By now, you don’t need to be told about the dangers of prolonged sitting to your health and wellness, so I’ll just get right to it! Getting a standing desk is great, in fact, our business depends on it, but you’ve got to use your standing desk to recognize the benefits.
While no precise science tells us how many hours we should be standing, there does seem to be some agreement that the average person should be able to stand 2 hours during an 8 hour work day.
That can be easier said than done. Good habits are hard to maintain. Charles Duhigg’s points out in his classic book, Power of Habit, that leveraging triggers or cues associated with a keystone habit is a fundamental component in making a habit stick.
We’ll cover two types of cues you can use to help you make your standing work habit stick:
- technology triggers
- activity triggers.
There’s no shortage of apps, fitness trackers, available to remind you to stand at different intervals and some will even integrate with health trackers like Apple Health. While it may seem rather basic, reminders or prompts can be useful when you are making the transition to standing work and want to set interval reminders and daily goals.
The Stand Up! The Work Break Timer app is one of the simplest tools that allows you to set your reminder interval to any five-minute increment between five minutes and two hours.
The VARIDESK app is another well-designed app. It works like the Stand Up! app but has some added functionality like calories burned calculations and progress reporting.
I must admit I’m rather excited about the Standland app, Apple’s 2016 iPhone app of the year in Japan. This app is an activity tracker with a beautifully designed achievement game that encourages you to send more to unlock super cute creatures in 5 different 3D lands. Simplicity is usually my preference, but it’s difficult to beat cute!
Standland also tracks your summary weekly and monthly progress for free and offers more detailed tracking for $1.99. I like that it integrates with Apple Health and Apple Watch.
Activity triggers are what I call the cues that remind me to take a standing break. I prefer these to technology triggers because they occur more naturally as part of my workflow. It may take a bit of trial and error to determine the best activity triggers for your workflow, but here a few that work for my partners and me at X-Stand™ Nation:
- Conference Calls or Telephone Calls: Calls are great opportunities to get in some standing or walking time. It’s an easy way to get in some steps, and it seems to help me with focus.
- Post Lunch: After lunch is the perfect time to try to work in 30 minutes to an hour of standing work and it may even help with digestion. 🙂
- Mid-morning inbox management: I’m faster and more engaged answering emails while I stand, which makes it the perfect standing opportunity.
- Web research: Everyone is different, but I find that research is the type of work that lends itself to standing.
- Writing: I’ve learned that writing is an excellent standing work opportunity for me. Not outlining or editing, but the rough, first draft writing is great standing work. Again, standing helps me focus, and I seem to work faster.
These are just a few idea starters to get you thinking about what might work for you. The key is discovering a few cues, whether they are technology-based reminders or activity triggers that encourage you to stand up and get moving on a consistent basis.
Give us a shout and let us know what cues or triggers you’ve found helpful. We’d love to hear from you!