What I Like Most About Using a Standing Desk

As I discussed in my last post, there are many benefits to using a standing desk. I’ve been using my standing desk for the past six weeks. Honestly, I was skeptical about the standing desk fad (at least I thought it was a fad). I was eventually persuaded by the variety of benefits that I kept reading about standing desk. Although I’m quick to jump in on the latest tech idea (can’t wait for my Apple Watch), no one would mistake me as New Age or hip. I don’t meditate and I don’t do yoga. In my mind, that’s the category I put a standing desk. Having taken the plunge, I’m a convert now. In today’s post, I want to describe my personal setup and what I like most about using a standing desk.

The image above is of my standing desk in my campus office.

I looked into purchasing a standing desk, but the cost was prohibitive ($1,000-1,500). So I started looking for cheaper alternatives. In this search, I came across Peter Mark’s standing desk idea. His site provides a lot of helpful tips and directions.

For my desk, I followed his plan and purchased the parts at IKEA for a little over $200. Essentially, the legs consist of 2×2 bookshelves and the top are two 1×4 shelves. If you’re looking to do this yourself, know that I’m tall so you may need a shorter setup. I also purchased an anti-fatigue mat. I’ve been less than happy with it and can’t even tell that it works all that well although I’m sure it does to some degree.

I use my 13-inch Macbook Air connected to an Apple 27-inch Thunderbolt display. My original plan was to get a long cable to connect the display to my iMac on my sitting desk. However, I like having the second machine and I’ve found using the laptop ideal.

Getting started took some work. After sitting for hours, you can’t just start standing for hours. I treated the process of standing like preparing to run a 5k. I began standing for 30 minutes and sitting for an hour. Slowly I starting standing more than sitting. Over a period of about 3 weeks, I built up to standing all morning. Typically, I won’t sit down until I have lunch now.

I’m really enjoying using the desk and I’ve found three primary benefits to using a standing desk.

1. Better for my back.

I occasionally get a sore back and shoulders. One of my hopes with starting to use a standing desk was that it would help with this problem. I’ve been thrilled with how I’ve done since using the desk. My back has been less stiff and generally just felt better.

2. Better for my focus and productivity.

One of the more remarkable benefits I’ve experienced has been better focus while using my standing desk. I’ve primarily used my desk for writing. During these writing sessions, I’ve found I can stay on task better than when I’m sitting at my desk. This jives with what others have found using a standing desk.

3. Better for overall activity.

If I’m already standing, I’m much more likely to walk down the hall and ask someone a question rather than firing off an email. In addition, I will occasionally do a little pacing while I’m thinking of the next section I’m writing. Both of these tendencies keep me more active during the day. I walk and move more when using my standing desk.

In the end, I’ve been incredibly happy with my standing desk. For a pretty small investment of time and money, my desk has helped improve my health and productivity. If you’ve been thinking about it or even if you’ve never heard of the idea, I encourage you to consider giving using a standing desk a shot.