Stand and work? Not as easy as it sounds

Does the standing desk live up to all the hype? n=1: The Self Experiment is on the case. Read how she’s faring in her pledge to remain on her feet all day.

EnosAll right, so I got the standing part of the “standing desk” down, but you know what the challenge is now? Standing and thinking at the same time.

I know, it sounds like the punchline for some insulting joke about blondes, but it’s true. Doing small tasks, such as filling out forms, looking up information online, or typing up meeting notes is completely doable, but creating anything from scratch becomes a challenge equal to or more difficult than figuring out string theory.

Maybe I still haven’t gotten over the novelty of the standing desk; when I work on documents, there is an almost-subconscious monologue constantly running through my head. This monologue goes something like this, “All right, all right, I’m feeling good. But I gotta be sure to watch my posture, because I’m STANDING. I should roll back my shoulders. Did I have to roll back my shoulders before when I was sitting? Doesn’t really matter, because now I’m STANDING. This squishy anti-fatigue mat really makes a difference in how I feel, now that I’m STANDING. I want to stretch my calves. It’s important for me to keep limber, since I’m STANDING.” And so on. Now I know what my daughter means when she tells me she can’t do her homework because she has a wiggly tooth.

How do I combat this challenge? By being a consummate professional? Nope! (Don’t tell my manager). Actually, what I did was just embrace how I was feeling, instead of denying that I need to switch legs, or stretch my calves, or roll my shoulders—I just did it, and went on to the next thing. Eventually (a short eventually, not an hours-later kind of eventually), the next thing became my marketing report.

About the Self Experiment: In scientific research, n=1 refers to a trial where there is only one test subject. Across the world, many people have taken this idea and applied it to running behavioral experiments on themselves. You might also see it listed as self-tracking or self-quantification (http://quantifiedself.com). Whatever the name, it’s about tracking your behaviors over time and seeing what happens when you make changes.

MeredithEnosMeredith Desha Enos is a Honolulu-based writer, mother, wife, and putterer. She enjoys gardening, aquaponics, and being active with her family. Meredith is into new and great ideas and adventures, and she works in online education at Kamehameha Schools. You probably know her from somewhere, or she’s friends with your cousin.

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