20hr Da Vinci Project

Special Work Setups


I do a lot of my work from my home office (which is currently one half of my rather large bedroom), and for me, that means toying with a lot of different ideas and setups for how best to arrange the different tools and furniture I need to get stuff done. On the tech side, though, most of my customizations are pretty specific to my working style (e.g. extra keyboard of sixty-something macro keys, customized desktop extensions, scripts to do everything from wallpaper swaps to lighting adjustments, and so on), By contrast, though, I have two simple "furniture" ideas I've been experimenting with, one for a long while and the other for a few weeks, so I thought I'd take some time to think and write about it.

One-half of most of my working setup, including a white wall-mounted standing desk and my so-called chair.

PART 1: Standing Desks

I've been interested in the idea of standing desk for a long time, and I still am. The major boon with standing desks, though, is that sometimes you might still want to sit down and work, when your unexercised and weak legs get tired out from standing, or, more in my case, when you just came back from a bike ride or a hike and you're tired to begin with.

Another pretty common problem is that most standing desks, unless you DIY them or settle for subpar ones, are on the large side. So to solve both problems, I kept my old, L-shaped desk for my bigger, dual-monitor setup, but scoot it aside to make room for a much smaller, laptop-size standing desk setup.

Over time, I edited videos on the desk, wrote blog posts, made some designs, produced music, and got a chance to experience a whole spectrum of tasks standing up and on a laptop.

Of course, this isn't the premier standing desk expierence, if you will. Those don't come cheap. Instead, this is more of a trial run, and overall, my impressions are pretty positive. Besides the straightforward consequence of having to stand up to keep working, which can't be bad for your health, I found myself usually more focused on the task at hand and less distracted.

The only downside I found to using standing desks was that I had to work in bursts, because standing does get tiring after a while. If I had opted for the all-new and trendy sit-stand desks that can transition between the two, this might not have been a problem. But as it is, I found myself sitting down and reading or looking for some snacks after a period of standing and working.

PART 2: Exercise Ball Chairs

The exercise-ball-as-a-chair experiment is more interesting.

The popular reason for the switch is usually to do with back strain or posture correction, but I had a different reason. For me, the (potentially temporary) switch was most just about replacing the old creaky chair I was using, and getting something that could, like standing, help me get less distracted.

The experiment worked...somewhat. Overall, the effects of the exercise ball chair was mostly similar to the standing desk, but the plan to ease distraction almost fell flat on its face.

If I had something exciting and fun to work on, the exercise ball chair was usually pretty comfortable and wasn't a bother, but on these things (I'm sitting on one as I type), it's incredibly easy, at least for my brain, to get distracted by the chair itself (which is to say, wobbling back and forth and bouncing on it pretty needlessly).

The exercise ball chair is nice to have, but if I could replace it with a nice swivel chair, I probably would. Considering that I got the chair for around ten bucks on Amazon, though, the bang-for-buck value can't be denied.

PART 3: Standing Desks Reprise

More recently (around a half year after the initial post), I got a hold of a sit-stand desk that allows you to switch between the two modes, and although it's pretty exciting, I really haven't changed my opinion of them much. They're still very nice to work at when I have the energy -- I even once watched two entire feature films back to back standing up while working -- but when I get tired, I always have to sit back down. It's just that this time, I can use the same desk in both positions.

Is it cool? Yep. Is it worth the cost? Ehh.