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October 24, 2014

Stand Up and Compute

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

I’m guilty. As I compose this blog post, I am sitting in my fancy Areon chair. It’s mighty comfy, but it’s not the best way to position myself during my workday.

Another author I know, someone who also writes a regular blog, mentioned in a recent post that he uses a standing desk. It looks like a podium or a preacher’s pulpit. There on top is his laptop.

Standing desk! What the heck is that?

So I looked it up.

Turns out, a lot of authors stand while writing. Victor Nabokov did. I once thought that was odd, like they were torturing themselves. I mean, I imagine great 19th century authors all over-dressed and sitting at a table with quill and ink. That might have been true, but lots of authors — and composers — work while standing.

My blogger friend commented that he first found it unusual and, yes, tiring. After a while, however, he got used to it.

And here’s the good part:

He found that his back problems started going away. He started losing weight — which could be coincidental, but it makes sense.

As a species, humans are designed to be upright. Sure, we can sit. But when you look at tribal cultures, they don’t sit on chairs. They sit on the ground with their legs folded or they squat. And they probably don’t have weight problems, circulator issues, or bad backs, either — but that’s just a guess.

I would love to have a standing desk. I’m very close to making one. The issue is that I built my computer workstation myself. I designed the thing in Adobe Illustrator, making it custom-fit my office as well as how I work — and where my kids hang out. Figure 1 illustrates my original plans.

Figure 1. My office workspace design.

Figure 1. My office workspace design.

In Figure 2, I’ve highlighted the work desk. You can see how it fits into other things I’ve made for the office.

Figure 2. My office work desk (red), shelves (green), and Morton Boop (blue).

Figure 2. My office work desk (red), shelves (green), and Morton Boop (blue).

My point is that although I’d love a standing desk, I don’t have a place for one! I could build a little riser for my workspace, where I could stand up and work, but my bookshelf would get in the way. Or is that too whiny of an excuse?

Someday I’ll have a standing desk. I actually look forward to it. I don’t have a bad back — yet. Lamentably, like other chair-dwellers, my ass is starting to resemble the chair. That’s a bad thing — and a bad thing that doesn’t happen when you have a standing desk.


  1. The key to getting a standing desk is to get the adjustable kind that raises and lowers so you can both stand and sit when you feel like it. Thats the best solution because no one wants to stand or sit all day.

    Comment by BradC — October 24, 2014 @ 6:47 am

  2. The City attorney has such a desk, although I believe he keeps it in the up position all day.

    Comment by admin — October 24, 2014 @ 7:13 am

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