Less Pain, Less Exhaustion and Now More Writing

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Standing desk, how I love you.
Standing desk, how I love you.

So long, crippling pain. Hello, productivity. A month or more on from setting up a standing desk, I’m seeing huge benefits.

Where I Was At

Working at home, I no longer have a facilities department and HR taking care of my desk and posture, and a few months ago I was really feeling the effects. Bad posture was causing huge pain in my neck and shoulders, which then turned into tension headaches. Despite various experiments with my desk setup, within a week of seeing the physiotherapist I’d be back in pain.

Is It A Desk? Is It A Shelf? No, It’s Superdesk!

I’d long wanted to try working at a standing desk, but couldn’t afford to buy one, both in terms of space and finances. Inspired by my wife Laura, I instead turned a set of Ikea bookshelves into a standing desk, adjusting the upper shelves to put my laptop and a monitor at good working heights.

At first the standing desk was exhausting to work at. I was wiped out after the first day and had to pace myself at using it. The real test was always going to be where I was at a month or two on.

So Very Good

As I’m writing this it’s been over six weeks, and I’m amazed at the difference the desk has made. Despite not seeing my physio in nearly four weeks, I’m feeling almost no pain in my neck and shoulders. I haven’t had a headache in weeks. Having got used to standing a lot, and alternating that with sitting on a tall stool by the desk, it’s improving my fitness rather than exhausting me. I’m the most productive I’ve been in goodness knows how long.

The last few years have been a health rollercoaster for me. Between clinical depression and muscle problems, it’s been hard to get to the place I want to be – working full time at writing. The standing desk has made a huge difference, and I can’t sing its praises enough. After trying it for a decent amount of time I can confidently say that if you work at a computer and suffer from muscle pain you should give it a go.

8 thoughts on “Less Pain, Less Exhaustion and Now More Writing”

  1. Bravo on the Ikea “hack”! What a fabulous idea. I have been dabbling with the idea of throwing out the conventional desk and switching to a standing one. How long are your sessions at your standing desk? I spend at least 9 hours a day at my desk, so that is a concern of mine.

    1. A normal writing day for me involves 7-8 hours at the desk, though it can be more or less depending on the day. The first day I was using the desk I stood at it for nine hours with very few breaks and ended up exhausted – the whole of the next day was a write-off. What I do now is to alternate between standing, sitting on a tall stool that takes me to the height of the laptop shelf, and occasional breaks to give my body a rest. Doing it that way, I’ve built up my stamina so that I can do longer and longer stretches of standing without wearing myself out. The stool means that I can switch between sitting and standing work without having to move the laptop, making it much easier to keep changing things up.

      I know standing desks don’t work for everyone, but it’s well worth giving it a try.

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