Ever since I got into college, I have been sitting. I sat in class, sat at work as a debt collector, and sat when I got home. Nothing changed when I graduated. I sat at work, sat going to and from work, sat at home, so forth and so on. It got much worse when I ran my e-commerce company out of my home office. Not only did I sit at work, but I also sat a long time at home. I would drive to work (sitting), sit while working, sit while driving home, sit for dinner, and sit for another five to six hours running the business.

One reason why I stopped that business was because of my health. It was deteriorating due to all of the sitting and the crappy hours and terrible food I was consuming. I had a dream for that business, but it turned into a slight nightmare. I was happy when I closed it down in 2009. After that point, I told myself I was going to do better. I do have to sit at my day job, but I frequently take walks to break up the sitting. All was well while I was paying off my credit card debt, but that all changed in 2012.

I Can’t Stop Sitting!

I started Debt Roundup in 2012. I didn’t know where it would go, but it has grown beyond my wildest dreams. It has been featured in some large publications and I have done interviews for radio and print. It’s been a true blessing to say the least. Well, it’s been a blessing and a curse. When you run a blog, you tend to sit. Blogging is not just about writing, but also marketing, networking, and advertising. Add in the technical aspects (which I love and offer to other bloggers), you might never get off your butt! There are so many facets to running a blog that most people can’t comprehend. This is especially true when you tell someone you blog. They tend to look at you like you’re some slacker! Well, I can tell you I am no slacker. I hustle my butt off. Literally…

Once I started my blog management business, iMark Interactive, the sitting grew even more. I didn’t think I could fit any more sitting in, but I guess I was wrong. Since I’m a night owl, I can sit until 1am at some points. This means I’m mainly sitting from 8am to 1am many days of the week.  That’s not good at all. The only other time I’m not sitting is when I’m sleeping and that just laying down. There was too much sitting and my butt was starting to hurt. I couldn’t get comfortable in my chair in my home office.

So Many Chairs, So Little Budget

I started looking for chairs last week. I knew my budget $20 chair from college wasn’t cutting it anymore. It was not only hurting my butt, but also my back. That chair needed to be lead out to pasture. I looked at Amazon to see the prices and found any good quality chair that can handle the rigors of a blogger would run me at least $150. Dang, I don’t want to spend $150 on a chair. I surely didn’t want to spend $300 on a chair. In my head, I was trying to justify the purchase. A good chair can do good things for your butt and your back. It could even make you more productive.

As I do with most purchases over $100, I decided to sleep on it. I didn’t want to spend money without testing the chairs. The next day, I drove over to Staples (sitting of course) and test sat some of their chairs. There were big ones, little ones, and ones that were just right. After going back and forth, I found a chair that I wanted to get, but it was out of my chair budget. It was $229 and it felt good. As I rationalized the purchase in my head, I realized I couldn’t find someone to help me. No Staples employee was around. Really, I couldn’t find anyone. That’s when I decided to leave and come back another day. I don’t have time to wait for employees when I need to make a purchase. It’s one reason why I love online shopping!

A Revelation About Sitting

As I sat in my car driving back to my job, I realized it might not have been my chair causing my pain. It was mostly due to the amount of time I was sitting**. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that sitting for prolonged periods of time is damaging to your health. I have been slowly killing myself one sitting sessions at a time. That’s when the light bulb went off in my head. I didn’t need a new chair! I needed a new method to do my work. The first thing my brain went to was the standing desk! That’s right, the standing desk has grown in popularity over the years. Employers are even adding them into their office plans. Why? They’re better for you. You can stand to do your work and you’re not sitting all day. Yes, you still need to add in exercise and movement, but standing is better than sitting.

**I’m going to have to give 100% credit for this revelation to my wife. She has been telling me to get off my butt for years, yte I was too focused on my blog and business. So, if you’re reading this, thank you for drilling this idea into my head. It’s one of the many reasons why I love you! Oh, and sorry for it taking so long to stick in my brain. I am a man after all 🙂

I knew it was time to switch from sitting to standing. It only took me a few minutes to come up with plans in my head. I went through what I needed and how I was going to do it. See, I already have a desk, one I purchased in November of 2014. It’s a good desk and I don’t want to just get rid of it. For this reason, I decided to opt for an add-on addition to my desk to make it a standing desk. The best part of all of this is the parts only cost me around $30 to purchase from my local home improvement store. So, without further ado, here is the $30 standing desk!

How to Make the $30 Standing Desk

The $30 Standing Desk

 

The picture above is of the actual standing desk I created all for around $30. It didn’t take much time at all and it’s functional. I stand in the corner of my desk and get my work done. I’ve been using it for less than a week, but I’m enjoying it. Not only does it promote a little healthier lifestyle, but it’s helping me sleep better and that’s good enough for me. So, if you’re thinking about getting off your butt and making a change, here’s how I built my standing desk. First, the parts list…

  1. One (1) 2″x4″ that is eight feet in length
  2. One (1) 2’x4′ MDF Board (3/4″ thick)
  3. One (1) 12″x24″ shelf
  4. Two (2) shelf brackets 8″x10″
  5. Wood Screws
  6. Drill
  7. Screwdriver

My standing desk could have been cheaper than $30, but I went with a nicer shelf bracket and the MDF board. I could’ve just went with a simple L-bracket and 3/4″ plywood. I like the look for MDF for the standing desk, so I went with it. It was also two feet by four feet, so it was perfect to just cut in half. I also could have gone with smaller 2″x2″ supports, but who doesn’t love a good 2″x4″ for legs? This standing desk can hold a small child and still keep the computer humming high in the air.  Go big or go home, right?

The first thing you need to do is measure how tall your standing desk should be. Since I was putting this on top of my existing desk, I needed to check to see where my computer would need to be. I measured to see where my focal point is when I’m standing. I was aiming for the center of the computer screen. After I got that measurement, I checked the measurement from the middle of my screen to the base. I simply took the focal point measurement and subtracted the computer base to center screen measurement. This gave me the overall height of my stand.

I cut my MDF board in half, so each piece was 2’x2′. One is for the bottom and one is for the top. I then subtracted the thickness of the MDF board (times 2) and that was the height of my support legs (the 2″x4″ board). I cut those to length, then started putting my desk together. I drilled three pilot holes for each leg. I used my impact driver to fasten the screws (if you don’t have an impact driver, get one. You’ll thank me!). I did this for each leg and hooking them to one piece of MDF. Once done, I put the MDF on the ground with the legs sticking up. I place the other MDF board on top and started drilling those starter holes. In the matter of about 30 minutes, I had the two pieces connected and I was ready to bring it upstairs.

After placing it on the desk, I needed to figure the height of the shelf. This took the most time as I needed to find the optimum angle for my arms to rest on the shelf without my wrists hurting. This is going to take anyone who wants to do this some time. It’s easier when you have a friend or loved one help you. I measured the shelf spot a few times before I decided to drill in the shelf brackets. After all was said and done, I laid the shelf on the brackets and started back with my business and blog work. I did keep the shelf floating and didn’t screw it to the brackets. This allows me more flexibility if I want to move the shelf, since I plan on putting my laser printer underneath the computer monitor. There is a good amount of space in the box area.

So, there you have it my friends. I decided to get off my butt and make a change. No, it’s not a change to how I run my blog or my business, but more of how I use my computer. Now, instead of sitting all day, I will be standing for some and sitting for the other. I’m happy with my change and I hope you think about a standing desk if you need to get off your butt!

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19 Comments

  1. Love the stand up desk Grayson! All the research coming out suggests that sitting is just so destructive to our bodies, so it’s a great thing you’re making the move.

    Since I started working at home full-time, I bought a fairly inexpensive stand-up desk through Amazon ($50 or so) and I like it a lot.

    I find that certain tasks I can easily do standing up (making videos for my travel hacking members), but for some reason I just can’t write emails standing up. There’s something that clicks in my mind and compels me to sit down — it’s really odd! I need to work on that for sure 🙂

    1. Brad, Any chance you can post a link to where you found that stand up desk on Amazon?

      I like the thought of a standup desk, but not the thought of employing my limited carpentry skills to make one. 🙂

        1. Grayson,

          Thanks. 🙂

          Brad’s comment had prompted me to search Amazon, I didn’t seem to be turning up a model that matched his description for price point.

          I’ll take another look, maybe there’s something there that can suit me. Thanks for the post!

  2. I love it! I feel ya on the sitting. I get so tired of sitting all day. Sometimes I stand at my kitchen counter and write. It’s the perfect height. I could probably use a standing desk too!

  3. LOVE it, Grayson!!! Fortunately, I don’t spend all day sitting, and with all of the chores and other stuff around here, I get up and around a fair deal. But I have added squats into my workout routine to take care of the visual effects of sitting all day. 🙂

  4. I suffer from similar problems due to being in Human Resources for the last 22 years. I swear I feel so old whenever I disclose that, but thank God I don’t look my age. Due to sitting for over so many years I now have poor circulation in my legs and at times have to wear those Granny stockings under my fabulous garments to keep my circulation going. As I’m typing this I’m standing up, and it really does help.

    Now that I plan on becoming a full-time blogger in my next life I know that I have to figure something out to maintain my health. A standing desk sounds like a great idea to me.

  5. Very nice Grayson! I’ve been wanting to build myself a standing desk for the past year or so. Working from home means I sit a lot and it drives me nuts. There’s no real good spot to have one in our house – so I stand at the breakfast bar in our kitchen when I can. That’ll change when we buy our next house as we’ll be looking for a house that’ll allow us to have a devoted office.

  6. I love this! I am not sure if I’m going to continue working from home or go back to working for someone else, but if I stay at home I definitely want to create a standing or treadmill desk. Thanks for the example of pulling it off simply and keep us posted on how you’re feeling!

  7. Nice article Gray. I agree with you that we sit most of the time and almost everywhere. And, that idea of a standing desk is really cool and can really make a change. Actually, I’d love to do it as well.