2.5 minutes that changed my day
In “Kill your Chair,” Alexander Kjerulf’s suggests people sitting at desks should get up and move around every 30 minutes. That’s mind blowing to me so I decided to take his advice.
I downloaded and installed a free digital stop watch called “Cool Timer” . There’s also an Internet stop watch at Timeme.com.
Tuesday morning at 7 a.m. I set the stop watch for 30 minutes and went to work. Every 30 minutes a fog horn sounded and I briskly left my office, waved to the receptionist and took a 2.5 minute walk around the building.
Here are my observations
- Slicing the day into 30 minute segments rather than one hour segments created two deadlines per hour. I accomplished more.
- Taking a break every 30 minutes increased my ability to focus and stay on task.
- You might think it was disruptive but it wasn’t.
- Walk like you’re on a mission or people will interrupt you.
- I tend to lower my head when thinking so I intentionally held my head high, observed my surroundings, listened for sounds, and breathed deeply.
- If no one was looking, I raise my hands over my head and stretch. (It helped that it was sunny.)
I love doing this. I’m continuing this practice until I find a reason to stop.
If you can’t leave your office, try standing up and moving around once every 30 minutes. If you are at home with the kids you need to sit down for 2.5 minutes every 30 minutes, if you dare!
Read more about getting out of your chair at: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/stand-up-while-you-read-this/?em
Why don’t you take the challenge and try this for a day? Let me know what happens.
Anyone already doing something like this? What are your thoughts?
Read the follow-up post – 2.5 minutes that changed my day – community update
What a great idea.. I feel a bit of nerd actually that I hadn’t thought about anything like this before… but sometimes one gets so wrapped up in the day that there isn’t time to think! Anyway I am going to try it and then give you some feedback.
Thanks for the great idea.
First, thanks for your first comment on Leadership Freak. I’ll be watching for your experience. Enjoy the day.
This sounds great, and doable, will have to make a big effort when I am in the middle of something that I may think is more important but it can and must be done.
Give it a try. I’m on day two. It’s just a start but I’m excited to do it. Let us know how it works out.
Go for it,
Okay I’ll take the challenge Dan. I’m downloading the stopwatch now.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
I’m on my second day. It’s not as nice outside but I’m still doing it and feeling good. Today I have some meetings so I won’t be a systematic. But I think thats to be expected.
I’m looking forward to hearing more from you
Interesting post! I’m 62, self-employed and work in various places around the world on assignments, some of them have VERY poor office facilities.
Owing to a active life in sport until fairly recently, I have some back problems, but I don’t regret my rugby, soccer, cricket, squash, backpacking, ever.
Last year in Tanzania, East Africa, I decided to stand up for my back. For my last week I used an upturned printer box to raise the working height.
As soon as I got back home in December, I restructured my home office desk. It already had a nice desktop supported by 2 x 2-drawer filing cabinets. I got two 35 litre Really Useful Box storage boxes with front-opening lids (ends) and these are now between the desktop and the filing cabinets.
In my office I work standing up and only occasionally sit on a kitchen barstool. I feel better, concentrate more and am losing weight without any current exercise regime. My feet don’t ache as much as I thought they might, I can use the low rungs on the kitchen stool as a footrest if I want to.
Stand up for your rights and your back! If I were an employer, I’d ne advising employees to do the same, even have meetings standing up, shortens them!
I have a couple of photos if anyone’s interested.
Love your comments and thank you for jumping in for the first time. I’ll send you an email so you can send the pictures.
I’m having fun,
There’s a parallel between this and the practices in many schools with young kids — expecting them to sit for an hour or so of classes and rewarding the kids who “sit still” — most kids function better if given something like the 2.5 minute “walkaround” — that probably holds true for adults too!
I think we are all kids in big bodies. We’d be better off if we admitted it.
Looking forward to the posts.
Thanks for the encouragement. This is my third day at taking 2.5 minutes. It’s a more typical day in that I am in and out of the office and have meetings. It’s breaks the rhythm but I’m staying with it.
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Dan: Just found you, it must be kismet or the fact that it is the Irish High Holy Day either way your thoughts are succinct and insightful. I’m working on the simple and succinct personal attributes. Your style of communication will be a daily reminder of their importance !
Two threads you started created a matrix in my head and will start applying to my behavior, which is the test of renewal and change.
A mentor over a generation ago moved me to a “stand up desk” In actuality it was a floor supervisor’s working desk. It worked better than I had ever imagined, once I overcame the “desk envy” syndrome also closely associated with counting ceiling tiles to insure you held the right size office for your position. I have to admit that a bit of hubris has crept back into my psyche when I attained the august position of Division president and purchased a mahogany version which has traveled with me ever since. Building on the initial counsel of my mentor I first began using a call center headset when this was very much a totem of “downward mobility” for a executive on the rise. It had the effect of keeping on my feet, bonded me to the associates who saw functionality over appearances as more than a mantra I was spreading as a mantra during a period of renewal in the enterprise.
A thought for your consideration. In addition to the 2.5 I construct a list ( (revised quarterly) of the individuals and functional areas that where the pressure point or choke points in each of the enterprises are most critical during the time period in question. My 2.5 to 5.0 jaunts around the facilities or organization are thereby targeted to increase my availability and made more productive for my personal edicifcation. I am available to hear questions that are top of mind and germane to the functions and people I’ve identified. I am in a position to easily observe opportunity for alignment and process improvement.
I down loading the stop watch directly after this posting.
Thanks for making your first comment on Leadership Freak a great personal story filled with insight. Love your suggestion of giving your “walk abouts” a double purpose. Just so you know, I’m still using my stop watch. 30 minutes seems to fly by! I think my attitude is better also.
Thank you for your compliments. I look forward to learning from you.
Stepping out right now,
This topic is one that I have experience with the past few weeks. During classes in person, the day is broken into 1-1.5 hr segments, that tend to be fairly uninterrupted and indoors. Sometimes, there is not enough time to take a meaningful break in between classes. Since we have moved online, I find it is easier to take a couple minute break now and then. I like the idea in this blog post of structuring that break time. In a couple of the other posts from Leadership Freak I read, the author talks about deadlines. Here again, he talks about deadlines and observes that splitting your day into 30 minute increments between breaks gives you two deadlines per hour. I am going to try to apply this system to my days and see how it goes. I am fortunate to live in a place where it is nice to go for walks. I find that I am better able to focus and more productive after a few minutes outside. Sometimes stepping away from work for a minute let’s me notice details, or think more creatively than I would if I just kept staring at my computer screen or notes.