Posts Tagged ‘sitting’

Why do I work like this?

In May 2016 on May 4, 2016 at 1:18 pm


Sarah: Last week I ran a marathon and juggled burning batons.

Not literally in my running shoes plus fuel and matches of course, but it felt just as massive.

I had taken on a huge writing job for a new client, and it coincided with the second week of school holidays during which I had previously scheduled multiple allied health appointments for me and my kids.

Looking back, I’m amazed it actually got done. With early wake-ups and late nights and very high levels of screens and ignoring healthy cooking and being cranky with my children and pet, somehow it happened. A typical day looked like this:

5.30am –> awake and sitting at computer

7.30am –> love and breakfast for kids

8am –> load of washing on, then walk dog

8.30am –> more work for me, kids play and fight and play

10am –> hang out washing, dash to dentist

12pm –> buy and eat sushi for lunch, play at the park on the way home

1pm –> more work for me, kids on screens

3pm –> yell at kids to get off screens and do something active, they walk dog

4pm –> hair appointments

5pm –> more work for me, kids on screens with intermittent yelling

6pm –> take kids and dog to the local oval for a run and kick of the ball

7pm –> OMG what is for dinner?

8pm –> more work (husband cleans kitchen, plays with kids, gets them into bed)

10pm –> yes, still working

11pm –> suppose I’d better sleep

Why do I do this to myself? Why not just say no to the client, or delay the work, or opt for a simpler life with more sleep and lower income?

I love being busy and am at my most efficient and effective when I have a lot on. But every now and again I wonder if this is not the best way to operate. Things would be a lot simpler if I got a fixed job, walked away from the house to a set office, used more Out of Hours School Care and babysitters, ate takeaway and threw the clothes in the drier every day.

But then yesterday — as I took a deep breath and hid in the laundry and actually found pairs of matching clean socks — I listened to Radio National’s Life Matters program. In this episode, guests of host Cassie McCullagh were Professor Ross Anderson and Associate Professor Susan Bartlett of McGill University in Montreal. Speaking on the risks of heart disease and joint problems, Professor Anderson said:

Individuals who sit for prolonged periods of time, without interruption, are at greater risk.

A lot of Australians commute to work passively, in a car.

Most of us sit behind a desk or at a computer for the entire morning, and in many cases we don’t get up to take a break.

We sit at the cafeteria eating lunch passively, and then we go back to work and back home in our cars.

This is not the way I work. I suppose that’s good.

I also wonder if I would be as efficient if I knew I had endless hours in each day to dedicate to my writing tasks. Even today, when deadlines are less pressing, I can feel myself drifting off, thinking too much, checking out clothing online, seeing what everyone’s up to on Facebook.

Snatched windows of time in-between physical tasks forces me to focus and deliver. And it helps me lose my inner smart-arse.

Now excuse me, the dog needs a run. And so do I.

PS. I’ve written previously about the need to sit less in several posts: Sitting and standing, Making a stand, and The walking meeting

[image thanks to Ky:]


Day 166. The walking meeting

In January 2013 on January 25, 2013 at 8:55 pm


“Sitting is the new smoking. It makes you fat and then it kills you”.

Not a great quote to read on a long-haul flight between Australia and Europe.

These words came from Lucy Kellaway’s Financial Times On work column, dated Monday 21 January 2013 (you can access the text for free if you click on the link and follow instructions).

Lucy wrote this piece as a description of her foray into the ‘walking meeting’, inspired by a recent Harvard Business Review blog Sitting is the Smoking of Our Generation by Nilofer Merchant.

The walking meeting is literally that: rather than talking to business or work associates across a conference room table, you arrange to meet, and then pound the pavement in comfortable shoes whilst exchanging words.

Apart from the obvious benefits that being upright has on our health (as mentioned by Lucy and Nilofer, and as I touched on briefly in Sitting and standing), the walking meeting can change the way people interact. Avoiding the ‘face-off’ atmosphere of a desk-based meeting, walking meetings are less confrontational and perhaps better suited to allow reflection during the conversation. I’ve certainly found this to be true with my children; most of the deep dark secrets I’ve managed to extract from my 9-year old son have emerged bit by bit as we walk to or from school. Somehow he feels more able to tell me stuff as we walk along, as opposed to me and him across the kitchen counter in the “how was your day?” exchange which usually goes nowhere.

It’s one of the reasons I’ve resolved to walk the kids to school as often as I possibly can during 2013. And maybe I’ll even suggest a walk to a few work colleagues too.

[image thanks to Foxtongue on flickr]

Day 113. Sitting and standing

In December 2012 on December 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm


This is my desk.

A recent heavier-than-usual workload and associated increased hours at the laptop has left me with a twinging sciatic nerve and an aching fixed-in-the-position-of-mouse-use right arm.

Too much sitting!

Then today I noted author Rebecca Skloot (she of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) posted a note on twitter about her desk set-up

Since earlier post saying I use a treadmill desk, I’ve been flooded w requests 4 info. So I posted details here w/pics:

Take a look at the link. It shows and describes how Rebecca has set up her home office with a treadmill and associated computer station so she can walk whilst writing.

A recent article at New York Times “Taking a Stand for Office Ergonomics” also discussed the topic.

I think I’m going to have to investigate this further.