My solution? A chalkboard surface applied directly to my workbench. This allows me to keep all my notes, etc. in one place while retaining the original desk real estate.
Step 1: Materials/Tools
* Chalkboard Paint - I used Krylon black chalkboard spray and it works really well.
* Chalk - White, colored, both, whatever floats your boat, just not clay based.
* Eraser - Felt ones work the best.
* Newspaper - For blocking over-spray.
* Masking Tape - For masking of course.
* Sand Paper - For prepping the surface, finer grits such as 200 probably work best. I used 100 and it was alright but I wouldn't go much courser as it could give you an uneven surface.
Step 2: Prep the Surface for Paint
After sanding, wipe the surface clean of any dust.
Next, mask off the intended area using the newspaper to keep over-spray from getting on the rest of your workbench.
Caution: Be careful when deciding where to place your chalkboard. Electronics tend have a weakness for high amounts of dust which a chalkboard potentially could generate. If you want to reduce dust, erase the board using a damp cloth instead of the standard eraser.
Thanks to member jteppen for reminding me of this.