Friday, February 06, 2009

My New Standing Desk

This is how I will work from now on.

As you may know, I've been training for a marathon for the past few months. Back in the days shortly after arriving in L.A., I had no bed and was therefore sleeping on the couch. The training and this horribly uncomfortable sleeping situation, not to mention the 25+ hour drive to get here, compounded into a horrible lower back injury. Because my job 40+ hours a week is as a video editor, I spend much of my time sitting at a desk, hunched over, examining video. Add to this the fact that I don't have a proper office chair and usually sit in a 40 pound wooden medieval thing and you'll see why my back hasn't healed properly in 5 months. Sometimes I would get up from the computer after a long day of editing and I would get shooting pains down my hips and up my spine and it would take a minute or two before I could actually stand up straight. This is not normal for a 25 year old man in supposed peak physical fitness. It is not right that I can run a mile in 5 minutes but I can hardly bend over and touch my knees.

Then the other day I went over to my friend Gordon's home-office and saw that he had a desk that was about three and a half feet off the ground. He'd pushed back his tall swivel chair and was rocking back and forth as he typed emails, sort of dancing to the rock music that he blares as he works. This reminded me of a documentary about Walter Murch (imdb), perhaps one of the greatest film editors of all time. He was interviewed while cutting Cold Mountain a few years ago, at the age of about 60. And shots of him working showed his six-foot-five frame, standing at a very tall editing bay cutting the film. If a 60 year old man can stand and edit all day, then so can a 25 year old Anton.

So yesterday, after getting home from the gym, I took a look at my desk and noticed that the desk was adjustable, all the way up to the shelves on top of it. So I took off the shelves, raised the desk and put the shelves underneath the whole contraption.
 I've been standing here for the last two days and have been editing more diligently than ever and my back has completely stopped hurting. Coincidence? I think not.

It hurts my eyes to even look at the old set-up. 
I'm never going back to the way things were.


Jessica said...

Look at your skinny little white boy feet! And why does that not look like your hand?

Anonymous said...

Add a small stool on which you can rest one foot or the other. It is not good to stand all day long for many years with both feet on the ground - it makes your lower back concave. Happy standing. PS I am only six feet tall.

crackers and cheese said...

You are intense. In a good way.

Lori said...

I have taken an entire course on the politics of sitting.

A British anthropology teacher at my university specializes in chairs and their place in human history. She speaks and writes of them as a tool that was used by 'civilized colonialists' to put other cultures to shame.

She does her ethnographic work in Nepal where chairs are neither commonly nor traditionally used. When people sit, they just sit on the ground. When she tries to sit like they do, it is quite uncomfortable for her-- nearly impossible. She had the entire class doing it one day; we had to sit for the entire 2 hour lecture on our feet with our bums on the ground.

It is difficult to say the very least.

Apparently we have to be trained from a very young age to be able to properly sit in a chair, and it is quite unnatural. If this is true, no wonder back problems are so common in North America.

GeekDesk said...

Nice setup, and great to see that you “get” the advantages of working at least part of the day STANDING.

At the risk of being perceived as blatantly “spamming” here, I’ll mention that if you ever decide you’d like to be able to easily go back-and-forth between sitting and standing, you might check out an adjustable-height desk. (We sell frames for them here: A lot of people really like standing desks, but don’t want to stand ALL day; our frames give the option of a nice balance.

Great post — thanks for taking the time to share your setup. Always cool to see!

BLinder said...

I've been seriously considering it since you first mentioned standing at your desk. But then I really like sitting. One day I'll try it. But I'll probably need a posture back brace or something cause that shits all wrong.