About software development and trail running.

Standing Desk Challenge: Week Four

The final week of my participation in the 28-day stand up and work challenge has come and gone. Overall it was a great success.

Observations: week four

Day 16, 192 minutes. To ensure that each day’s goal is met this week, I am committing to a schedule of standing three times each day. Last week, I missed the target on a couple of days by losing track of time.

Day 17, 204 minutes. I wasn’t much aware of bad posture or discomfort from sitting all day long until getting a standing desk. Now, with less sedentary behavior and better awareness and posture, this is the first week where seated periods are truly comfortable, with no more restlessness or discomfort.

Day 18, 216 minutes. Going to want a USB hub to make it easier to move between stations and switch between Windows and Mac machines.

Day 19, 228 minutes. Most standing periods end sooner than I would like them to. After this week, without a schedule to keep, I could probably stand five or six hours per day.

Day 20, 240 minutes. Four hours today was easier and felt more natural than any shorter attempts made just a month ago.

How to get started standing

Start now. The cost of a fancy desk or the prospect of reconfiguring your workday can fuel procrastination: there is always more research and planning to do. Instead, just start standing now—today even. All you need to try it out is a makeshift desk or repurposed surface at approximately the right height. Be creative; there are plenty of DIY standing desk designs out there, from stacks of office sundries to IKEA hacks to permanent retractable wall installations. If you can’t find a convenient way to set up a suitable desk, try standing when you don’t need a desk surface, such as during meetings or phone calls.

Start small. I am convinced that the incremental approach allows for time to build, refine, and experiment with configurations, techniques, schedules, etc. With small, immediate successes, you will look forward to a bigger challenge each day.

Use observation and feedback to refine your equipment and posture. Keep a journal. Observe your changes and adaptations. Become aware of bad habits and then watch them disappear over time. Your posture, comfort level, and stamina will improve gradually over a period of weeks, so adjust accordingly. Discuss your setup and experiences with colleagues, or write a blog. If it’s helpful for you, try tools such as Standing Clock to track progress.

Think beyond your footprint. Once you start to enjoy standing at work, look for ways to improve your comfort and posture during seated periods. For me it was as simple as mixing up sitting and standing times sufficiently as to not get restless when seated. Seek ways to replace sedentary behavior at home with more standing or moving. Consider installing a treadmill (or even a stationary bike) at your standing desk.

Good luck with your standing experiment.