Overwhelmed at Your Desk? Try Standing Up

You may have seen on NBC’s “Today Show” the standing desk weatherman Al Roker has in his office. Or possibly you read The Washington Post report that 10 percent of AOL employees in Dulles, Virginia use standing desks.

Are you wondering if standing desks are the new “flavor of the month”? Not so!

Doctors point to research showing higher rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even mortality among people who sit for long stretches of time. That is not why I started advocating standing to work, but it can be strong motivation.

Standing is not a new concept in working efficiently. Thomas Jefferson, Winston Churchill and Ernest Hemingway worked and wrote standing up, and Albert Einstein theorized standing up. Standing certainly worked for them.

I am not suggesting tossing your comfortable chair and office desk. In my office, I have a standard office desk and chair plus an art table that I use as a standing desk. I alternate between the two, depending on what I am doing.

Research has shown you have more blood in your brain when you are on your feet. Therefore, you are more decisive and make better and faster decisions. In addition, your paper stacks are not in your face. Subconsciously, you are bigger than the stack and so you feel more able to conquer it. When a client and I are trying to conquer a Mount Everest stack of papers, we tackle the job while standing unless health issues dictate otherwise.

One day I was working with a client whose paper stack would have reached the ceiling. After standing for a while, he asked, “Can we sit and do this?” I agreed, but when I later mentioned that I find this work goes faster when people are on their feet, he started to chuckle. I asked him what was funny. He said, “You are right. Ever since I sat down, I am reading the front and back of each piece of paper before I throw it away.” Back on his feet he went and soon his important papers were secured into a system that he felt comfortable using.

Need more motivation to try standing for some of your work? A Yale University study revealed that people who sit for more than half a day at work have a 60 to 70 percent greater risk of slipping a disk than their mobile coworkers.

When should you stand?
– When work feels complicated
– When you dislike a job
– When you have lots of papers to sort
– When it’s your body’s down time and you still need to be productive
– When your back is tired from sitting
– When you are returning to your office loaded with handfuls of papers
– If you are on e-mail overload and have a portable computer

A client of mine with attention deficit disorder said the suggestion to stand took away his tension. He was able to focus more clearly and stick with work longer. Schools that provide stand-up desks for their ADD students see a huge improvement in their work.

How can you put standing in your office into practice?

Once you find how effective this is, you may want to look at a permanent standing desk. Anderlyn-Desk.com offers an addition you can use on a desktop or other surface, adjustable to your height. And, if you are really into multitasking, there are companies that sell a standing desk with a treadmill.

Standing can be a simple and smart way to refocus your energy and work smarter.

Three P’s to Peaceful School Mornings

Lost shoes, lost reports and lost keys, the clock seems to be running on double – THE SCHOOL
YEAR BEGINS. No, I am not peeking into your house, but many parents describe this kind of hectic
morning to me.

As a mother of seven grown children, I know mornings can be hectic. Since I survived and also
since I am a Professional Organizer, here are some tips to ease the beginning of each day by
planning, purging and paper handling…

Create a Plan
Get the family together over a dish of ice cream and brainstorm for ideas to meet everyone’s
needs. Listen to each person’s input. The kindergartner’s suggestion may be the best.

Routines keep everyone calmer so the night before…
• Set out planned breakfast items
• Everyone, including Mom and Dad, pick out clothes for the next day
• Divide the house into sections – each person takes an assigned room and spends a few minutes
returning items where they belong
• Take a few minutes in the evening to come together and discuss plans each family member has for the
next day
• If Mom and Dad get up 30 minutes earlier and get dressed before the children get up, it allows time to
handle any problems that arise

Purge, Purge, Purge
This is the time to simplify.

Help young ones go through their room and eliminate the old stuff. They will probably be
willing to throw out many of last year’s school papers. The ones they want to keep can be put
into a sentimental box.

Share old toys with the needy. Sorting through their room is often overwhelming for children to
do. Sometimes it is too stressful for a parent and child to do together, so possibly an older
sibling, aunt or grandparent could help them. As a professional organizer, I also work with
children and since I am a “neutral person,” this works out well.

This is also a good time of year for parents and children to organize their closets so that
selecting clothes to wear will be easier.

Tame the Papers Problem
Have a plan for incoming and outgoing papers. It is not so important what you do with a piece
of paper but that you do follow the plan consistently.

Place all papers that need to be signed in a specific, designated area, possibly a basket near
the door that everyone comes in.

Have a system so children know where their papers will be the next morning. For example, you
may return the papers to them or they may be by their place at breakfast. It is not so important
what you do but that you do it consistently.

Keep papers needed for future dates in one place.

Have one location where everyone writes upcoming events, giving each family member a different color pen to use.

Simple Steps to Organization
Plan a routine, give everyone something on the evening To-Do List, decide how school papers will be
handled, and take the time to purge rooms and closets – these are all simple steps we each can
take to help our families be less stressed on mornings during the school year.

Getting your children off to school is more than just getting them out of our door and into the school’s
door. We want them to feel loved, and we also want to have time to listen to our children as they talk. It is
important to be able to give them a hug and smile as we part for the day. Allow some extra time, because
the unexpected will happen – but with good planning and simple organization, we can handle the
unexpected without unnecessary difficulty.