I eat at my desk all the time, and I really need to stop. When I eat at my desk, I'm generally eating things that aren't that healthy to begin with, snacking unnecessarily, and/or eating too quickly, and doing it in some misguided notion that I'm able to work and eat at the same time. I'm not actually productive at times like that, it just lets me deal with some illogical guilt I feel when I get up to go eat at a table with other people, or out by myself in the park near the office.
When I get up and go to lunch instead of eating at my desk, I'm taking a real break, I'm socializing, or taking time to think.
I gotta stop eating at my desk.
Also, it smells. I know people don't think it does, or that it's not objectionable, but it's just another sensory input for everyone around them. People wouldn't give a second thought to asking me to turn my radio down; why should I not ask them to keep their smelly heated-over Lean Cuisine in the eating areas?
I describe this further here:
That kind of eating, where a hand goes reaching into a bag of fried shit to grab one more piece of something you never wanted to eat in the first place.
I'm not great at it yet, but I try to stop myself before every bite and ask "Am I hungry?" in my head. I stop way earlier in meals, I eat more frequently with much smaller amounts, and I honestly have happier meals because I have more time to sit and enjoy my company.
I'm trying to do a water-only desk thing. I can have coffee, but only on a coffee break, etc. Not sure if it will make as big of a difference, but we'll see.
After that, because chocolate-coated coffee beans are expensive, I figured I'd cut out the middleman and I bought a 5kg bag of coffee beans and just munched my way through that.
DO NOT DO THIS, even though it sounds cool.
After a couple of hours the increased caffeine made me jittery, my heart rate was up, my head hurt and my skin was dry and scratchy.
After a few weeks I quit that. It was hard. I'm a water addict now.
I've heard that fast food joints intentionally try to serve the coldest possible drinks to make patrons feel they are hungry for another burger.
I think a lot of times, what we do at our desk are some sort of "rituals" that we think help us to get into the zone. Most of the time they just get in our way of doing things.
My biggest ah-ha moments are seldom staring at a screen*, but quite often it's at my desk with a paper and pen.
(The big exception is when doing profiling; the highest ah-ha-per-second ratio of all activities)
A lot of times it helps to get out of the office if you hit a rut/wall.
Just getting in a new environment and re-approaching the problem with a fresh perspective makes all the difference.
I like to take long walks with my dogs and try to let my mind wander. Usually, I'll end up thinking about work or a personal issue that requires a solution to be addressed.
But, as far as procrastinating I have definitely been slipping lately and need to lay off facebook, reddit, and (gulp) HN as well. Wait... what am I still doing here..!
It's uncomfortable (despite considerable investment), takes a lot of space, has terrible lighting, is too hot or too cold and is eerily quiet. It's quite depressing really.
I tend to sit in the garden when it's not raining - good lighting, relaxing ambient noise and great air (which is really important). Plus you can get up and walk around regularly and focus on stuff that isn't right in front of you.
The only downside is bird crap and my neighbours think I'm insane.
I used to camp in my local woodland as teenager, sometimes 80+ days a year. Perhaps I should go and work there as well (seeing as there's a massive great big 3G mast in the middle of my local woods now).
My theory about thinking and walking is that it gets the blood flowing round the brain more than just sitting at a desk does. I think that was the thinking behind having table tennis tables in offices as well, to get the blood moving around. There's also something about the action of walking that seems to let the mind wander off as well though...
For example, I'm pretty bad at creative tasks when at a keyboard (this was also true in pre-internet times, so it's not a matter of distractions), but sit me down with a pencil and paper and the juices start to flow. It just creates a different state of mind.
I tried to replace pencil & paper with minimalist emacs buffer but .. paper is non linear, just like thought trails so it's a better fit for now.
Lunch dragged on for a couple of hours sometimes, but I generally had a flexible enough schedule that it worked ok.
With IDE's, Photoshop, Word, I think it's important to remember that they have activities and workload in themselves that isn't relevant to what you're trying to achieve. Separating this load out from the core task has some value.
Something like mindmapping over a code printout that could be exported back to your IDE or text editor via a plugin, maybe.
Making a separate user account just for work really helps me stay focused. Same computer, but still a different environment.
The trick is that you need to make it more difficult to access your "time wasting" sites on your work station.
I do this by adding entries into my hosts file and redirecting certain sites to 0.0.0.0, this way I need to use another machine when I want to browse these sites.
This helps maintain the separation, and keeps you from mindlessly entering in your favorite urls in a browser while at your desk.
edit: apparently the writing hut will be preserved, though inaccessible to the public
There are times when my mind races and I can't focus. I turn the lights off, close the shades and the only light and thereby focus becomes the monitor.
I look at this article and others that offer advice on finding that working place for yourself, or that motivation to ignore distractions and I see them more as tools than as rules. A man with a well supplied toolbox is more likely to find the one he needs when the time comes.
I actually got a GeekDesk a while ago, and I think it's a better solution: I wouldn't want to sit or stand all the time.
(Unless you mean alcohol, in which case I don't disagree, but it doesn't sound like you do.)
Of course a number of people would love to do that where the TV ends up the display for your socializing function.
That said, having that separate desk to indicate that you're working on something that is not so susceptible to distraction might be enough.
It's not a perfect measurement but it helps me to realize its not at all expensive to unchain myself from my desk.
Too many times we "lie" to ourselves, and think that if we're at our desk, we're working (and being productive).
I don't have a standing desk, but this is possibly my biggest incentive to consider getting one: if you're already standing, there's a lot less inertia to keep you from just walking away from your desk.
Adjusting to working while standing is difficult. Adjustable desks that can go up and down, especially at the push of a button, only make it harder to actually get used to it. You'll get tired quickly from standing, switch to sitting, and then forget to stand back up (because sitting is a habit, whereas standing is not yet).
I've built a standing desk that does not adjust. When I get tired of standing I'll grab my laptop and go to the couch for a bit, and then get back to standing. This might not work for every setup, but it's great for me.
Agree. Not to be overlooked. Standing ~8 hrs non-stop requires athletic fitness and good posture. One would be surprised. Your shoes, etc. need to be supportive. Any lack of support or posture will make itself known. =D
For those who type have you had issues with your posture standing? I've never used a standing desk but would be concerned that putting weight forward and looking down would be tiresome or fatiguing?
For long periods, it's usually chest out shoulders back and head level (like the army). As off balance element in the spinal column requires a lot of energy to keep upright, otherwise.
I use it far too short a time (2 weeks now) to say whether it really helps, but it's definitely a change that makes me happy _so far_.
I feel more awake (no 'slumping'). I move a lot, walk in circles and just move away from the machine, when I feel I need to think about something.
Will I keep using it from now on? Only time will tell.. It _is_ definitely less comfortable than reclining in a good chair.. :)
I use this one that I built for $22: http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Ikea-Standing-desk-for-22-dolla...
Love it. Use it every day at work, and days when I have to sit all day (Traveling, in meetings, whatever)... I feel AWFUL at the end of the day.
What annoyed me also was that I couldn't do creatives things while standing, only simple repetive tasks were ok. So I stopped.
"Standing on a hard floor for prolonged periods without anti-fatigue matting can cause pain and discomfort in the lower legs, feet and back." - some website selling them.
1) a standing mat
2) a bar stool (for sitting and leaning when my feet get tired)
You will definitely want to relax from time to time though.
I do use a mouse. And normally my laptop is elevated on a box, with a keyboard in front. I also have a external monitor that's normally beside it.
Here's what it looks like now: