Nick Byrd's standing desk, featuring The Level by FluidStance

Office Space: Desk Setup

[Update: A more recent desk setup: “Office Space: Sit-stand Workstation“]

An office can be a sanctuary for productivity. An important component of the santucary is the desk. I find that some desk setups are less distracting and more practical than others. In this post, I’ll mention a few things about my current desk setup.


Let’s start with the coolest and most exciting part of the desk. No. It’s not a hoverboard. But it is pretty cool. It’s The Level™ by FLUIDSTANCE®. There’s a lot to say about this, but I’ll try to keep it brief.


The Original Handmade Level by FluidStance -
The Original Handmade Level™ by FluidStance®


I’ve been using a standing desk for a while now and I often find that the area behind my knees aches after a full day of standing. Moving around while I’m standing can help, but I can only move so much on an immovable surface, ya know? So I’ve been looking for ways to move around at my standing desk. First, I looked into treadmill desks. They’re appealing, but they are pretty expensive, bulky, and they draw a lot of power. Then I found out about the The Level. The Level allows me to move around while I’m standing and it doesn’t have the drawbacks of a treadmill. Oh, and it’s fun to use. Really fun! Also, the preliminary data from my sleep app indicate that I sleep better on the days when I use The Level for 3+ hours compared to when I don’t, so that’s promising. (I’ll follow-up with a better statistical descriptions when there’s more data.)


Sometimes I stand at my desk and sometimes I sit. I When I am sitting, I use the ViewSonic LCD monitor as an external monitor. Mounted on the wall behind the desk is a SteelMaster Organizer. On the top shelf of the organizer I have a Dell LCD monitor. I extended the bottom shelf with a piece of plywood that protrudes over the desk to hold my laptop and my coffee tumbler. I use the other shelves in the organizer for papers.


Left to Right: SteelMaster Horizontal Origanizer, ViewSonic LCD Monitor, Dell LCD Monitor Image HTML map generator


And yeah, I know. It’s not a glorious workstation. I had to MacGyver the standing desk from leftovers in the department storage closet. Another department was kind enough to give me another old monitor after they remodeled some offices. What can I say? I’m a scavenger. I’m always on the lookout for ways to use redundant campus equipment, e.g., my last standing desk.


Got a redundant podium and a filing cabinet? Then you’ve got a standing desk. #recycle #gradSchool


I’ve had a few laptops and a tablet over the last 10 years. I’ve found that I strongly prefer Apple’s operating systems to Microsoft’s operating system. I also prefer smaller and lighter devices over larger and heavier devices; it makes travel and bike commuting a lot more tolerable. And when I’m traveling I find that I prefer screens that are no larger than a piece of paper. That leaves me with two options: an iPad or a small Macbook. I’ve tried iPads, but they just didn’t do everything I needed to do. The main problem is that iOS is miles away from OS X. So I went with the macbook air. It’s small, light, durable (no glass panel display), and powerful enough for my daily needs. Plus, I get 9-10 hours of battery life which is great when I’m traveling.





So that’s my desk. Sometimes I sit. Sometimes I stand. And when I stand I prefer to stand on The Level. My trusty workhorse is the macbook air accompanied by one of two computer monitors.



Thoughts about the steup? What is your desk setup like? Or if you’re undecided about a setup, what do you want out of a setup?Thoughts, pics, links, etc. are welcome in the comments.


† Here’s an example. First, some background. When I’m at my desk, my back is to the door. And the door is almost always open. When I am reading and writing, I often listen to music. And sometimes I find myself dancing to the music…with my back to the door…while the door is wide open. Once in awhile I catch myself and then turn around to find a couple of students laughing at me from the hallway.

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Nick Byrd

Nick is a cognitive scientist studying reasoning, wellbeing, and willpower. When he is not teaching, in the lab, writing, exercising, or relaxing, he is blogging at

4 thoughts on “Office Space: Desk Setup”

  1. Thanks for the review Nick! I’m glad you are enjoying the Level. We are big fans of the DIY standing work station. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    1. Howdy Tory! Thanks to you and the rest of the team for enhancing my office! It’s nice to have a few carefully-designed and hand-made products like yours in an otherwise jury-rigged work space. I wish you well!

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