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Standing: The One Simple Trick That Can Double Your Productivity

Standing: The One Simple Trick That Can Double Your Productivity
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    A subject of great interest to most of us is productivity. We want to be more productive, and we’re willing to do anything to achieve this, yet we spend a major part of our lifetime doing something that makes us less productive while at the same time posing the risk of reducing our lifespan. Unfortunately, this particular thing is so common these days that a lot of us now see it as something normal.

    It is called sitting.

    While sitting isn’t a totally bad idea, spending the larger part of our day doing it can damage our productivity significantly.

    Unfortunately, in the digital age we are today, we now spend more time sitting than ever before; the average human being spends around 9 hours sitting every day, when sitting down for just 6 hours a day increases your risk of dying in the next 15 years 40% higher than that of someone sitting for just 3 hours a day.

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    The bad news is, this also crushes our productivity; and while some of us might not be that concerned about living for 100 years, what’s the point of living for a thousand years if you can’t achieve anything significant?

    Start Using a “Standing Desk”

    Since sitting can be a huge productivity killer, what kind of solution can there be to something so fundamental that it is a part of human nature?

    Well, there is standing. And there are desks that make it easy to work with a standing desk.

    It wouldn’t be easy at first, especially when you’ve spent the larger part of your life sitting than standing, but this article will be showing you a few benefits of standing while working, and how to get the best from it.

    Standing while working has a few advantages that makes it more productive when compared to just sitting, and here are some advantages to why you should stand while working from now on instead of sitting.

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    1. It constitutes to a little bit of pain.

    Comfort can make it difficult for us to produce, but pain makes us concentrate.

    Standing for prolonged hours constitutes pain and only leaves us with one thought: “how to quickly finish what we’re doing so we can go back to sitting down”. Unfortunately, this is the natural way of things, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

    Success isn’t possible without struggles, and productivity is hardly possible in a comfortable environment. The key to productivity is to challenge yourself, leave your comfort zone, and introduce more pain; standing does all that, while sitting is the direct opposite of these things.

    2. Unlike sitting, standing is associated with work.

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    The world we now live in is more about perception, instead of reality, which is why productivity is more of a psychological process than physical.

    Creating is a mental process, and this means you have to be in the right frame of mind to create. Unfortunately, sitting is mostly associated with rest and relaxation thereby making it less productive for work when compared to standing; for example, we spend a huge part of our time watching TV, playing games, and chatting with ourselves; the reality about this is that we do all these things while sitting, while the majority of the activities that can be classified as “real work” are done standing.

    3. Standing while working is actually healthier than sitting

    Health is wealth, and no matter your desire and mental preparation for getting things done, nothing is possible if you’re not healthy enough to do what needs to be done.

    Sitting for prolonged hours has its health dangers, but very few people are aware of this. Some major health dangers to sitting that can be eliminated by standing are:

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    • Death: The reality is that sitting for 6+ hours a day will increase your likelihood of dying within 15 years when compared to someone who only sits for 3 hours a day, by 40%.
    • Obesity: Obesity is a great enemy of productivity, and the more obese you become the less you feel like working. Research has shown that obese people sit for 2.5 more hours a day compared to their thin counterparts.
    • Diseases: Research has also shown that those who sit for 3 or more hours a day watching TV are 64% more likely to die from heart diseases. People with sitting jobs have also been observed to have twice the cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs.

    What’s more? Research has also shown that exercise is nearly ineffective for those who spend a large portion of their day sitting, even if they exercise for an hour a day.

    All the stats quoted above can be found here and here.

    How to Get the Best from Standing While Working

    Now that we’ve seen how critically important standing while working is, it is important that we also realize that there are things we should do to maximize our productivity.

    There is a huge difference between being productive and abusing your body. Here’s a couple of tips to help you get the best from standing while working:

    1. Create a resting interval.  Don’t just work for prolonged hours on your feet without taking any measures. Make sure you segment your work into various periods, and take a break every hour or so of standing. A 10 – 20 minutes break per hour can go a long way to enhance your productivity, so make sure you don’t exhaust yourself by working while standing for prolonged hours.
    2. Alternate sitting with standing. Know when to stand and when to sit. If you think you need to get a lot of work done for a particular day, and that you will probably be working for a very long time, make sure you sit for a few minutes as a way to rest your brain. Standing for way too long can increase your chances of having back pain, so make sure you alternate it with sitting every once in a while.

    This is especially important if you’re just getting starting with using a standing desk.

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    (Photo credit: Two People Standing via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 21, 2021

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to Make a Reminder Works for You

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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