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Standing: The One Simple Trick That Can Double Your Productivity

Standing: The One Simple Trick That Can Double Your Productivity

    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.

    (Photo credit: Two People Standing via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on March 25, 2020

    How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

    How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

    Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

    However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

    Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

    Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

    Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

    In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

    What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

    To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

    The Biology

    Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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    Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

    The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

    A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

    Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

    So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

    Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

    Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

    Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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    Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

    The Psychology

    Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

    Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

    Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

    Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

    What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

    Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

    Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

    1. Identify Your Habits

    As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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    2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

    Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

    It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

    3. Apply Logic

    You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

    Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

    4. Choose an Alternative

    As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

    Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

    5. Remove Triggers

    Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

    Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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    6. Visualize Change

    Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

    For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

    7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

    Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

    Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

    Final Thoughts

    Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

    Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

    More About Changing Habits

    Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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