For the past 42 days or so, I have been working on my MacBook Pro 16 while sitting at my dining table or on the couch. I recognized from the outset that it wasn’t the most ergonomically efficient way to work, but I thought I could make do. After all, the only other table in my tiny apartment is a custom writing table, which I use to write in longhand when I’m working on my daily journal or notes to friends. It is not meant for typing on a computer.
Still, I kept using these tables. And to make matters worse, when I am sitting, I’m usually slumping, a posture not conducive for long stretches of work. After more than a month, I recently realized that working from home is here to stay, and I need to do something about the growing aches and pains in my wrists and shoulders. I needed to improve my workspace.
It was a difficult decision. I deliberately strive to keep my space minimal and have pared down my furniture only to things I love. I hate anything to ruin the particular aesthetic of my place. Furniture, like other objects, is just a reflection of clutter in our minds.
But in the middle of a pandemic, one has to make do. I knew I needed a proper work table now, just as I knew that the odds were against finding anything perfect. And since everyone seems to swear by the standing desks, I got one. The Wirecutter recommended the Uplift V2 table, and so did many folks on Reddit. I asked a few friends, and they all gave it a thumbs up.
Last weekend, I ordered a standing desk from the Austin-based company. It showed up on Thursday, and I spent the whole weekend trying to assemble it. Admittedly, the instructions manual indicated that this should be a two-person job, which turned out to be entirely accurate. Clearly, this was not designed to be put together by a single person living alone in the middle of a pandemic.
I will say that the setup instructions for the table were actually relatively simple and easy to follow. The kit is pretty well labeled, and every step was relatively straightforward. I got tripped up a few times because the manual used an older design of the table for instructions, but it wasn’t that much of an issue. The biggest challenge was just the weight of the table. The desktop was bulky and proper toe-crushing heavy. But I’m proud to say that after a few scratches and a couple of nicks, the thing is upright.
In an effort to match the wood aesthetic of my living space, I ordered a 48×30-inch version with a walnut wood top. Is it perfect? No. Should I have ordered the cedar barkline edged version? Maybe, but when I was browsing, I didn’t feel its joy. And honestly, the website photos are pretty small to actually make out the difference.
Maybe the Uplift folks need to improve their online visual experience to give a better idea of what various kinds of wood look and feel. (Where is augmented reality when you need it?) The desktop and the frame cost me a whopping $1400 plus another $75 for accessories, such as a surge protection extension cord and desktop wire management kit. Like I did putting the thing together, my credit card got a nice workout.
Anyway, my new workspace is ready. Here is what it includes:
- The Uplift V2 desk with Walnut desktop
- iMac Pro plus the Apple XDR Display (which is on loan from Apple.)
- Apple Space Gray Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad keyboard.
- Logitech MX Master 2s wireless mouse.
- Nomad leather mousepad.
- XP-Pen StarG640 6×4 Inch photo editing tablet.
- M-Audio Fast Track Audio USB interface – this is about 15 years old, and it still works well. I can’t find it on their website, so I assume they don’t make it anymore.
- Shure SM58-CN Cardioid Dynamic Vocal Microphone for recording my podcasts.
- Focal Clear Headphones.
- Schiit Jotunheim Headphone Amplifier.
- Sandisk 1 TB SSD drive to keep all my photos.
- Western Digital 6 TB drive which I use as a local backup for my iMac Pro and it is also backed on my Backblaze.
- Smythson Pen holder. (It was a gift from a very special person, so I have to see it every day.)
- My collection of pens I use almost daily.
- Muji coasters for placing my cups of coffee and other drinks. (I bought these in Japan in 2015, and they aren’t available in the US store at present.)
- Coffee mug (It is different depending on the day.)
- DRAM herbal sparkling water to keep me hydrated during the afternoon. It is my daily reward for not checking Twitter for eight hours at a stretch.
Yesterday was the first day of standing and work. I could feel way less pain in my shoulders, though I also realized pretty quickly that standing and working is going to be hard. I need to build up physical strength to be standing for hours at a time. But this is the start of something new, and that is something to be excited about.
April 14, 2020. San Francisco