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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 August 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind.

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

    2. Keep certain days clear.

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work.

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time.

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position.

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    7. Don’t try to do too much.

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan.

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first.

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work.

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour.

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    14. Never stop.

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body.

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods.

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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