A couple years ago a client asked me to write an article about standing desks. I had never seen one before and thought it was a joke. Consider me sobered when I did some preliminary research and learned how many health problems are being attributed to constant sitting.
I knew sitting was bad – you eat more, exercise less and don’t move those muscles – but I had no idea how bad. Since then I was frequently forwarded articles about the horrible things sitting can do to the human body and why standing desks were not just a good investment but vital for good health.
The problem with all this is not that I disagreed; I’m a young guy but I’ve seen what sitting for the last 6 years has done to me. It’s not bad, but it’s not pretty. There just aren’t a lot of good standing desks out there.
Scratch that – there are plenty of good ones. There are no AFFORDABLE standing desks out there. I can’t afford to spend $1,000 or more on a desk. Until it goes mainstream, the standing desk is not an affordable option for a freelancer.
A few days ago, I stumbled across this:
Not bad, but still close to $300 and that’s the barebones version. On Black Friday, it was 20% off and I was sorely tempted to order, but then I had a thought:
I could build one!
So I googled that and found this:
Not bad, eh? Better yet, it cost the guy who made it $22(!) to build and involved only some cheap Ikea parts.
Then I discovered something even cooler – I already HAD a Lack table. It was a coffee table, not an end table, but whatever, it’s the same thing.
Voila, my standing desk was born. It’s as hacked as furniture hacking can get, but it works. With the books under the monitor, it’s the perfect height and when I order the brackets and shelf (a whopping $14 total from Ikea), I will have a perfect keyboard rack
More importantly, it’s opened up a crazy amount of space in my office which was starting to feel cramped and it’s keeping me on my feet for 8+ hours a day.
Does It Work?
My veins certainly feel stronger, but hey that could just be in my head. What I do know, however, is that I have been energized for days now. I haven’t felt this excited to go to work since…well, since it wasn’t work.
When I setup my laptop for Skype calls and my iPad for Podio management, I feel like a flipping starship captain and I have an embarrassing (but hopefully ab ripping) habit of dancing to the music when I get writer’s block.
The Psychological Component
Before you run out and build your own (do it!) I want to share one more reason I think a standing desk is a great investment.
I’m reading a book right now (mostly listening, but some reading) called The Power of Habit. It goes into great detail about how habits are formed, what mistakes we make when trying to change or add new habits and why it seems so flipping hard.
One of the big reveals (and an eye opener for me) is that habits only form when there is a specific reward that creates a craving. It has to be immediate – so getting fit isn’t enough when you’re trying to exercise, etc.
For me, the end of the work day never felt like the end of the work day. I wasn’t tired – maybe mentally but not physically. Not like I was used to being from my deli days.
But when I stand all day I’m flipping worn out by 4 o’clock. I just want to collapse and read a book and that feeling of being really and truly worn out is amazing. It’s the craving I strive for (the relaxation) and one more good reason to get one of these things.
If you haven’t yet, check it out.