Two weekends ago, I decided to finally put together the assortment of IKEA parts I had accumulated over multiple trips to the Swedish furniture store. I had researched a handful of different standing desks that were made out of mismatched parts sold at IKEA and I eventually decided I didn't like any of the ones other people had made. So I took a few concepts, did a little research of my own and came up with my own design – one that was adaptable in the event I learned I didn't like standing to sitting.
The following Monday, I learned that I actually love standing while working. Sitting is nice, but it's almost too relaxing and I feel like I never get anything done. While standing, I feel more energetic and am more productive from the very beginning of every day.
But I ran into one snag. Raising my workspace from 28-inches to 44-inches has made charging multiple devices at once a bit of a problem. I have been using a Belkin Mini Surge Protector for at least two years and it has served me well. It offers three additional outlets and two USB ports (embedded on the side). However, the micro USB cables for charging mobile devices are, in general, too short to reach the front part of my desk.
"Why do we care, Taylor? It's a flaw in your stupid desk, a lack of foresight on your part."
I know, it sounds like I'm just complaining about something I should have prepared for. The thing is, I did plan for it. And while the distance of the top of the desk from the outlet may be an issue, charging all of the devices I actively use is becoming a problem across the board. At my desk, by the sofa after work, on my night stand while I sleep, in my car, etc. There are never enough plugs and always too many devices. Worst of all, it's always as if there are enough outlets but the AC adapters always cover just enough of an adjacent outlet to render it useless.
While I use more devices than your average Joe, I feel this is a problem more and more people are beginning to face. If not now, it's something you might face in the not too distant future.
Luckily, my situation hasn't escalated to Woz status yet and I don't have to carry upwards of 20 pounds of cables and power strips to charge everything each day. And I don't need a personal generator to keep everything in my bag running. But keeping everything charged is increasingly problematic and doing so from a standing desk is especially troublesome.
I could utilize the five outlets arranged around my home office. For devices such as my camera or Powerbag, that works. I don't mind leaving them across the room to charge. But I like (and need) to keep all of my phones within arm's length, as well as my tablets.
In search of a better charging solution, I asked my Twitter friends if they had any ideas and scoured Amazon for anything and everything that looked like it might handle the mess of cords a little better. After about an hour, I had come across several nice options. And eventually, I narrowed it down to a single, temporary solution that I plan to deploy all around my apartment.
I found an XTG four-port USB wall adapter (pictured below) that I have plugged into a power strip that rests on the top of the bottom portion of my standing desk. From there, I have four USB cables (one 30-pin for iDevices and three micro USB) running up to the front of my desk. To hold the cables in place and keep them organized, I ordered a Quirky Cordies cable management accessory (as seen above) and have wrapped two velcro straps around the cables, one at each end. Four cords isn't always enough, though. So one outlet on the power strip is used for my MacBook Air, one for the iPad and one is used for other various gadgets I need to charge at or around my desk.
Since the Belkin surge protector would have forced me to charge my phones and tablets on the floor or on the very back (and hard to reach portion) of my desk, I moved it to my night stand. There I have just enough outlets and USB ports to charge everything overnight. But while I'm sleeping, charging is less of an issue as I'm okay with charging additional gadgets across the apartment if necessary.
In the car, I have two USB adapters with a total of three ports that I constantly use to keep my phones charged. If I'm out and away from an outlet and need to charge a tablet, I just plug it into my Powerbag.
I'm fully aware that this is a first world problem. But you would imagine there would be better, more efficient ways of simultaneously charging an arsenal of mobile devices without having to rig three or four power strips together or use all the available outlets in an entire room. Even with my current setup, I have a serious mess of wires hidden beneath the multiple layer desk I stand at each day. While I can't see it, the fact that it's there irks me and continues to push me to find something better, more streamlined.
The obvious answer is to cut back on the number of devices I use. But I'm not willing to do that. Rapid charging wouldn't be a bad option either, considering I could fully charge all of my devices in just a couple minutes. Unfortunately, that's something I'm going to have to wait for. Ideally, I would love to have a wireless charging solution built into the desk itself, like a Powermat embedded along the edge of my desk, which would power my wireless keyboard, trackpad, phones and tablets. But I guess I'll have to wait a few more years for that, too.
Tell me, readers. Do you struggle to charge all of your devices at the same time? Do your roommates or family members fight over outlets? Do you have to spread your arsenal of devices across multiple outlets? Or have you found the perfect solution that easily allows you to charge everything at once?