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Desk setup on a Budget

We moved at the office last month, and I felt like trying something new with my desk setup this time. Here is the result.

Previously I’ve refined the elite pinnacle of office poise, but that setup (Plate Mail, Unicycle, Standing Desk) costs thousands of dollars and years of training even if you just want to color with crayons at your desk.

I’ve had reason to try a more modest setup at the office this time. Introducing the under-desk:

Sitting down on the lower level of the under-desk.
Sitting down on the lower level of the under-desk.

So with tiny cubicle walls, I can’t even get a makeshift standing desk by placing monitors and keyboards on an old set of programming textbooks. Standing up is great for seeing what everyone else in the office is doing, but leads quickly to visual distraction. Sitting down blocks most of the distractions (although I have some tall co-workers), but you don’t want to stay rigid in one position for too long. Chairs are one-position devices, so I need an alternative.

Since I can’t build up, I built down. The desk provides a nice insulation against visual distractions and light (although I can see the feet of people walking past), and there’s plenty of room down there. I can sit down, stretch out, and put the laptop either on the low table or the ground depending on my floor posture.

This is where the cheapness of the setup comes into play, the only required furniture for building was half a cheap IKEA table (named “Lack” for it’s complete lack of features that might push the price above $10). Saw the legs down to the right height, and it’s perfect for sitting cross legged, resting your feet, or dual-use between the upper and lower desks.

The upper desk is definitely more comfortable though. Lower desk is there for specialty purpose use and not mainstream use, unlike the unicycle. Maybe 80% of the time I’m sitting at the desk normally, as boring as that is, and then once or twice a day when I need to switch to a different posture I’ll drop to the floor.

Using two desks at once. Dramatized example.
Using two desks at once. Dramatized example.

Using the bottom desk with my toes is a really cool idea. If only it worked as well as using a computer with my hands. I can use the touchpad fairly well, so I can browse the web. And I can hit up and down for my bash history, so I can compile. But as for actual typing – a word per minute would be a reasonable approximation of my speed. Maybe I just have toes that are too big, and should find a custom keyboard for them. But for now, it’s just not a practical way to work.

I can still read my comics down there though, if I take my socks off. My co-workers will never suspect it – unless they have working noses.

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