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Sarah Lis Smith's Desk

From time to time when we’re getting things done, it happens that our workspace starts to get cluttered with stacks of paper. To free up space, I start to scan everything and throw it away afterwards. Others might not have that freedom in their line of work and need to store it physically. That’s where Sarah Lis Smith desk setup comes in. Her beautiful desk with its extra long tabletop, drawers and file folders might be the inspiration you need for your office right now.

Let’s take a look.

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

My name’s Sarah Lis Smith. I’m a freelance creative director, designer and web developer based in Vancouver.

Can you tell me something about your desk setup?

My setup has come together after a few years of experimenting with what does/doesn’t help me think more clearly as a creative. For example, I don’t work well when my desk is cluttered, so I opted for an extra long tabletop with lots of drawers and file folders to stash loose paper. As someone who works all day with colours and patterns, I find that I focus better when my surroundings are neutral, natural and minimal - thus all the black, white and wood of my setup.

My desk is made from an 8-foot long piece of plywood that I cut to size and finished. The drawers and legs are Ikea pieces that I found on Craigslist. My chair is from West Elm, and the Edison lamp was purchased from a local Vancouver boutique. The gorgeous elk art was created by my illustrator friend Jori van der Linde.

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

I would love to have a standing desk option, but haven’t figured out a good way to convert my current setup!

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

I live within walking distance of a couple of cafe’s and will move to one if I’m feeling really unfocused. Working at home with only a cat for company can probably drive anyone loopy. So moving to a cafe where’s there’s lots of people around and good coffee helps me stay on task, especially when I have more mundane work to do.

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

The Edison bulb has a cement base and was created by a local artisan. I absolutely love having natural light in my office, but that’s not always a possibility here in rainy Vancouver. So having this lamp with the soft, warm light it gives is a great backup either when the weather is gloomy or when I’m working late.

What are you doing to stay focused?

I put everything I have to do in organized lists (I use the task management software, OmniFocus) to get tasks out of my head and into a prioritized system. That way I can work strategically, rather than reactively stress over whatever first comes to mind.

What was your latest self improvement experiment?

My husband and I are currently on the Whole30 diet and will be cutting out gluten, dairy, sugar and legumes for 30 days. We started it to address some sinus problems, but I’ve found myself to also be more focused and energetic since we started.

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

My husband also works in marketing and our dream is to one day launch a boutique agency and both work from home. Hopefully he’ll be filling the seat beside me in the future :)

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