Minimalist Desk Setup in the Philippines

“My setup is pretty simple. I just got everything I need on a small desk”

Trish Ramos
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Name: Jeorge Paolo Jorge

Location: The Philippines

Occupation: Designer, Photographer, Content Creator

Room size: 6 m² (65 ft²)

Cost of the setup: about $1K (MacBook not included)

Social media: Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

Hey, Jeorge! Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi, my name is Jeorge. I’m a designer, photographer, and content creator based in the Philippines.

I found my love for design in high school and I do still have the same passion for it.

I was fortunate enough to be working as a designer for a startup here in the Philippines. It’s actually my first job and I’m still with the same company for I think seven years now.

Besides having my full-time job, I do freelance on the side if I have some extra time.

I’m also trying to expand my skills by having different creative outlets. I’ve taught myself the basics of photography and filmmaking through various internet resources like YouTube and SkillShare.

And with that, I developed a love for content creation, hence the birth of my Instagram page and YouTube channel.

Jeorge Paolo Jorge is an aspiring YouTuber with a passion for creativity
Jeorge is an aspiring YouTuber with a passion for creativity. In his channel, Jeorge covers a bunch of topics ranging from tech, desk setups, everyday carry to self-help tips, productivity and minimalism

I’ve been trying to grow both channels for quite some time now and luckily, there are bits of engagement here and there, plus the community was nice enough to welcome me and introduce me to the vast world behind this niche that I am into.

Being a content creator has opened a lot of new doors for me. I get to work with brands, meet striking people, I even scored this interview with you guys at Maker Stations!

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Can you describe your home setup?

Item Model
Monitor LG
Monitor light bar Baseus
Laptop MacBook
Keyboard Keychron K2 V2
Mouse Apple Magic Trackpad, Logitech MX Vertical
Speakers Logitech Z333 2.1
Desk DIY

Would you believe that this is my first desk setup? Gonna give you a quick back story on this one.

Growing up I haven’t had a chance to set up one for myself cause I don’t want it to be a burden for my family.

A small computer table with a functioning PC was good enough for me to do my homework and layouts on Photoshop 7.0, which was my jam back in the day.

By the time I was in college, I shared a laptop with my brother so I worked pretty much anywhere.

With that in mind, I thought a dedicated setup was unnecessary. Slowly, I came to believe that working on the go with a laptop or iPad is the way to go since you can work when and where you want.

Needless to say, I kind of took it for granted and hadn’t realised the true benefits of having a proper setup until we were all stuck at home because of the pandemic.

It was a rough time. We were all forced to shift to a work from home setup, and I got no desk at all!

You know what, I’ll even show you the first two makeshift desks I made just to get stuff done. Feel free to laugh at me for it but this is an exclusive look.

Man, it was such a mess!

So, given that situation, it sparked the idea to finally invest in some good items, tools and stuff to be able to build a nice working desk setup for me.

As you get more involved in this hobby and invest in your love of desks and workspaces, your expenses are more likely to snowball. Until you get to the point where you feel like you already are on the “end game” of your setup.

I do feel like I’ve reached it already, and that’s certainly my setup’s end game... for now? LOL.

Getting into the actual setup, mine is pretty simple. I just got everything I need on a small desk.

My goal for it is to have just the things I need so I could keep the desk as minimal as possible, and still functional at the same time.

This desk was custom made by my dad. It’s from an old coffee table with a size of 90×18 cm. My dad crafted the metal feet to handle the weight of the stuff that I’m putting on it.

One struggle that I encountered is if I have to sketch something on my iPad, I have to readjust my peripherals a bit to have some space for sketching.

Jeorge says the desk is pretty small but he's happy with the size
Jeorge says the desk is pretty small but he’s happy with the size. “It challenges me and makes me think twice about things that I’d want to put on it as I’d love my desk to be as minimalist as possible”

I’m good with this desk for now. I got used to it and the space was just right for me. But hey, if ever an opportunity arises, maybe I could upgrade to a wider sit and stand desk in the future.

Overall, my current setup is pretty basic. I’ve got one monitor. A set of cheap but good sounding Logitech Z333 2.1 speakers.

I got a wireless charger for my phone and cables that are ready in case I have to charge other devices.

I went a little overboard with my input devices since I have three instead of the usual keyboard & mouse combo. (I’ll elaborate on the Apple Magic Trackpad I added to the bunch later on.)

Then lastly, I got one light, the Baseus screen bar that illuminates the whole setup. And that’s pretty much it!

As I’m used to working in the dark, the screen bar is already sufficient. I like that it brings this spotlight looking ray of light. It’s making me feel like I’m in the zone whenever I’m working on something.

I’m so close to calling my setup “The Bubble” cause I feel like I’m in a bubble whenever I’m at my desk, haha!

What’s your favourite item on your desk?

So as I mentioned, I have this trio of input devices on my setup. It’s a keyboard + mouse + trackpad combo.

This trio has been my favourite set of tools so far and I love using these items every day.

The journey began with me looking for the perfect mouse. I have tried a fair share of cheap models back in the day as I hadn’t realised the true benefits of those premium productivity mouse options back then.

I have even attempted to get the full Apple experience by purchasing the Magic Mouse, which served me well for quite some time.

However, from cheap mice to the Magic Mouse, I’ve had this persistent pain in my right wrist for years. I eventually came to the conclusion that I needed to invest in something that would relieve that pain. Something I would enjoy using for long hours.

It was then that I began considering getting an Apple Magic Trackpad. I was hoping to lighten up my right hand by shifting some of the work to my left hand if I got a trackpad.

It wasn’t until I tried it myself that I completely understood why some YouTubers and content creators prefer having a trackpad beside their powerful productivity mice.

There was a learning curve at first but since I’m left-handed, I got used to it quickly.

I never thought I’d say this but I feel like the trackpad is a must-have for designers like me. I love how you can easily use gestures to improve your workflow.

With my trackpad, I could easily zoom in and out to check details on my designs.

I could freely pan and move around the infinite canvas to go from artboard to artboard.

Plus, let’s admit it, I think most people are used to the gestures that macOS offers which are intuitive and fun to use.

The first version of my trio of inputs included the Apple Magic Trackpad on the left, the Logitech K380 Bluetooth keyboard in the middle and the Apple Magic Mouse on the right.

Pushing through the “end game” for my setup, I kind of splurged a bit and decided to reward myself by getting a Keychron K2 V2 as an upgrade from my old Logitech keyboard.

The experience has been amazing so far. Given that it is my first mechanical keyboard — it is literally my gateway to the mechanical keyboard world — I’m having so much fun using it.

Then I finally went on and got a Logitech MX Vertical. I was super curious about this mouse, so far the experience has been a delight!

All in all, I might have gone a little overboard with my input devices, but that’s OK. They have been working great for me, and I think this system is going to be my go-to setup for inputs in the long run.

What does your typical day look like?

My daily routine has been drastically affected by the pandemic since I used to go to an office in the city for my day job.

Pre-COVID, I had to wake up at 5 am just to get ready in the morning and I had to leave by 6 am to be able to get to work by 8 to 8:30 am.

Then it’d be just working the whole day, meeting my girlfriend after work, going home, and repeating that every day.

Now that we have switched to working from home, it is a major change for me. Previously, a good chunk of my time was spent commuting from home to the office, and vice versa. This time can now be devoted to improving my well-being and productivity.

With the extra time I have now, I can sleep better and do stuff other than my day job that takes up the bulk of my time during the week.

Jeorge Paolo Jorge' setup in the Philippines
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on content makers like Jeorge and forced them to change their daily routines in one way or another

So, my new daily routine looks like this: I wake up either by 7 am (the earliest time that allows me to get at least seven hours of sleep) or by 8 am (the latest I can do if I wish to extend my sleep a little bit). Then I spend an hour getting ready for the day, having breakfast and going through my morning routine.

Taking a shower and getting dressed before work helps me to feel like I’m in that “work mood” if that makes sense.

For me, this clearly indicates that the next few hours are for work only. Therefore, my workday is from 9 am to 6 pm, during which I would have meals and snacks whenever I’m hungry.

After work ends by 6 pm, I either do a quick home workout or, if I’m not feeling it, that time is for things like checking emails, browsing social media, scheduling non-work-related tasks, etc.

Dinner is served at 7 pm, followed by family time, which lasts until maybe 8 or 9 pm. It’s more like a quick break from the day job to get ready for my personal stuff that usually takes up the 9 pm to 11 pm slot.

I use that time for freelance work, content creation, posting stuff, basically, anything that relates to my creative outlets.

Finally, 11 pm to 12 pm is the time to call my girlfriend and catch up with her. I always enjoy her stories before we go to sleep. This would give me soothing thoughts and help me end the day on a good note.

Your tips for working from home?

Although I am no guru in productivity or whatnot, here are some tips I’ve found useful:

1. Take a shower and get dressed in the morning

Even if you do it in the comfort of your own home, this should be much like getting ready for a normal day at the office. So that your body and mind are truly awakened.

2. Drink tons and tons of water

There are countless benefits to staying hydrated so make sure to keep a bottle, flask, or whatever you prefer on your desk within reach. Another option would be to stand up and walk to your kitchen or dining area to grab some water. That ties into my next tip.

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3. Don’t forget to move or at least do some activity between tasks

It is bad for our health to sit at a desk for too long, so as I mentioned in the previous tip, it is a good thing to stand up and maybe walk around the house from time to time.

4. Manage your tasks but don’t expect too much

My job has taught me how to manage the tasks, so now I’m using pretty much the same approach for my personal projects too. The management of your daily tasks can be a good thing for you and will help you clearly set and effectively achieve goals within your day. But what’s more important is to not put too much pressure on yourself, meaning you should not expect too much to be accomplished by the deadlines you have set. Not finishing everything is pretty normal I think, aim to finish at least 2 to 4 things a day and I am sure that would be rewarding too.

5. Choose your music wisely

This last one is a little subjective and there might be different preferences, but I have two rules for choosing my music for WFH.

a. If I need to concentrate on something without distraction, I listen to chillhop beats, ambient sounds, instrumentals, anything that has no lyrics, so I can stay focused on the task at hand.

b. Whenever I’m doing things that don’t require much attention, I play my favourite pop songs, hip hop, punk rock, etc. Or even listen to podcasts to get some inspirational thoughts even when I’m busy doing things.

Again, I’m not a productivity expert or anything but maybe try one or two of these tips to see if it works for you. Take care!

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