Log in

bear by san

November 2015



Powered by LiveJournal.com
holmes confidence

If I could go back there I'd be my own angel

Like many people in my line of work, I suffer from a few of the drawbacks of typing for a living. One of those is sedentism (a bunch of my writer friends and I tend to refer to our butts as our "street cred"--wordcount is produced by Butt In Chair) and another one is the real bugbear of writerdom, RSI.

Well, I have been "fortunate" on the RSI front, in that I was forced by an early injury to start paying attention to my ergonomics much sooner than many writers of my acquaintance. Alas, since I moved into the 113-year-old house I currently inhabit, my work habits have slipped. 113-year-old houses, you see, are not noted for the plenitude and accessibility of their electrical outlets. So I have been working on my laptop on the couch a lot, rather than either at my desk or in the comfy typing chair I bought specifically for keeping my legs elevated and my arms level while I work.

And I've been similarly ill-ergoed when working at my boyfriend's place... and I'm sure a certain amount of Angry Birds hasn't helped. Ahem.

And I have been lazy about my wrist braces. Bad bear, no biscuit.

The last big push on Steles of the Sky resulted in cold hands and tingling, and served as a serious wakeup call. So today, in the midst of cleaning up the house-filth leftover from deadline crunch, I ran an extension cord to over by my favorite typing chair... and I collected some hoarded materials and built the standing desk I've been meaning to build for the past four years or so.

I am typing at you from it now, and it seems to work fine. (And hey, suddenly playing Tetris is virtue! I'm at my standing desk! I am helping myself to not die!)

The evidence, more and more, seems to support that sitting still for long periods of time is just plain bad for you. I generally try to break up my seated life with getting up to move, even if it's just dancing with the dog for five minutes, but I've worked enough retail to know that it's pretty easy to stay on your feet for eight hours if you take care of your body, and I've worked enough desk jobs to know that sitting still for that long kind of sucks.

So I boosted my work surface.

I will probably switch back and forth between the two stations as needed, but for the foreseeable future I'm going to try to spend a few hours a day at the standing desk. We'll see how it goes, and if it helps the RSI.

Working with elevated legs sure solves a whole bunch of problems I was having with my feet and ankles; we'll see if this is a similar improvement. It's really nice to have the laptop off my, you know, lap. It means I'm freer to shift around.

Even if I do feel like an exhibit at lookatthisfuckinghipster.


Standing Desk (very homebrew):

2013-02-27 20.42.54

Other workspace:

2013-02-27 20.42.20

(It's winter in New England. We believe in Afghans.)


A pot of tea, an afghan or two, a snuggly companion animal (cats in my case) curled up beside me, and a good book. That's my idea of paradise.

Another danger for people who sit at desks a lot is deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the veins of the lower leg that can break loose, go into your lungs and kill you). I lost a colleague that way. Standing lessens the danger of this also. I have to have a foot pedal as I type transcripts of tapes. Because of problems with leg and ankle swelling, I figured out a way to fix my foot pedal to the wall so I could work from a recliner, which has really helped. I never thought of a standing desk. I wonder if you could use a foot pedal while standing? I'll have to try it.

I'm curious about your setup. When you decide to work sitting in your desk chair, do you shift your keyboard to the lower shelf?
I've used a steno machine, and I think I could use a foot pedal with this setup. I might have to rest a butt cheek on a stool...

I probably could do what you describe, but I have not tried it yet.