Author’s Note: The Lady Nerds Investigations likes to review products, look into curiosities, and share our findings with our readers. Our reviews and posts are not meant to prescribe any lifestyle, and these opinions may not necessarily be those of every member of the Lady Nerds. As such, take the reviews and findings as they are: opinions.
Stand up for something, or you’ll fall for anything.
The idiom typically applied to human ethics and morality can also be said concerning our health. While various sources debate the benefits of standing over sitting, let us be sure that this Lady Nerder is curious about ways to increase productivity. Health benefits may abound, but I was curious about working while standing up. I tried one method using my lectern at work and was surprised with how much I accomplished in a smaller period of time–responding to emails, creating lesson plans, even beginning to grade research papers (let’s be honest: that last one is best done sitting down with a glass of wine and How I Met Your Mother streaming on Netflix in the background).
But the idea was planted, and I wanted to bring this productive trick home to my dedicated writing space. My existing furniture doesn’t provide the ability to comfortably stand and work, so I decided to purchase a Varidesk.
Why not a treadmill desk or a stationary bike with a surface for a computer/notebook? I’m not the most athletic human on the planet (Truth: I’m not athletic at all. The only thing in my house that runs is the refrigerator.), so the idea of moving while working was intimidating. I’m terrified of knocking my laptop onto the floor to be rendered useless as it lay in many pieces of computer bits on my floor. Fear of losing my computer is the short answer to that question, coupled with the fear of realizing just how uncoordinated I really, truly am.
The allure of the Varidesk Soho was its convertibility. It would go from a desktop feature to an elevated station with little-to-no trouble, allowing me to sit, then stand, then sit again. I also liked that it would fit on an already existing work surface, which meant that I wouldn’t have to buy brand new furniture for this to work. I’m already working in limited space–I’m not looking to compromise what little I have to accommodate a potentially mammoth (and potentially expensive) purchase simply to stand up while I write. Absolutely not.
Varidesks are not cheap. However, when it comes to a purchase that relates to the passions in our lives, we are usually willing to take various expenses into account when pursuing said passions. Since writing is that important to me, as is my health, I could acknowledge the expenditure and accept it. My workstation cost $175 pretax, which was cheaper than I expected but was still quite a chunk of change. I had the good fortune of having some leftovers from tax season and decided to treat myself. I also have the good fortune of having a mother who is both thrifty and practical. Since I am unmarried and have no children, my finances answer only to me. (Cue the trumpets and the ticker-tape.) But I don’t like to spend needlessly. Spending needlessly is a waste, and I come from a family who frowns upon wasting of any kind. So I give Mom a ring whenever an idea hits me, and we hash out the pros and cons, much like Lorelai and Rory with Pro/Con lists. I showed Mom the commercial and the prices, and she and I agreed that this would be a cool thing to try. And, again, I had a bit of money that wasn’t dedicated to life’s necessities and responsibilities. (I may not have children, but I still have bills.) So I went for it.
Those of you out there who are in the market for something more thrifty would likely find luck through various vendors–or even venture into building and creating your own standing desk. Remember that I first started by using a lectern with great success. Other methods are out there and undoubtedly will work very well for you! Go with your gut!
Since purchasing my Varidesk workstation and accompanying floormat, here’s what I experienced:
- A clean workspace. It’s not a good idea to keep the workstation cluttered, as its made to rise and fall. Disasters could happen if you keep things piled on anything that moves.
- My posture and typing have improved. Faster words per minute FOR THE WIN.
- Since I’m standing, it’s more of a challenge for me to allow myself to get distracted. I want the minutes I’m up to count, which, for me, isn’t the case while I’m sitting.
- For example: I just went on a YouTube bunny trail because I’m revising this post while sitting. But I wrote this post while standing, and finished typing it in about fifteen minutes. Go figure.
- Multitasking is easier. Juggling multiple assignments or ideas, with a mind focused on getting everything done, leaves little room for things falling by the wayside. Plus, if something requires movement, I’m already standing, therein eliminating the chore of getting up out of my comfortable desk chair.
- The doctors I’ve spoken with in my lifetime of annual checkups all say that crossing your legs has some health risk factors, especially when done excessively. Guess what? One does not typically cross one’s legs while standing, unless one needs to visit the toilet rather urgently. Another check in the Pro column.
I’ve only had my desk for a few days at this point, and I’ve already seen improvements in how I feel. The floormat, which is a necessity with my tile floor, supports me fully. I’ve noticed that standing isn’t as fatiguing as I expected. The workstation itself is pretty roomy, with plenty of space for my giant Macbook Pro, coffee, and even space enough for my cell phone and a notebook. Those of you who require a mouse will be please to see that you can have a mouse and mousepad right beside your laptop. The structure of the Varidesk is very sturdy, and the non-skid feet make it very stable on the flat surface it’s on.
Disclaimer: Remember, Lady Nerders, that standing for prolonged periods isn’t the healthiest, either. You have to strike a balance between standing and sitting, which is why a lot of health apps out there will time you once they’re activated. (Example: Most will time you when sitting, and after 30-45 mins, will tell you to stand for 15 mins.) Always consult a medical professional when it comes to your health and fitness. Don’t go on my word or the word of the first article you find in a Google search. Please use your best judgment and common sense. You do you, and be healthy.
On the Road to Health and Productivity
So what next, Lady Nerders? We’re out here, working on becoming better versions of ourselves with our fitness pursuits and professional goals. Now what? Well, here’s what I did:
- Dress comfortably. (Easy for me, since my Varidesk is for home use. If you’re using your desk in a professional capacity, then I can understand the role of fashion being an important one.) I used my desk with comfortable clothes and supporting shoes (plus the floormat), knowing that I was working with the intent to shift from sitting to standing.
- Switch on your favorite productivity playlist.
- I blogged previously about how trance music gets me moving and working. That playlist may work for you! (I’ve also been listening to a lot of OceanLab, specifically. I’ve taken the liberty of linking a playlist to their music at the end of this blog post.)
- Set an attainable goal for yourself, both work-wise and standing-wise.
- Don’t stand for too long. Don’t push your body and mind beyond their limits. It’s a standing workstation, not a race for the Triwizard Cup. Find your zen, your happy medium, and stay with that.
- Set a clear working goal and move to achieve it. Make a checklist, if necessary, and focus on one item at a time.
So far, I’m feeling pretty comfortable with my decision to add a standing workstation to my writing space. The Varidesk works for me, and maybe it can work for you, too. And remember: With any endeavor in health and wellness, consult your doctor. Don’t go on the word of a blogger in the internet stratosphere.
Watch the video from their YouTube channel below, depicting the workstation I purchased. Visit their channel for additional videos with other models.
BONUS: OceanLab Playlist
Enjoy an OceanLab playlist below. Here’s to productivity!