You see, with standing desks exploding in popularity as they are, everyone from little kids in elementary schools to CEOs whose suits cost more than those elementary teachers make in six months is in on the trend. Oh, there are some holdouts, of course; not everyone is as amenable to change as everyone else, but make no mistake about it – standing desks are rapidly reaching Malcolm Gladwell levels of saturation.
But hey, you guys already know that, right? I mean, this is a blog about standing desks and their applications – of course you do! But there’s something you might not know. You might not know that most people who own and / or utilize a standing desk, whether it be at work, at home, or at school, are probably doing it wrong. Keep that up for long enough, and your health and productivity can suffer just as much as if you’d stayed with your traditional seated desk, if not more. So, what’s to be done? It’s funny you should ask. Keep reading for a rundown of common standing desk user errors, possible consequences, and how to fix them.
Standing Desk User Error #1 – Not Using a Standing Desk
This might seem like a bit of a “Duh!”-esque beginning to a list like this, but remember, there are still people who aren’t using a standing desk for some reason. By now, even the mainstream media has picked up what our little community is putting down, so it isn’t like the information isn’t out there; the main impediment now isn’t budget or a real or imagined lack of technical aptitude. It’s simple, one-hundred proof ignorance.
As far as the consequences of persisting in this particular error, it’s easier to just ask your nearest sedentary co-worker or friend if they want a shorter life, diminished brain power, and a host of unnecessary aches and pains, given the laundry list of standing desk health and productivity benefits.
Happily, fixing this most basic of user errors is as simple as it gets: If you’re not using a standing desk, start! The minor hurdles of a Lego-like assembly process and a short break-in / adjustment period are nothing compared to what you’ll get in return.
Standing Desk User Error #2: Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket
This next stumbling point is a common one, especially for those who have a significant investment – read: a borderline desperate need for – success. They see a proposed solution to whatever their problem or goal happens to be, and they chuck everything else aside, focusing with laser intensity on this one, shining beacon of hope. Standing desks and their users are no exception; people hear of the benefits of use, and they go wild, looking for the Golden Ticket, as it were. Success is achievable, of course, but when it doesn’t come like magic, some folks get dejected and quit altogether, ruining what might have been a decent shot at progress and, eventually, all-out victory.
A mentality like this will ruin your experience with standing desks, not to mention just about anything else in life, so ditch it! View standing desks as what they were always meant to be: One tool in an arsenal without an ammo limit. In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water! Let’s take exercise & weight loss, for example. Plenty of people hear about the weight loss / physical improvement properties of standing desks, and that’s all it takes. They’re all in. But the reality is, standing desks are, well, desks. You’re not buying a home gym! In truth, even though many exercise-themed peripherals exist for your standing desk of choice, there are plenty of regular, non-desk bound exercise regimens that are as good or superior to the use of a standing desk.
So, how can you fix a user error such as this? Simple: Adjust your thinking. Have a backup plan. Don’t confuse a benefit of a thing with that thing’s primary function. Oh, and if you happen to be in the standing desk game for the sole goal of trimming and slimming, study up on basic nutrition and exercise concepts, particularly the concept of METs (Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks).
Standing Desk User Error #3: Burnout
Anyone who knows anything about standing desks, whether by their own efforts or through following this most excellent blog, knows that there’s a bit of a breaking in period to be expected, especially for the more sedentary among us. After all, you can’t just sit in one spot for eight hours a day for years at a time and then stand up for an entire workday without your body making some sort of protest, can you? Yet that’s exactly what most people who make the switch from sitting to standing try to do. They push themselves to the point of near injury, and then they blame the desk. That just doesn’t make sense.
Continuing in error in this way will make you hate your standing desk. You’ll throw it out if you can, and if you can’t (if, say, your boss owns it), you’ll hate coming to the place you associate with it, like your workplace or school. Your mood will impact your performance, and the latter will tank, putting you in a precarious position you could’ve avoided if you’d just taken it easy. Not only that, but pushing yourself this way can actually counteract the benefits of standing desk use, leading to or exacerbating back and spinal problems, circulation problems, and more.
That brings us to the solution for this particular problem: Pace yourself. You wouldn’t try to climb Everest for your first mountaineering trip, so don’t think you have to stand
at your desk like a statue from day one! Feel free to walk around a little. Stretch. Heck, sit down for a fifteen minute break every hour or so until you’ve built up a baseline stamina reserve. Oh, and one more thing: Not all standing desks are created equal. Make sure the desk you’re using fits your physical and professional needs! With standing desks as with everything else, use your brain first, and the rest of your body will follow.
Conclusion / Closing Thoughts
Whew! Another blog post come and gone. Hopefully you’ve taken something helpful from it. Be sure to swing back next week for another missive from your humble author. Until then, take care, and thanks for reading!