Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hacking Together a Standing Desk

There were a few lifestyle changes I promised myself post the Himalaya Trek last month. Very simply stated, they were to walk more, stand more and read more. I decided to improve on the walking by not taking the lift in my apartment for a start (4 floors) and made progress on the reading and wrote about it.

The tougher problem to solve was the ‘how do I stand more’ problem. Work involves a fair amount of sitting during the week and I felt like I was exacerbating thanks to all the additional work I was doing at home! On average, it’s about 25-30 extra hours per week that I could do something about.

Now, this is an issue that Lifehacker has been writing about for a while now and I was always intrigued by the idea of a standing desk. This idea took further shape when I interviewed venture capitalist Bijan, who, of course, took the Skype call from his standing desk. So, I decided that I’d work on this idea last weekend and see where it took me.

So, I went to Ikea and bought myself a shelving cabinet with the idea that this would be ideal height for my laptop screen. What I didn’t realize then is that the keyboard and mouse needed to be significantly lower so as to be comfortable. So, after a bit of DIY with a friend, we ended up converting my Ikea trolley to that platform with 6 bricks and one of the shelves from the rack. I also realized that I’d be better off getting myself a nice monitor (something I’d wanted for a LONG time anyway!) and a keyboard.

So, after many hours of toil.. (well, not exactly - it was very exciting putting this together), VOILA!


I thought I would wait a week before blogging about it so I didn’t recommend it too early but my god, am I in love with this idea!

A few things I’ve learnt and observed over the past week..

- I know we are all different but I can’t help but believe that we are born with a desire to ‘figure things out’, to build, to hack, if necessary. The joy I derived from putting together this solution is hard to express.

- Standing takes getting used to. I stood practically all of last Sunday and I remember really looking forward to sitting at the end of the day! That said, I’m getting used to it real quick..

- You know that good feeling after you exercise? Working at this desk makes me feel physically just as good about myself!

- I find myself to be more alert, more focused and less distracted and that’s a big help in the morning on weekdays when I wake up to blog.

- And I find standing suits my type of ADD! I get to move around, bob around, play with a small ‘stress ball’ by kicking it about/throwing it on the wall and catching it.

In short, I LOVE it. The most amazing part of it was that my mom was so intrigued by the idea that she put together a standing desk herself the very next day and blogged about it!

All in all, a way of working that I’m going to take forward for life.. Thank you to Lifehacker and Bijan, for the inspiration. And thank you to the Himalayas and all the people who made it happen for inspiring such thought..

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