When I'm not traveling, I work from home, which means I spend a lot of time sitting at a desk. Since this became the norm, I've noticed my legs and back have grown gradually weaker and I've had trouble with back pain. In addition, I sometimes feel lethargic and have trouble focusing after I've been sitting for too long. Rather than live with this, I decided to try to find a solution.

I heard a friend mention standing desks one day, and the idea fascinated me. I'd never seen one myself, but I did a little looking and found a ton of research and options.

The Art of Manliness has a fantastic article on the history, benefits, and use of standing desks, where I learned that standing desks aren't a new invention at all! Apparently, standing desks have been used throughout history by many great men, including Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, and Ernest Hemingway. Standing desks were even used in some public school classrooms in the 1800s.

In addition to research on the benefits of standing desks, I also found research on exactly what features a standing desk needs to have (see image above).

It turns out that sitting for extended periods of time significantly increases your chance of an earlier death. On the other hand, those who sit for less than three hours a day live an extra two years, on average!

I was quickly convinced I needed to try out a standing desk but was dismayed by the $500-$1600 price tag on some of the “best” standing desks. Luckily, I found a design for a standing desk that only required $22 worth of parts. I ordered the parts from Ikea immediately, got them within a few days, and assembled the desk the following weekend.

Other users of this same desk style have termed it “The Standesk 2200.” Rather than replacing your existing desk, this cheap alternative is designed to sit on top of it and convert your sitting desk to a standing desk. It was actually a little wider than my current desk once I tried it out, but I had a small table which was the perfect height to use.

The first full day I used the desk, I thought it was a good idea to try to stand all day long. Boy, was I wrong! My legs were aching before lunchtime, and I eventually had to sit down on a nearby chair and use my laptop for the last couple of hours of work. That night I ordered an “Anti-Fatigue Mat,” a floor mat designed to make standing for long periods of time easier on your legs and feet.

Come Monday, I started my normal workday at the standing desk and forgot to sit down until lunch. My legs felt great (though they needed a bit of a stretch) and I felt more active and alert than ever! The mat I use is a Genuine Joe Anti-Fatigue Mat, which was only $21.

In review:

  1. A Standing Desk just may save your life
  2. It will definitely boost productivity
  3. It doesn't have to break the bank
  4. Take it easy, build up from there
  5. Save your legs, get an anti-fatigue mat

If you want to set up the same desk I did, you can find the guide here: Standesk 2200 Assembly Instructions

Question: What's stopping you from using a standing desk?

About

John Meese is the author of the #1 bestseller Survive and Thrive: How to Build a Profitable Business in Any Economy (Including This One). An entrepreneur himself, John is on a mission to eradicate generational poverty by equipping entrepreneurs with the tools and training they need to build thriving businesses from scratch. He is the CEO of Cowork Inc, co-founder of Notable, and regularly publishes interviews and insight at JohnMeese.com.

2 thoughts on “Why (and How) I Switched to a Standing Desk

  1. Really interesting John!
    Thanks for posting this.

    I have found that there’s a fine balance between sitting and standing and you need a fine balance so I sit for 2 hours, then stand for 2 hours while I’m working and I use a time to make sure I don’t forget. It’s really useful and when I was buying my desk I read through the information at http://www.deskimatic.com

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