I’ll let the pictures do the talking first.
Details of my setup, which other than being super functional, looks absolutely sweet, if I do say so myself.
- Philips Hue Smart Bulb — from Amazon
- Philips Hue Light Strip (Table Lighting) — from Amazon
- Syska Smart Bulb — from Amazon
- Custom Death Star/Pokeball (LOL) Wall Lamp (How to coming up soon, subscribe!)
- Wipro Smart Plug (for the Death Star) — from Amazon
Workstation, and Peripherals
- Hoeton 10 Way Extension — from Amazon
- EURO Ergonomic Desk — from Amazon
- MISURAA Ergonomic Chair — from Amazon
- Oboe Raised Laptop Stand — from Amazon
- Multi Device Keyboard (PC + Mac) — from Amazon
- HDMI Switch (to change inputs to main monitor without unplugging HDMI) — from Amazon
- Rife Dual Monitor Stand — from Amazon
- AmazonBasics Cable Management Sleeve — from Amazon
- eGate i9 HD Projector — from Amazon
- Lenovo D Series Monitor — from Amazon
- Additional old Monitor for vertical viewing, not worth linking, just does the job.
TBH, this is still upcoming. Got an old Bose Headset and the JBL Pulse 3 for now.
- Main — MacBook Pro 13-inch, 2019 i7 8th Gen, 16GB RAM
- Storage + Light Gaming — Dell N7559 i7 6th Gen, 2TB total storage, 16GB RAM
Building a rig on the side but global processor shortage go figure.
How I built it:
The whole thing was clearly quite an expensive thing to build. The key is to spread it out over time. So what to buy/build first? As a thought experiment, I figured I’d create a priority framework to decide.
- The obvious ones first — value for money+within budget, available on Amazon/Flipkart at a decent lead time, didn’t bother my parents xD
- Functionality with a big bias toward productivity with my work.
- Cohesiveness/Completeness/Versatility — I tried to find a word for this but I couldn’t. Here’s what. mean — What could I buy/build next that would add enough value with everything I had so far, be self sufficient and a working, productive setup at all points. No half built rigs or wires or whatever. For example, the first thing I bought was just a simple Syska smart bulb (v/s a Hue bulb, which needs a hub to do what it’s really good at). Didn’t need an additional hub and was versatile enough to suit a lot of different lighting needs, whether work or play.
- Modularity and Flexibility — I want everything in the setup to be easily movable and reconfigurable in whatever arrangement I wanted. This would help find a good optimum without too much damage to the room itself, and break the monotony, if I ever got there. The Syska bulb was a good example for this too, v/s just falling for this whole Fairy light trend that everyone’s going for.
- Build > Buy — If I could build something with a decent amount of effort and time v/s buy something equivalent, it was the obvious decision. The Death Star lamp actually looks better than most Neon lighting/wall lamps by a long way!
- Space Utilisation and Simplification — Anything that helped me maximise the space that I had was very important. The dual monitor stand was one of my early purchases, since it freed up so much desk space, which I just left empty in fact. Cognitive load reduction and all that.
- Pop Culture/General feel good — Instead of just aesthetics, I tried to add as much of me into my setup as possible. There are a lot of things on my workspace that no one else will get. This just makes me feel so comfortable and in fact, incentivised in a strange way to spend more time at my desk.
- Aesthetics — Well if it looks great, I won’t complain.
I created a simple scoring system rating each of these, and making decisions became pretty objective after this.
How it played out
I built this setup between two houses really. I also had a lot of changing variables in terms of disposable income, available space, future plans, etc. Having a static decision framework would have meant bad news eventually.
To solve for this I create a weight system (yes yes very product I know) to adapt my framework to different contexts. Some examples:
Context 1: When we were in the old house, I had very very limited budget, and available space. This meant I had a wayyy higher weight multiple for Versatility, and also to some extent for Space Utilisation and Simplification. This meant I bought a monitor mount, scavenged an old monitor from my office, and got a standalone Syska bulb.
Context 2: We moved to the new house. I had a lot more space, and by then I’d also managed to work up a better budget. So now I could reset those parameters to a standard weight, and prioritise Modularity and Productivity with higher weights. This is when I got the workstation table, the Lenovo Monitor with switchable inputs and a JBL pulse. These allowed me to have both my computers functional with the same hardware, and avoid a lot of alt+tab or ctrl+tab and just plain tab hunting, if you know what I meant.
Context 3: I learn that I will need to travel soon for extended periods of time, and probably will not ever spend as much time at home again. What did this mean? This meant my decisions now needed to help make the space usable to the rest of my family (even after I left, taking parts of the setup with me). The most obvious thing was to prioritise things that would let the space used as an entertainment centre once I was gone. Got a HD projector, cannibalised some half decent speakers from the old house, and parts from my old CPU that could serve as a media PC. Also re-arranged things that would let people sit around the projection wall, v/s being more suited to a bedroom-workspace hybrid. You can see this on the video at the top of this post.
I actually had a spreadsheet with formulae to prioritise next decisions based on weights. If you want to see this, no lol. Figure that our yourself, why don’t you?
This is all I can think of right now. Tell me what you think on Twitter!