1.) What is your name and where in the WWW (Whole Wide World) do you live?
Dasha: My name is Dasha K. I live in Brooklyn, NY - I’m a native Brooklynite and very proud of my city!
2.) What do you do for a living, what pays the bills? And what is the thing you do when you are not doing the thing that pays the bills?
Dasha: I’m currently a law student, and my husband does the things that pay the bills. Before that, I worked as an investigator. In my free time (ha!), I’m either out and about with my husband and friends or have my nose in a book. I try to find time for needlework, sewing, and baking, but it doesn’t often happen.
3.) How much of what you do, personally or professionally, gets done at the work space featured?
Dasha: During the school year, most of my schoolwork is done in this space. I’m also in charge of bill paying, financial planning, and other such aspects of grown-up life, so all that happens here year-round. During the summer, I’m mostly here for internet browsing and such.
4.) Typically, what time of the day do you normally find yourself at this desk, and for how long? Night owl, early bird?
Dasha: I’m here in the later afternoons and evenings and much of the weekend during the school year and sporadically during the summer.
5.) How much of what gets done at your desk is for work, how much is it to scratch your own creative itch?
Dasha: Most of what I do here is work-work. But one of my goals for this summer is to organize and scan all my old photos and to learn a bit of photoshop - so hopefully there will be more creativity here in the near future.
6.) What are the essentials that can be found on your desk more times than not? How about those items just out of reach or out of sight? If it’s not on top of your desk what are the things you most often grab out of a top drawer or cabinet?
Dasha: Pens and my filofax! I could not survive without it. My external hard drive is pretty essential for peace of mind, too. On the shelf above me, I keep a box with my other desk essentials - post-its, stapler, stamps, etc. The bowl up there holds my camera’s charger and cable, and any other wire-like things I need on a regular basis. The rest of the stuff is on shelves and in cabinets to my left. Also, whatever I am working on at the moment - schoolwork, bills, camera - is usually on the desk with me, but I try to clear everything off when I’m done, and keep only one thing out at a time.
7.) What beverage/food/snack can one usually find at your desk, and why?
Dasha: Occasionally water or tea, but no food. I’m a messy eater!
8.) Do you have any reasoning or anecdotes that lend some insight into why your desk is setup the way it is, or the thinking behind certain item(s)? How about the things around your desk? Decoration, wall art, figurines, statues, etc? Any particular reason behind those?
Dasha: My printer/scanner is an absolute necessity because I can never make up my mind between paper and digital mediums - I’m always scanning or printing things out. The pen cup is actually a small vase I picked up in chinatown for this purpose when I started my job four years ago. I don’t want clutter on my desk so I try to look for items that are both functional and add an element of decor.
9.) How much of what you do, or aspire to do, influences your desk setup, tangibly and intangibly?
Dasha: One of my main goals in life is to keep my stuff free of cat hair and bite marks. To that end, I try not to leave anything out on my desk that could be sat on, slept on, chewed on, or swallowed. Another of my goals is to single task. I understand that some people are great multi-taskers, but I am just not one of them.
I try to keep my desktop free of stuff that has nothing to do with what I am working on at the moment - it keeps away the distractions. At the same time, when I am working on something, I like to spread out, so I got the biggest desk I could find. I found myself to be a much more calm and organized person once I made a commitment to deal with things as soon as they come up. Keeping a clear desktop is thus both a goal and a means to an end - the easiest way to get a physical object off my desk is to take care of whatever task it represents.
10.) Are you a Mac or are you a PC? What machine(s) are setup and used at your desk? If you are a little bit of both tell us why. How about any other tech gear that can be found at your desk or in your home?
Dasha: I’m a Mac user all the way - uncluttered, visually appealing, and user friendly - what more could I ask for?
11.) What’s the one piece of gear you could not live without?
Dasha: My Filofax. I tried living without it for several years and it did not go well. I’m a huge fan of my Mac and my iPhone, but they won’t hold my coupons, stamps and cards along with my schedule and notes, and I can’t switch the covers out to suit the seasons or my moods. And there’s the whole I-like-the-feel-of-pen-on-paper thing.
12.) What piece of gear cannot be found on your desk, but you wish it could be?
Dasha: I’ve toyed with the idea of wanting an iMac but I need the portability of my MacBook and cannot let go of the simplicity of having just one computer. I’d love an Apple Cinema Display but that is completely out of the question, price-wise, so I dare not even think of it for fear of breeding discontent. I kind of miss my 12” PowerBook. I sold it when I got my MacBook Pro, but now wish I hadn’t. It was redundant, but pretty. There goes that discontent.
13.) Software; what do you use more often than not. What helps you get the job done? And what do you not use, but hope one day to incorporate in your workflow?
Dasha: I rely mainly on Firefox, Evernote, Pages and Quicken. I like Pages a lot better than Word because it is cleaner and easier to customize (once I figured out how to use it in the first place). The dictionary and calculator built into my mac get a surprising amount of use. As does Numbers - much more useful than Excel for making simple spreadsheets. Evernote is my third brain (after my Filofax and the squishy thing in my skull) and surprisingly indispensable for doing legal research.
One of the challenges of legal research is keeping a good research trail. For a single question, I might read dozens of court cases and several secondary sources. All of this is impossible to keep track of in your head because the names are not memorable and the differences in facts and law often subtle. I just copy paste all the cases I read into Evernote and make a quick note of what the case is about near the top. I recently bought a copy of Photoshop Elements and hope to incorporate that into my life over this summer… I have tons of old family photos I’d love to clean up a bit.
14.) If you could change one thing about your desk, or the room it is currently in, what would that be?
Dasha: Teach the damn cats to stay off of it! My desk evolves a lot, but it’s perfect for the moment.
15.) Workspace Breakdown;
Think of as many things as possible that comprise the setup of your office or workspace, anything from the paint color on the walls to the floor mat your chair rolls on, and list them out. Who makes your desk, how about the cabinet next to your desk, your lamp, the overhead light fixture? Anything and everything you can see in the pictures shown, give as much color and background on these items as time and memory permits.
- Desk - IKEA tabletop and legs
- Chair - IKEA
- Shelf - IKEA
- Lamp - IKEA (pattern?)
- Wall paint - Freshaire Choice (from Home Depot) - Northern Pear Tree
- Carpeting - came with apartment
- Bowl - stolen from Grandma’s apartment
- Box - made of bamboo, from the bath section of The Container Store
- Pen cup - purchased at Pearl River Mart on Broadway just above Canal St in NYC
- Planter - Home Depot
- Thingy under planter - cork trivet from IKEA
- Air conditioner - Frigidaire 8,000 BTU
- MacBook Pro 13”, standard model as of last August
- Apple Mighty Mouse
- iPhone 3G and stand
- Canon PowerShot SD750 Digital Elph 7.1 MP (2 years old)
- HP Photosmart C5180 All-in-One printer
- Toshiba external hard drive 320 GB
- Linksys wireless router (4-5 years old)
- Fellowes T7CM shredder (under desk)
- Filofax - personal size Panama in Maroon. One of several.
- Darcy (Cat- show above) - grey tiger, male, approximately 11 months
- Lizzy (Cat- not shown) - all black, female, approximately 10 months
If you would like to learn more about Dasha K, her workspace, or her work, you can find her at the sites listed below;
If you have any questions or comments about this, or any other featured setup, or you would like to have your own setup featured here on SetupsandSpaces.com feel free to email me at FValletutti@me.com.