How to Create an Affordable Lay-Down Desk

October 05, 2020

This will be a short, snappy post which I might add more to later. Course builders need a good ergonomic workstation, since course creation tends to involve a lot of work on a computer.

Being a professional who works on a computer a lot is hell on your neck and back.

For me personally, combining this profession with a history of grappling martial arts has led to plenty of experimentation with different workstations amidst general neck/back misery.

Contrary to what you may have seen, you do not have to shell out thousands of dollars for something like "The Scorpian Chair"

scorpian desk

Instead, a great system I have found is to alternate a standing desk with a mini-projector to create a "lay-down desk". In the image below at the top, you can see the projector displaying on the ceiling directly above me laying down. lying_down_setup

Materials and costs:

  1. A mini projector (note I just place it above my head). I've got the ViewSonic M1 portable which costs ~$300 and comes with a nice mini-stand. I'd recommend spending maybe another hundred bucks to get a slightly crisper image as small text is ever-so-slightly blurry.
  2. A yoga mat
  3. A wireless keyboard/mouse (or you can connect with a cable)
  4. A cable (VGA/HDMI)

All in you're looking at ~$500. My typical workflow is about 80% of the day at the standing desk, with 20% lying down (usually for deep work). It's comfortable enough to work for 3-4 hour stretches just fine. On days when my neck hurts a lot, I might do 50-50.

I suppose you could get fancier with the keyboard / tilting, but honestly I've never found it a problem. You do need to dim the lights a bit to be able to see the display on the ceiling. It takes a minute to switch between laying down and standing.

Hope it helps others who have been wondering how to afford this on a budget!

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