When I'm feeling blue, I don't want to write. I don't want to do anything writing related, either. I just want to sit on the couch, eat peppermint patties and caramels, take a nap, then sip coffee and watch the Food Network.
Writers sit. A lot.
This writer certainly does! But I’m trying something different–I put together a makeshift standing desk to avoid sitting so much.
Some writers (and other work-from-home professionals) buy special stands to convert their desks from sitting to standing. Others have invested in treadmill desks. Then there are those who walk and dictate. I’ve tried dictation. It works in a pinch, but isn’t a long-term solution for me personally.
All of these methods to get out of the chair intrigue me, but I’ve never been motivated enough to try them.
Well, last week I was exhausted. I’m talking tired every day to the point I barely got anything work-related done. Part of it was a disruption in my routine (I had appointments every day). This week, I decided something needed to change.
For one week, I’m working while standing for at least an hour every day.
My hope is that shifting to a standing desk for a portion of each day will get my creative juices flowing, not to mention keep me from getting drowsy.
Until I know if I like the whole standing and working situation, I’m hobbling together my own standing desk.
To accomplish this, I pulled medium-sized plastic bins out of my closet and stacked them on my desk. I then brought over my laptop, my wireless keyboard, and mouse.
Once I started using it, I found I didn’t mind standing, but my laptop screen was too low. So I pulled out an empty cardboard box and added it to my tower. Also, I didn’t have enough room for both my keyboard and mouse, so I ended up balancing the mousepad on top of the numerical keyboard. I rarely use the numerical keyboard when I’m writing, and the pressure from the mouse is light, so it seems to be working okay.
Here’s a picture of this beast (yes, you can see the draft of this post on my screen!).
What have I noticed so far from standing for about forty-five minutes?
It’s…different. I keep straightening my shoulders for good posture, then I realize I need to suck in my gut or my lower back is thrown off-whack. I have a feeling my core will get stronger. Also, I’m bouncing and moving my legs more because standing in one spot for long hurts my feet and the backs of my knees. Boy, I sound old, don’t I?
If I didn’t have a good reason (hello, health!) to stand instead of sit, I don’t know that I would do it. This answered question from the Mayo Clinic, “How Harmful is too Much Sitting?” gave me the motivation I needed.
“Any extended sitting — such as at a desk, behind a wheel or in front of a screen — can be harmful. An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by obesity and smoking. However, unlike some other studies, this analysis of data from more than 1 million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a day countered the effects of too much sitting. Another study found that sitting time contributed little to mortality for people who were most active.”Mayo Clinic with Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Bodily adjustments aside, I feel more alert. I like that I can stroll over to my other desk and check my planner or grab a pen. Any of my reference books are mere steps away. When I’m sitting, I don’t want to get up. Plus, my dog is usually curled up on my lap!
I don’t see me working this way for hours at a time, but it’s possible to work up to long bouts of typing and standing. Also, I have an office where I can easily pack the standing desk elements away or I can leave it up for the next day.
If you’re short on room, you might not want to go to the hassle of pulling out bins, stacking them, then returning them each session.
Also, if you aren’t currently exercising or you tend to have back issues, you might want to skip the standing workstation or start with very short sessions and work your way up to longer ones. Try to stay loose and adjust your core to prevent those pesky aches and pains.
Have you ever tried a makeshift standing desk? Treadmill desk? Did you like it? Any tips?
Have a terrific day!