides, I work as freelance product designer. I mainly focus on digital products for early-stage ventures. I’ve worked with some Techstars startups, as well as some smaller Belgian companies. You can check out my work on Dribbble!

Can you tell me something about your desk setup?

In general, I love minimalism. I try to declutter my desk as much as possible. I use a Macbook Pro (13”) in combination with a Thunderbolt screen as my daily device. The desk lamp you see is one I picked up from Ikea, I can’t recall the exact name but I love the old school vibe and it was surprisingly cheap while still rocking an awesome design. My favorite desk piece is probably my stack of photos. I did work 18 months in New York. When I got back home in Belgium, I printed the stack of photos as a reminder to be grateful for some of the amazing experiences I’ve had over the pond.

A big game changer for me was my Herman Miller Aeron chair. I used to get back pain quite easily, but since I’ve had this chair, I haven’t had any issue anymore.

Is there anything you would like to improve on this setup?

Ideally, I’d love to purchase the Herman Miller Embody chair. I stayed a while with a friend in Colorado and he had this exact chair for his home office. I worked a few times from his desk and I was amazed by the difference a chair can make in terms of posture (and even concentration). I’d also like to pick up the new Apple keyboard, but it’s not a justifiable expense at this point. Finally, I have a huge weak for the Leica T camera and would love to have it on my desk, but as someone who doesn’t do any photography it doesn’t make sense to purchase it purely for the aesthetic look.

Do you switch workspaces during your day? If yes, what’s the reason behind it?

Yes! This is my home desk. At Bringme we’re based in a beautiful old banking building. Think high ceilings, lots of natural light. I also like to sit in a coffee shop as well whenever I have the chance - I just love the background sound of chatting people and the noises of coffee grinders and steamers.

Is there something on your desk which helps you stay focused? What is it?

Whenever I work in the evening, I like to light a candle or two. They remind me of the value of time and how I should avoid pulling late nights for work. Not for my desk, but on my Mac I try to keep only one or two application windows open at a time while working. Sometimes you see people who have 20 browser tabs open, I wouldn’t be able to work like that. Music, especially long DJ mixes (deep house or electronic) are key for achieving a state of flow. I’d recommend music from artists from the Ajunadeep label, such as Above & Beyond.

Every hour or so I try and take a 15 minute break. Drink some water, go outside, read a book. Taking plenty of breaks means avoiding that you mentally feel depleted at the end of the day.

Finally, not related to my desk, a daily workout makes a huge difference in terms of productivity and focus.

What was your latest self improvement experiment?

I’m trying to figure out how all my habits tie into each other by using a Gyroscope profile. Lately I’ve been trying to track sleep and see the results of that. It’s clear that I sleep too little and it does have an impact on my productivity, so this is something I’m trying to solve by sticking to a healthier sleeping schedule.

Where do you see yourself and your desk in the next 5 years?

I prefer to take life as it comes my way. As long as it’s equally (or more) healthy and happy, that’s all I wish for. :)

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Me by Daniel Puglisi