What’s it like to work at a Standing Desk?

my modest standing desk – 15 minutes of effort to transform a drafting table

In a word, intentional. I’ve been reading a lot about the dangers of sitting for many hours a day and I took the time to watch a video by James Levine on moving around more. I also read an article that suggested that sitting may be deadly and thought, “what’s a small thing that I can do to test this theory and to get a little bit more exercise at the same time?” So I took my drafting table and raised it to 40″ height, added a few books to prop up my monitor, and started standing.

Here are a few things I’ve learned after Day 1 of using a Standing Desk – I’m recording them here to see how I feel after week 1 and month 1 of this process.

It’s Hard to Stand Up All Day

This standing up thing is much harder than I thought. Previously in environments when I’ve been standing, it’s been at a trade show or at an environment where I knew there was a definite endpoint, not just a goal to change my lifestyle and a habit that I’ve been in for … (gulp) decades. Today, I kept looking around for my chair and wondering when I would reach my hour mark so that I could take a 5-10 minute break on a chair.

I feel much more focused

It might just be because the other stimuli involved in staying upright and trying to focus are distracting me less, but I feel much more focused and able to power through what I’m doing and stay on task. This is a potentially neat side effect that I really didn’t consider when I thought about the general goals of standing to improve health and overall posture.

I’m looking forward to the next steps

I like how I feel after day 1. I’m sure that the next few days and weeks are going to be challenging as I get tired or fatigued and think of lots of reasons why I’d like to stop doing this. So here’s what I’m doing to help myself keep this habit:

  • Keeping a time clock – I’ll continue to keep an idea on time and take a walking or sitting break every 45-60 minutes, which is probably good for me anyway;
  • Staying focused on a single task for at least 15-30 minute blocks – staying on task and focusing on one type of work at a time is also a good habit that I’d like to keep and refine;
  • Acquiring a bar-style chair to make it easier to rest for longer periods of time if necessary.

A goal I’d like to have longer term once I’ve been doing this for a few weeks or months is to consider getting a low-speed treadmill like The Tread – I’m a little wary of buying one without having a way to try it out but it seems like a great compromise between hacking up a used treadmill and buying a “treadmill desk” which is neither great for computing nor for being a treadmill. I hope the standing continues to feel intentional, and am looking forward to what’s next.

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