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Productivity Tip: Make A Y-Wing From Whiteboard Markers

My Top Tips series* commences with the only not-really-computery tip I have to share: The Y-Wing.

Are you sick of losing whiteboard markers?

I was! We all were!

In the turbulent, fast-paced environment that every-minute-counts problem solving creates, my workgroup found that tens of minutes a year were being spent searching for whiteboard markers.

Every moderately complex case needs a whiteboard diagram (you can quote me on that), but what happens when you can’t find a marker? Worse still, when the only marker you can find turns out to be permanent!? Gasp!

Our solution to this problem, hit upon while playing with marker lids that happened to interlock particularly well, was the Y-wing.


While the design of this particular type of marker lid lends itself perfectly to the Y-wing layout, others may also work when taped.

And if not, you can always cluster ’em in a circular-ish fashion, tape ’em up, and call them a Corellian cruiser (or something – what was the thingo at the start of the first movie with all the engines at the back? Are they seriously called "Blockade Runners"? Seems awfully specific for a ship that could probably get to the local supermarket and back with the groceries too. Wait, I’ve digressed again, haven’t I?)


Aside: Pedants among you might note that technically, it’s more of a pixellated W (or perhaps an M if you’re dyslexic, or from the Northern Hemisphere), but there was no W-wing in Star Wars. Or M-wing. So it doesn’t sound as cool. And it’s close enough. Just back off, pal.

How does it help? Well: by increasing the size of the marker object overall, and clustering all the whiteboard markers in the same spot, it’s both more discoverable/findable, and encourages returning the markers to their clustered form.

It’s also way cool and can be used in space battles* against inferior whiteboard markers and other trinkets (such as the 5 Year Award Star Destroyer) between drawing episodes.

Now, it’s easy to spot the hulking form of the Y-Wing amongst the desk clutter, and we’ve rounded out the fleet with other clustered whiteboard goods.

Now if only I could stop the bastard that keeps stealing all the whiteboard dusters. (Andy, I’m talking to you.)