This week's Freelance Fitness post isn't really about an exercise tip for freelancers, but it is about finding a way to burn more calories while you work.

As freelance writers, we probably spend far too much time sitting on our arses in front of a computer, whether that be in our home office, in our favorite cafe, or even under a tree at the park. It comes with the territory. So why not do some, or all, of our work standing? It burns more calories. It keeps us from slouching at a desk (which for me at least can lead to lower back pain). So why not?

That's what I'm going to try this week. I'm assembling an incredibly simple makeshift standing desk. I won't be trying to go all day with it at first, but just an hour or so to see how it affects my work. I figure either I'll love it and want to do it more often, or I'll hate it so I'll work more productively just to finish so I can sit down. (Hey, it's a thought.)

This isn't meant to be something used while you're doing other workouts like an exercise bike or walk on the treadmill. (We'll talk about those ideas in a later post when I figure out how to build one that will work with my bike so I can use it as an example.) This is just a very small one, big enough for a laptop. Here's what I did:

I didn't feel like "building" anything, so I went to Target. I bought a cheap microwave cart ($40) and hit the stationary department. There I found the scrapbooking supplies. They had a variety of modular storage units. I found one that gave me the height I wanted. It has a narrow shelf for papers or supplies, and a small drawer where I can keep my latest book research or whatever else I might need -- I can also pull the drawer out a few inches to prop up my note cards as I type since there's no room to spread things out. I just put the cart together and put the scrapbooking storage unit on top. That's it! Very simple, and it's surprisingly stable. I went with the scrapbooking unit because they're square unlike most similar desk storage units. So it fit the cart top much better. Here's a picture of my simple standing desk. Keep in mind that I'm about 6 feet tall, so the 36" cart wasn't tall enough on its own for me. But if you're shorter, a simple cart might be high enough by itself, so you wouldn't need the white box in the image below.

standing desk


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I love that this is on casters so I can roll it to any location where I feel like working. And if I decide a standing desk really isn't for me, it still works as basic storage elsewhere (kitchen, closet, or whatever). So no harm done.

I spent about $55-60 total. You can certainly do it for less. You might already have things at home you could use even. Or just get two large file cabinets or modular storage units and put a piece of coated plywood on top like a desktop if you want something that resembles a more typical desk (with much more room). You could also save money by just using a wire shelving unit (in your Wal-Mart, Target, etc's home improvement section or your favorite hardware store), and laying something over the top for a solid working surface.

Do you use a standing desk? What kind do you use? Did you make it or buy it? How do you like it?

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Thanks for sharing!
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Indie Writers, NakedPR.com, and BizAmmo.com.

Jenn has over 17 years experience writing for others, around 12 years experience in blogging, and about a decade of experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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