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John Saddington's Desk

I discovered John Saddington through his work as an indie developer: Desk and Teeny Tokyo. Which the former has been awarded with “Best App of 2014” by Apple.

Sometimes I tend to overcomplicate things and John’s minimalistic approach regarding his desk, work and life itself reminded me of that.

His desk is one of a kind among all of the Desk Hunt setups that I have seen before. Let’s take a look.

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

I am a serial entrepreneur, blogger, indie developer, husband, and father (among a few other things). My career has been built around “building” things and sometimes that’s companies, sometimes that’s small projects, sometimes that’s for other people, and sometimes I’m helping to build others and see them become crazy-successful.

Can you tell me something about your desk setup?

It’s completely spartan, just the way I like it. The space is entirely minimal and it’s one very small adjustable standup desk (but rugged). It was something that my wife and I found on a vacation to Savannah, GA while I was speaking at a conference and I immediately fell in love with the sturdiness.

It’s hard to imagine that most of the “magic” happens in this small corner and with very little desk space, but, there’s something uniquely powerful about limiting those physical things to create mental space. There’s my notebook computer, my physical notebook, a few books that I’m currently reading, and that’s about it. There’s not much room for anything else!

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

Not really. I love it. My wife helped put it together and she knows me really well after having built me a few home offices.

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

Not really. Sometimes I may sit down on the floor, but I’m quite used to standing 8-10 hours a day.

Can you tell us something about the items on your desk?

My Moleskine notebook has the “keys” to many of my brilliant (and not-so brilliant) ideas. It’s where I privately journal my thoughts and capture anything that I might be thinking about. This is one of the most important artifacts that I have and I carry it with me always.

You update your blog almost daily. Why?

Because it is a utility for the mind. I no longer blog for others (and I’m not sure if I ever really did) - I blog for myself, so I can understand the world around me and the thoughts that incessantly sneak into my brain. It’s a experimental drafting board for life and an opportunity for me to say aloud what I think in a way that forces me to be clear, concise, and deliberate. And, as a natural consequence, it’s been a fundamental part of my career opening doors that I never thought could be opened. I’m so thankful to have been blogging for so long and I’m now beginning to reap some amazing benefits from it. It’s a discipline now, much more than a passion.

What inspired you to create Desk PM?

A desire to create something that I could use daily in my writing efforts, plain and simple. I didn’t create it originally for anyone else except me and the original concept came to me back in 2002 on a road trip with my brother down the Florida coast line. Crazy to think that it took more than 10 years for me to find the time and experience to put it together! (There’s more on the homepage of…

What are you doing to stay focused?

Nothing in particular. I use my Email Inbox, though, as my so-called “To Do” list. It’s a unique way of centralizing everything and it’s somewhat easy to explain but hard to help others practice. But it works for me. I don’t use any other apps… sometimes I just use paper.

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

Nope. Nada.

What was your latest self improvement experiment?

A few years ago I experienced some major medical issues and had to dramatically change my lifestyle, especially my diet. In short, I lost over 30 pounds and am in the best shape of my life. You can read more here.

Other than that, I go in and out of interests pretty fluidly. Right now I’m biking to the office and so that’s been building a lot of lower-body muscle and putting demands on my body that haven’t been for a long time. I like that. Nothing dramatic, but opportunities to keep things fresh.

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

Perhaps even more simple. Hard to imagine, but, I’m trying every iteration to do just that. You can never get too simple.

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by Daniel Puglisi