To Stand or Sit?

Hu
Hugh
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Thu May 29, 2014 8:30 am Post

Does anybody here stand up to write?

As the survivor of an - ahem - 'interesting' cardiac arrest fifteen months ago, I'm keen to know.

Yes, I've read about him*

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and I've seen devices such as this

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which appear to be becoming increasingly popular.

But is standing up to write just a fad, designed to sell more expensive desks or devices to go on them?

So does anybody here have experience of actually standing up to write for hours at a time? If you have such experience, do you find that it's healthier for you than sitting? And what do you use to give you the height at your desk?

I'd be very grateful indeed to hear any advice that anybody can give me.

*Plainly, he didn't always stand up to write:

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'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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vic-k
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Thu May 29, 2014 9:12 am Post

Hugh wrote:*Plainly, he didn't always stand up to write:
True, Comrade Hugh, true. He did a lot of scribbling in the boozer too :wink:
http://www.sooperarticles.com/business- ... 19697.html Standing up to write, or do whatever it is that you do sat at a desk, is akin to periodic strolls up and down the aisle on long haul flights... init? :? To be sat on y' arse all the time, ain't not good, bro. Y's need to get up and stretch 'em every so often. Even Leonardo walked away from the easle, now and again, and stood on his balcony, eying up the talent in the piazza below. :twisted:

There is tons of bumph on t'internet, concerning the ergonomics of it all: correct posture etc. You ain't supposed t' stand all t' time, either, that's as bad a sitting on y' arse all day.

Leaning on the bar, at y' local, don't count... sorry mate. :(
Hope this helps.
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Vic
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pigfender
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Thu May 29, 2014 10:06 am Post

Tammy of Scrivener iOS fame uses a standing desk. There's a link to an article she wrote about it in the LitnLat 8Qs interview if I remember correctly.
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Hu
Hugh
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Thu May 29, 2014 10:30 am Post

vic-k wrote:
Hugh wrote:*Plainly, he didn't always stand up to write:
True, Comrade Hugh, true. He did a lot of scribbling in the boozer too :wink:
http://www.sooperarticles.com/business- ... 19697.html Standing up to write, or do whatever it is that you do sat at a desk, is akin to periodic strolls up and down the aisle on long haul flights... init? :? To be sat on y' arse all the time, ain't not good, bro. Y's need to get up and stretch 'em every so often. Even Leonardo walked away from the easle, now and again, and stood on his balcony, eying up the talent in the piazza below. :twisted:

There is tons of bumph on t'internet, concerning the ergonomics of it all: correct posture etc. You ain't supposed t' stand all t' time, either, that's as bad a sitting on y' arse all day.

Leaning on the bar, at y' local, don't count... sorry mate. :(
Hope this helps.
Escritura feliz, mi amigo,
Vic


Thanks Vic.

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As Ernest advised: "Write drunk. Edit sober."
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

Hu
Hugh
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Thu May 29, 2014 10:33 am Post

pigfender wrote:Tammy of Scrivener iOS fame uses a standing desk. There's a link to an article she wrote about it in the LitnLat 8Qs interview if I remember correctly.


Thanks pf. Helpful piece by Tammy, and an interesting use for boxes of unsold copies of her book...

Edit: here, for those who are interested, is Tammy's original article: http://www.creativebloq.com/design-tool ... sk-3132201
Last edited by Hugh on Thu May 29, 2014 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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Siren
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Thu May 29, 2014 10:41 am Post

I tried this last year, when I started to worry abut the possibility of deep-vein thrombosis from spending both my working day and my leisure time curled up on the sofa. A former colleague developed a DVT from commuting on a train a few years ago, which made me question my own seating arrangements.

I use a laptop, so it was very awkward to arrange a standing setup. The screen needs to be at the right height (sort of straight-ahead) when standing if you wish to avoid neck problems, so I had to balance the laptop on a box. Then, of course, the keyboard was too high to use with any semblance of reasonableness, so I bought a wireless keyboard to place lower down at keyboard height.

I can't say the approach suited me, although this might be because (a) I am very lazy, and (b) I have arthritis in my toes and knees, which causes problems of its own when standing for long periods. There were other problems, too. I kept locking my knees so that they were bracing me in an upright position, which clearly is bad practice, but which I couldn't seem to stop myself from doing. I found it very hard to concentrate when standing up like that, although I normally get locked into whatever I am doing for hours on end (which is what prompted the DVT anxiety in the first place). It was too easy to wander off and do other things (get coffee, look at the birds in the garden, search the kitchen for things to eat). And I just didn't like it.

I do think there is something to be said for spending more time standing and less sitting, but on my first attempt it didn't work for me. When I reverted (with relief) to sitting down again, I told myself that I would try the standing approach again sometime, but that time has not yet arrived.

I did once know someone who claimed to work standing up on one of those exercise ball things with a ring around it for standing on, like a model of Saturn, which supposedly was a cure for the knee-locking issue that I experienced. That way madness lies.
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Hu
Hugh
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Thu May 29, 2014 11:00 am Post

Thanks, Siren. Yours is the sort of personal experience that I'm eager to hear.

Of course this is the destination le plus ultra of the direction you're describing:

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I'm not sure that I could concentrate whilst riding that. :?
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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vic-k
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Thu May 29, 2014 12:08 pm Post

My old mate Leonardo, didn’t just walk away from his easel/canvas, in order to check out the talent in the piazza below. He realised at a very early age, that taking a break from a problem, meant you returned to it with a fresh eye, or p’haps viewed it from a slightly modified perspective. So...
Siren wrote: It was too easy to wander off and do other things (get coffee, look at the birds in the garden, search the kitchen for things to eat)

...could, even if you wern’t aware of it, be of benefit to you. So whether you are walking away from a standing or sitting workstation, I suspect it would have a positive effect. So, walking away, for whatever reason, becomes Part1 of a three part work routine.

Part 2 work for an hour, hour and half, sat at your desk.
Part 3 work for an hour, hour and half, stood at you upright work station.
You don’t have to become anal, about how long spent sitting and standing. Let common sense and circumstance, be your guide.

If your working day is devoted to the churning out of words onto a screen/piece of paper, then it is worth your while to spend some time and effort, and cash, to create a correctly designed, sitting+standing work station for yourself.

Steps 2&3, liberally dispersed with Step 1 gives you the best of three worlds.

But, and it’s a big but. Unless the ergonomic/correct posture related criteria are adhered to, I doubt you are going to achieve any benefit from it. It could even prove detrimental.

If you want to go the whole hog, spend the working hours, nibbling at suitable healthy snacks, and spend your lunch break, say 12 noon till1pm walking a couple of miles.

I'll be interested to hear how you cope with this, Hugh.
Best of luck
Vic
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Thu May 29, 2014 12:42 pm Post

I sit to write, and stand and meander to think of what to write. Most days, my legs get more of a workout than my cheeks.

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vic-k
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Thu May 29, 2014 12:51 pm Post

Ahab wrote:Most days, my legs get more of a workout than my cheeks.
So y're not very happy then... y' don't smile very much. :lol: :oops: Sorry, it just slipped out
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Thu May 29, 2014 12:54 pm Post

I had a healthy, efficient system worked out. Set a timer. Every hour, turn off the screen and leave the desk for ten minutes. Go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, take a walk around the block, re-organize junk in the basement. Stuff like that.

At my annual physical a couple years ago, when the VA doc was telling me to stay active, I described my plan. He said okay, but knock off every half-hour.

I wanted to say, "Work for only half an hour. Do you realize what it's like to chase an idea?" Wanted to say it, but didn't. He's published four books and is working on a fifth.

So now I turn it off every 45 minutes, and move for 15. Can't say it's improved the writing, but I've lost ten pounds.

Discussed this issue with my kids. Verified earlier observations about differences between daughters and sons: As girls reach middle age, they want to correct my bad habits. As boys reach middle age, they want to share my bad habits.

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vic-k
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Thu May 29, 2014 1:01 pm Post

PJS wrote: As boys reach middle age, they want to share my bad habits.

Yeah, well, there are bad habits, and then there are BAD HABITS! :twisted:
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Thu May 29, 2014 1:05 pm Post

I've been using a standing desk at home for a while now. I do alternate between it and various sitting/reclining locations around the house, though, it's not an all-or-nothing setup. If spent all day at home working on the computer, I'd probably alternate in 2 hour shifts. The biggest help for me avoiding back and leg pain while standing for hours is to practice tadasana from my yoga practice. The correct stance relieves strain on my lower back and keeps me from locking my knees, all while giving my legs a tiny work-out.

I use this desk: http://www.ninjastandingdesk.com/, which I've hung from "monkey hooks" in my drywall (they come with it) after about a year of hanging it from a closet door. It's really reasonable, and pretty portable. Now that I've had it for a while, I've considered creating something similar with shelving like this: http://whowritesforyou.com/2012/11/14/m ... ding-desk/.

I have a wireless keyboard and trackpad so that it's easier to move to my sitting desk across the room, and if I rearrange things, I could move it next to some white boards that I have mounted behind my current sitting desk; being able to just step to the side and scribble on my marker board (or tack some note cards up on it) would really be nice.
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Thu May 29, 2014 1:34 pm Post

I did standing for a long time. Most of that time I was doing 16hr days with no real "away from the desk" breaks so it was more about sanity. the thing that worked best for me was:
1. mirrored monitors -- one at sitting height and one at standing height.
2. two keyboard -- one at sitting station/height, one and standing station/height
3. standing location separate from sitting location. Meaning I had to do more than just stand up to use the standing stuff.

Keep in mind I had 4 systems with multiple monitors so this was a bit more than moving a laptop. It should be pretty easy to with a laptop with a little thinking.

I found it to be productive for code generation and debugging. I tended to be more "creative" with coding while standing, but more precise with debugging while sitting. Which would mean writing while standing, edit while sitting in scrivener terms.

For the record, I put on 60lbs during those days... you'll need more than just standing for exercise.
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Thu May 29, 2014 7:08 pm Post

People overthink this all the time.

All you need is a balloon. Some helium. and some string. This is all the rage.

It is called

iFloat

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