Yesterday I spent my whole working hours trying to write an “epic” ebook for my blog to offer in exchange for people’s email addresses. But it seems that my draft should at best be considered a “pastoral lyric” 🙂
Now that I’m looking at it, I realize that I no longer agree with everything I came up with, so I decided to scrape half of the draft and rewrite it. Such an unfortunate decision!
The point is I feel that I have a knack for wasting my working hours while being distracted from the main focus or being in a state of torpor.
One moment I’m unbelievably productive and the other I find myself lost in some kind of memory or negative emotion, or reading a blog post that is no way near my assigned topic.
To cope with this, I either should make my days longer (by sleeping less), or I should spend my whole day writing blog posts. Another way is to get back to my teaching job which is the option I would typically avoid at any cost.
Until I decided to work while standing:
But here we go. I had read about working while standing in a blog post and in fact I have done it a few times but it had never occurred to me to make it a work habit to boost my productivity. The idea seemed ridiculous to me. The obvious downside was “how could I focus on my job with all the pressure on my back and legs?”
Last night I accidentally bumped into (really bumped into with a loud crashing sound) a LinkedIn post explaining what happened to the author after one year of using a standing desk, and I immediately got inspired to do some research, maybe write a blog post about it and seriously start doing it.
My mind won’t be able to get distracted by negative thoughts:
When I work while standing, my mind has only two choices: it could either focus on the work in hand or it could go through the pain of focusing on the pressure on my legs. Hopefully it goes with the first choice.
My mind won’t be able to focus on negative thoughts or be distracted by irrelevant memories because it’s focusing on standing.
This helps me have a more productive day since I tend to get distracted by all kinds of negative thoughts and get emotionally unstable when I sit idle, or conversely, struggle to solve a puzzle (e.g. write), for a long time (and who doesn’t have problems in life?)
When I’m standing, my mind is focused on feeling it because it’s probably more important than some worthless negative thoughts. What I do is to resist the urge to sit (not when I feel exhausted — I don’t push myself), and intentionally try to focus on the task in hand. And guess what? I can stay focused for a longer time.
I agree that this method does not give you a 100% focus, but it’s at least better than being frequently distracted and losing your entire focus. It’s a great method to jumpstart your thoughts.
You know what I mean if you’re a “knowledge worker”. When your job is thinking and coming up with ideas, you can entirely lose your work day if you get distracted by negative thoughts or emotions.
And so I say if you have a better method to stay focused give it a try.
You can try giving yourself breaks, or you can listen to music — your call, but for me thinking that a break is awaiting me distracts my thoughts. Plus when you really get focused on a task you won’t need breaks — the problem is getting focused in the first place.
What do they say about using standing desks? Pros and Cons
There has been quite a buzz about using standing desks and their pros and cons. You must know that standing up for a real long time causes various health problems including varicose veins, Carotid atherosclerosis, and joint compression.
But if you change your posture from time to time to relax some tense muscles, have breaks from standing, and stand only half of your work hours, there are some great benefits including weight loss (if you resist your body’s desire to compensate for the lost calories by eating more), reduction of the risk of heart diseases and other health related issues, back pain reduction, feeling energized, and getting stronger leg muscles (I’m fond of the the last one) 🙂
Research on work productivity in this issue is not consistent, with both sides claiming to have done a sound empirical study. CNN cites a study reporting a “whopping 45%” increase in work productivity for the employees of a call center for a pharmaceutical company over a six-month period.
CNN then cites other researchers claiming that the results of the previous research is only good for some individual who wants to “sell [standing desks] to an employer”, concluding that the relative boost in productivity depends on the type of task expected to be performed by the employees.
It makes sense to me that many of the positive reviews (or studies) on standing desks are in fact done to convince people to buy more products. Probably the control factors are not well considered.
Bear in mind: change your position to relax your tense muscles, and sit nearly as much as you stand to reap the good benefits of working while standing.