6 Things I Learned After Switching to a Standing Desk This Entrepreneur contributor sleeps better, gets more done and has said adieu to back pain.
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One of my biggest goals for 2016, outside of growing my company, involves improving my health. Rather than wait until New Year's to make an official resolution, I've started early: As part of my personal fitness journey, which includes a strict diet and workout schedule, I 've purchased a new standing desk.
I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical at first -- I had many questions and concerns. Would I be as productive standing as I worked? Could I comfortably do my daily tasks on my feet?
But now, the results are in. And, in short, I'll never go back to a regular desk. Here are six things I've learned since switching to a standing desk.
1. I stand for the major portion of my workday -- I rarely sit.
I ordered a programmable controller, assuming I'd switch off among multiple desk positions throughout the day. This hasn't been the case at all. My desk remains in the standing position 95 percent of the time, which is much more than I anticipated. I was aiming for a 50/50 split, but standing while I work has become much more comfortable than I thought it would be.
2. I'm more productive while standing.
When I'm standing, everything is more accessible -- from grabbing something here in my office to running over to the main floor for something. The time I've saved by eliminating the thought process (Do I really want to get up out of my chair right now?), and eliminating the act of getting up, then settling back down, is noticeable.
When you're sitting down, it's easy to get distracted and preoccupied. I've found that when I stand, I'm constantly attacking tasks without taking a "zone out" break.
3. My back pain has decreased significantly.
I was suffering from some serious back pain, which I attributed to sitting all day. Working out every morning has definitely helped my back, but on top of that, almost entirely eliminating the sitting I did during the day has played a big roll in reducing my back pain.
I'm confident that my back pain will completely disappear if I stay on track at the gym and sit as little as possible while working. I used to regularly pop a couple of Advil before attempting to sleep because of the pain -- and that's something I haven't had to do in weeks.
4. My feet started killing me -- until I got a standing mat.
My feet started to kill me after the first few days of standing all day. I wasn't used to being on my feet all day, and it was taking its toll on me. I started using a standing mat and I haven't had a problem since. A lot of the standing-desk companies sell these mats, but their price is greatly inflated. If you Google "anti-fatigue mat," you can find several suitable options for under $25.
5. Standing all day helps me to sleep like a baby at night.
Being on your feet all day takes more energy than sitting at your desk, and you will feel this at night. Add in a daily gym session, and you'll have the recipe for a great uninterrupted sleep at night. I used to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, and that would eventually prompt me to grab my phone, which in turn left me to surf social media out of complete boredom.
This practice definitely impacted my rest negatively. But after standing all day, when sleep time arrives, I'm out as soon as my head hits the pillow -- and I get uninterrupted rest until my alarm wakes me.
6. A standing desk is worth every penny.
A lot of people are on the fence due to the price -- most of the top models cost over $1,000 once you factor-in a larger desktop surface and some must-have upgrade options. But a standing desk is an investment, in both your productivity and health, that is worth every penny.
With proper care, a standing desk should last a long time, but let's assume I put it through the ringer and completely beat the stuffing out of it, and it lasted only three years: The cost of ownership would still be less than $1 a day. That's a small price to pay, considering the benefits.