I Paid a Small Fortune for What May Be My Best Desk Chair Ever. Here’s How I Like It.
If they ever make a documentary about me stalking my new ALL33 desk chair, I hope they get Sir David Attenborough to do the narration.
NARRATOR: Tonight, on NOVA: As daylight breaks, we catch our first glimpse of her. Massive mug full of coffee, see her approach her perch. There she will spend the next eight to ten hours, leaving only to move laundry, feed chickens, or sweep dog hair from the hallway. When she does stir, if we watch closely, we will see her rub the tension from her lower back and roll her shoulders to ease soreness and try to reestablish blood circulation. Enter the hidden world of a writer with a bad chair.
NARRATOR: Our writer friend has stumbled onto an advertisement for a chair that looks only slightly similar to those she has seen before. See as her eyebrow sinks into concave formation as she clicks the link to learn more? This is… her concentration face.
Now, if we watch carefully, cautious not to spook her, we can see her reading the details about this chair. Ahh, there it is. Did you catch her lip curling up with the hint of a smile? It only lasted a moment before her eyebrows shifted into an elevated convex shape, shooting halfway up her forehead.
Clearly, she saw the price.
Major funding for this blog post comes from the Day Job Foundation, a regular contributor to the writer’s care and upkeep.
This program is also funded, in part, by her own writing firm, which has a long history of feeding her and her brood.
And by readers like you, who, should they purchase anything through any affiliate links on this website, will send a few bucks her way - at no additional cost to you, by the way.
Why On Earth Spend So Much on an Office Chair?
When I first started seeing ads for the ALL33 chair, the company was doing some crowdfunding. So, there was a video, a bunch of info, and the opportunity to buy at a discount - assuming they hit their funding goal. The ad, if I remember right, proclaimed that this was a chair like no other. Completely redesigned to correct for bad posture, and built to cradle your backside for “active” sitting, it definitely looked different. But even then, the price seemed steep (guessing it was like $350?).
So, I shelved the idea and went back to work in the worn-out roller chair I’d gotten from Amazon a few years ago. It was black. It had wheels. Nothing distinguishing at all - unless you count the fact that the arm pads had started disintegrating.
Prior to the most boring office chair in the world, I’d experimented with an exercise ball. It gave me happy flashbacks to playing on a Hippity-Hop. (What color was yours? I remember having a red one.) The issue with that was the level of concentration needed to stay ON the exercise ball. It wasn’t like doing brain surgery, but it did require more attention than I’d like to invest in merely avoiding falling on my butt in the middle of a Zoom call.
How Well Do You Think on Your Feet?
“She who sits most dies first.” That warning hit home when I first heard it. Even though I make the effort to get up and move around during the day, it’s not enough. As a writer, I work best when I enter a flow state of deep concentration.
Picky. That’s probably the best descriptor for me while I arrange my environment. If you’re less charitable, you might call me obsessive instead. That’s okay. In my experience, when I can get into this sublime state of pure flow, the words just drop from heaven into my mind, resting there only long enough for me to tap them into the keyboard. The writing is fast. It’s pure. It’s more aligned with whatever message a piece is meant to convey. The alternative scenario involves something like wrassling. You know, like some crazy guy rolling around in the mud with an alligator, hoping for the best.
My ability to manage my environment is a huge determinant of productivity in my writing day. Every sensory input matters. Not too hot or too cold. Not too bright or dark. Either silence or the right kind of music (typically no lyrics - although I’ve found the trip hop genre to be amazingly conducive to flow).
But getting into the flow state has a dark side, one involving my backside. If I can get into the groove, it’s nothing for me to write for hours on end. Well, at least until someone walks into the space - or if a dog nudges me for pets.
So it made sense for me to try a standing desk. As a teen, I worked at a bakery, spending the whole shift on my feet. But while I can walk for miles without a complaint, standing in one spot has never been comfortable for me.
I was skeptical from Day One. So, my sweet hubby set me up with a workspace on the high counter in our kitchen as a test. If I liked it, it would make sense to buy a legit standup desk.
That was a hard “no.” Not only was it hard for me to get into any sort of creative flow, but my back, legs, and feet hurt. Productivity plummeted because I kept walking around instead of focusing on my work.
The Treadmill Desk
The standing desk debacle gave me an idea, though. If walking worked better than standing, maybe I could work on a treadmill at the gym. All I’d need is a desk surface that stretched between the arms of the treadmill. Sweet hubby had just the answer. He made me a lightweight but sturdy aluminum desk.
It looked like a guillotine. There were lots of questions. I felt a little weird. But once I set it up and set the treadmill to a pace of about 2 mph, I could work and walk at the same time. Sort of.
Actual writing was tough. It was hard to enter the flow state while also trying not to fall off the treadmill and break myself. I could do planning, project management, and invoicing. But it wasn’t ideal.
So, Back to the ALL33 Chair
I’d back burnered the hunt for a better office chair, and that’s when I started getting ads for this crazy contraption again. The list price is $800.
All I could think about was the “Will & Grace” episode where they run all over Manhattan chasing down a Herman Miller Aeron chair. (By the way, the only episode I ever saw.) Who pays that kind of money for an office chair? It just seemed extravagant and pretentious.
But I had a bit of an internal debate. Then an awakening. That led to a transformation… and a purchase.
Once You Go Mac...
Several years back, I switched from PC to Mac. I’d been replacing my PC laptops every couple of years. They’d get full - or full of malware. It was annoying. Plus, they were heavy, which kind of put the kibosh on the idea of “working from anywhere.” Macbook Pros ran about $1200 for a base model, easily three times more costly than the PC laptops I bought. But boy, was it worth it. The transition was easy. All my tech works together, making transferring from iphone to ipad to laptop a breeze.
Soon, the idea of getting an iMac desktop seemed like a good idea. A decade into my writing business, I finally had an office and a desk rather than working from the blue La-Z-Boy I’d commandeered back in 2005. (It’s seen much, much better days - but nobody’s got the heart to put it out by the curb.)
This upgrade set a precedent. As a work tool, it made perfect sense to get the best I could afford. The increase in productivity meant the computers more than paid for themselves in the first year.
Surely, the same would hold true for a good desk chair.
Still Practicing an Abundance Mindset
Throughout my early adult life, we were broke. I was married to a pastor who only hit his earnings stride a couple of years before we divorced. We’d scraped by until I started my writing business, which loosened our budget a little. But there were years when he was trying to launch a new venture and not making more than a hundred bucks a week or so. There were years we qualified for free school lunches. There was also a bankruptcy due to my failed go at real estate investing. After leaving my first marriage, things got even tighter. The IRS was also a constant companion, thanks to the turnaround year we’d had in 2011. (It took me nearly eight years to pay that tax bill, but I finally did it!)
Scraping by was the norm. I got pretty good at it, too.
But I knew better. There is no fixed amount of pie out there in the world. It’s not a zero-sum game where if I have a slice, that means someone goes without. Instead, for every slice I take, I can create a whole new pie to share with others. (Shoutout to T. Harv Eker whose book nudged a radical transformation in my mindset here.)
Investing in the best tools I could afford meant investing in my productivity. Could it be that my own health is one of the most crucial tools of all?
Life Or Death? Do I REALLY Need the Best Desk Chair?
I’d recently spent time with some folks experiencing significant mobility issues due to age and poor self-care. Watching them struggle to move well was hard. All I’d really seen was my parents, who are super-active and completely mobile. My dad, at 76, still goes to the gym about five days a week. He can do so many unassisted pull ups that he sometimes draws a crowd. THAT is the kind of mobility I want to enjoy until they put me in the ground.
This chair was more than a frivolous splurge. Mobility and self-care was more than a weak justification for overspending. If this ALL33 chair was all it was cracked up to be, it could be one of the best purchases ever.
So, I Did It
They’ve got a guarantee, which is such a smart marketing tactic. Knowing that either I’d love this chair or be able to send it back for a full refund made it a lot less risky.
They also had a little sale going on when I bought. (If I’d known someone who had one, I could have used their link to get a discount, too. Now I have a link like that - and you can use it to get $75 off if you want one.)
Shipping is included, so that’s good because it’s a pretty big box.
I came home from a work trip and saw the box out at the curb. That meant one thing: My sweet hubby had assembled it for me!
Here’s the Scoop (and the scoop is the seat!)
It looks great. Just a little different from a standard office chair, if you don’t look closely. But when you do look closer, you see that the sitting surface is different. It reminds me of a saddle. It articulates, shifting to support you no matter how you sit. The lumbar support is practically angelic. The back allows for rocking or just tipping backward. The arms fold up so you can scoot into your work surface without obstruction. The wheels are as smooth as a good Target cart. I got the cloth version instead of the leather or faux leather - mostly because I like my butt to stay where I plant it rather than sliding, which seems to be a thing with leather seats.
The first few days of working in the chair were blissful. I felt zero fatigue from sitting. For some reason, I also felt so much more energized that I got up more often to putter. Nice.
The next few days felt a little sore. Kind of like when you go to the gym after a hiatus. Even if you take it easy, your muscles gripe about having to work. That’s how it was. Mostly it was my tailbone and mid back complaining. They stopped kvetching within a day or two, accepting that this was the new normal for sitting.
Now, I Don’t Want to Leave Home… Ever!
I’m a homebody anyway. First, of course, there’s the fact that my sweet hubby is there! Also, got to acknowledge the dogs and other animals. This is my home.
The daily routines I’ve created are so soothing and energizing for me. The environment is just what I want. Days just flow as I do work I love and spend my non-working hours with my mate.
And that chair? I actually miss it when I’m working away from home. After all, it is by far the best desk chair my butt has ever sat upon.
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