W
ho wouldn’t love to find the best way to get things done in the most productive and efficient way, make the boring tasks interesting enough (or at least less boring), cross all those items off the list and end the days without back pain and tight shoulders?

There are millions of tips and tricks around the internet that promise all this and even more. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by all the suggestions on productivity, efficiency, planning, scheduling and so on that I go the other route and just stop listening. And how do they know what will work for me?

This year, I have some many projects and plans that working on improving my productivity has become crucial. I want to do more with less effort, and also keep having passion in what I do. I always set big goals for myself, I am sure you do it too!

Are you ready to try something new and unusual to shake your routine a bit?

 

Since Monday, I am trying this: I am working standing up. Yes, on my feet, without a chair or a bar stool or anything. Well, I have my bed right behind me if I get tired, I just have to fall on it, but it didn’t happen yet.

You see, I run a 10.5 km race on Sunday, it was amazing, but my back didn’t like it. The idea of sitting on a chair to work at my computer was too much to bear. So I decided I was just not going to sit in a chair at all, and I started looking around my house to see if I could spot the right place to put my laptop on, and I realized my grandfather’s chest of drawers in our bedroom is exactly at the right height.

In the past I tried working standing up for the same reasons – back pain and a terribly wrong posture that apparently I am not able to fix – by putting books on the kitchen counter to elevate it at the right height. It worked: I had less back complaints, and I didn’t feel so rigid at the end of the day.

I also discovered something very interesting in the process: I am more productive and more creative when I work on my feet. This was not the reason I first tried this, but it came as a very welcomed bonus!

Why do I feel more active and productive while standing? There is probably a very scientific explanation, like blood flowing better to the brain, a different way to breath. For sure my posture is improved, because standing up forces my body out of the classical hunched and contorted position I assume when I sit on my office chair.

My idea is that, being a very active, nervous kind of person, standing up makes me feel more “in motion”, and the slight discomfort makes my brain work faster. I don’t feel trapped in a chair or office, so work doesn’t look so much like… Work. Well, some tasks are still boring, and my list is still long as usual, but I guess some psychological tricks can help in that too.

I also realized than when I choose to take a break and sit down (I have a real office upstairs!), my posture is not so horrible as usual, and I keep some of the benefits of standing up. And I don’t feel so trapped in my chair, because I know I can just change position if I want to.

Bonus: If you have a toddler at home (like I do) they will not be able to reach your workstation and send erratic messages on Facebook on your behalf. Great, right?

Stand up and see if it works for you!

Just make sure to:

    • SET UP your standing workstation in the right way! You don’t really need a dedicated standing workstation, especially if you are still figuring out if this works for you. Just find a surface at the proper height or elevate your laptop with a stack of books. Make sure your arms rest close to your body at a 90 degrees angle, the screen is in front of you at eye level,
    • CHECK your posture: Point your toes forward, and feel your feet firmly to the ground. Be careful not to jut your hips forward, put your weight on one hip or lean over the table.
    • KEEP your body engaged: Do some stretches, swift the weight from one feet to the other for a change, take a walk around, roll your shoulders.
    • GO for a walk. You are already up, so it will come more natural to move around, and use this opportunity to have a short walk every hour or so.
    • TAKE breaks and sit down. Standing for many hours can be taxing on your body, so it is ok to change position and rest.

 

Written by Eleonora Spagnuolo