Stand & Deliver

My feet hurt—but I’ve been incredibly productive. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to make.

I’ve been reading a lot about standing desks lately. Even saw one article about a desk-and-chair arrangement that lets you work while lying down. A little crazy, that one. But it got me thinking about the health benefits of standing more. So I’ve been testing the notion.

Fortunately, I have a niche in my office that’s the perfect height for my laptop. It’s not a permanent solution—I have to angle the machine, so I can’t look at it straight on—but it’s good enough for a test. I’ve also been using  FocusBooster. I set it for 45 minutes of work and 15 minutes of downtime. It helps me to set a timer. When I’m really engaged with what I’m doing, it reminds me to take the occasional break. And it keeps me honest on those rare occasions when I’m kind of, well, you know…bored, and what seems like an hour or two of work has actually only been ten minutes.

But I find nothing focuses my mind like standing on my feet. When I worked sitting down, I never thought twice about taking a quick break to check my email or troll the web. But standing, I have a purpose: I am working. If I want to sit down—well, that’s what breaks are for. Even though my work often requires me to research things on the web, I’m able to stay on task. Amazing.

So I’m gearing up to make the change permanent. I’ve ordered an anti-fatigue mat and I’ll be looking for a laptop stand I can raise and lower, so I can move out of my niche and back to my desk. I won’t be retiring my awesome chair any time soon, though. I figure I’ll use it when I need to spend time thinking…or, yes, daydreaming. I’m a creative person, that’s part of my process. And when those intense projects roll around—like the one last summer that had me working 90 hours in seven days—you can bet I’ll be sitting down more often than not.

But standing has given me a new perspective on my work, and I kind of like it.