For last few weeks I’ve been wanting a standing desk. What is that, you ask? It’s literally a desk tall enough for a person to stand and work rather than sitting all day. So, last week I visited a few furniture stores and office furniture stores looking to price a standing desk. I found two of them at IKEA priced at $630 and $450. I was really hoping to get one in the $250 to $300 range. So I decided to build my own. Along the way, I learned a few things about planning I’d like to share.
Get a plan.
Look, I’m not a carpenter but I happen to own a circular saw and a drill. All I needed was materials and a plan. After examining the desks at the store closer, I at least got an idea of how to construct the desk. I was thinking maybe some 2 X 4’s and a wooden board would do it. The last thing I wanted to do was reinvent the wheel. I didn’t know exactly what I was doing but the manufacturer of the desk at the store did. So I followed their pattern just as Moses followed the pattern God gave him for the tabernacle.
“who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”” Hebrews 8:5 NKJV
When you’re the leader, people often look to you for direction and answers. In some cases, they expect you to be the subject matter expert on everything concerning your ministry or business. But let’s be honest, just because you know about something doesn’t mean you know it intimately. There are plenty of people around us doing what we want to do on a high level. Admit what you don’t know, look at their pattern, go ask them questions, and develop a plan. Eat the meat, spit out the bones you don’t need, take the ideas, tweak them, and use them.
Be prepared to plan again.
“We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.” Proverbs 16:1 NLT
My plan for acquiring the materials was to get some scraps of culled wood from Home Depot. Each day, imperfect or warped building materials are marked and set aside on a cart at the back of the store. Those pieces are sold at 70% off. When I reached the cart, I found several pieces of wood that didn’t exactly fit my plan, but had the potential to help me reach my goal.
For example, I was able to acquire 1 and a half 2 X 4’s instead of 4. After measuring the wood, I was able to adjust my plan to make the desk with 3 legs, instead of 4. I also had to do some interesting math calculations to make angular cuts so the frame of the desk would fit together. Things don’t always turn out the way we plan. That’s why leaders need to be flexible enough to revisit their plan at each new challenge.
Plan with people in mind.
It took two days for me to complete the desk. I was tired, sore, and covered in saw dust but I wasn’t alone. My plan affected everyone in the house. My wife, Melissa, was my support team. She helped me make initial decisions, made sure I was resources with food, water, and back rubs. My daughter, Faith, helped keep my work space clean and organized, while reminding me to put safety first. My cat, Robin, ran from the sound of the saw which encouraged me to plan well enough to reduce cuts. I measured twice and cut once.
Leaders lead people not programs. If you’re not making your team better, if you’re not developing the people around you, then you’re not a real leader. You’re no different than a line leader in a grade school classroom. You’re just at the front because it was your turn. The teacher is the true leader while you’re just holding a spot.
At the end of the day, our plans are not successful unless everyone involved is made better. Every step of the way was an opportunity to teach important concepts, build relationships, and make memories with my family. For example, Faith learned how to use the saw and drill, and ended up with enough scraps to make a project of her own.
So here it is. My homemade, three legged, scrap constructed, standing desk! It cost me a whopping $12 but the blessings I received in the process were priceless.