About four months ago I ran back into the office after a meeting, as I do, with folders and computer in one arm, handbag and juice in the other, mobile phone pressed-to-ear… I was mentally trying to list and retain the required tasks this call was creating as… my hands were full. When I got back to my desk I carefully placed these new items on my to-do-list and exhaled deeply at the opportunity to be back, doing the ‘to-do’s’. My energy was high and I was eager to get cracking… and, at that moment, it just didn’t seem quite fitting to sit-down… to deflate into these 100 tasks, which demanded my full and focussed attention. I literally felt that if I sat, again, my body would not be aligned with the pace in which my mind required it to be at. I could not proceed with my physical body mis-matching my mind so blatantly. I felt that I needed to physically rise to the occasion of what I was mentally doing. So I immediately placed a new item #1 on the very top of my ‘to-do’ list, and actioned it immediately. “Build Stand Up Desk”.
I’d read some of the facts about “Sitting is killing you” which seemed totally extreme but… fascinating (i.e. sitting 6+ hours per day makes you up to 40% more likely to die within 15 years than someone who sits for 3 hours a day, even if you exercise).
I got a bunch of empty-boxes from around the office and set my monitor, keyboard and mouse into just the right placement so that I could kick my chair away and… truly get cracking. I was off and away and I loved it. It felt right, straight away… I knew it, my internal dialogue was like “OMG I can’t believe you didn’t do this ten years ago.” My body was in unison with the tasks being set out mentally. I had literally been feeling a little odd ‘sitting’ for the past ten years, and now I know why… I wasn’t supposed to have been.
The interest from colleagues was immediate. The majority of people actually noted they’d always wanted a stand-up desk. Who knew! It was only a matter of weeks before, one by one, almost half the people on my floor set-up their own make-shift stand up desks (and they’re still standing today, weeks and months later). The make-shift desk had a little draw back in that standing was the only option… if I got tired or a little sore in the back/legs from standing, I had to take a physical break to stretch or go sit down somewhere else for a moment. This actually turned out to be a good thing because it forced a little break from work, when I physically needed it. The recent good news is, our Chief Operating Officer walked past my make-shift-boxes-desk one day and, after noting it was more than a fad (since I’d been standing for months), he said the company would buy me a real one, as a trial for wider implementation across the company – and I was delivered a Veridesk that goes up and down as you need it to (it just sits on top of your existing desk). There are other options too.. but Veridesk seems good and you can get the ‘pro’ level for a relatively good price, under $400 (especially if your work will do a deal and buy a few at once).
I’ve always worked in roles where I’m out and about meeting people – off to this agency or that client, by foot, by car, by, taxi – and I just came to notice that my ‘up and about’ Self had more energy and vibe than my sitting Self, who seemed, well, boring and stagnant by comparison. Standing at my desk lets me be a little more ‘mindful’ of the connection between mind and body (something that’s very hard when you’re placing your full mind’s attention into the compute-machine) – it seems to work by allowing my body to respond to the nature of what’s happening with the mind… if things are picking up I can tap my foot or bounce a bit, If I’m on the phone I can be animated in my gestures or rock around, feeling my physical presence in connection to the mind. The first two weeks were a little hard because it was just different, but now I’m never turning back. My legs are stronger, I feel that I work faster and I generally have the ‘up and about’ vibe… because I’m literally, up and about 😉
It’s interesting there’s been a lot of coverage in stand up desks of late, seems to be a bit of a trend, check it out if you’re interested;
Why Exercise Won’t Counteract The Effects Of Sitting All Day, Mind Body Green
So… what next… maybe I’ll try the stand and surf at the desk, seems like this might be a good…. Step up.
Infographic that seems extreme…