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whatminjacodes [she/they]
whatminjacodes [she/they]

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Staying active during the work day - Customized Pomodoro

My goal this year has been to get my inactive time during the day lower. I'll let you know how I got this habit started and how it's going now in this blog post.

I also made a customized pomodoro technique that I'm using when I need to concentrate for a longer period and feel that I might stay inactive for too long.

Why did I start focusing on my inactive time?

I didn't just decide one day that I want to be more active or have healthier habits. This has been an ongoing goal for few years already. I started from small things like cooking healthier meals, eventually getting exercising into my weekly routine and started standing while working at least part of my day.

So the logical next step is to lessen the time I spend inactive during the day. My daily inactive time can get high since I'm a software developer and spend most of my day sitting (or statically standing) in front of a desk all day.

Two graphs displaying my inactivity levels during a day. Left picture has long grey areas (inactivity) and right picture has less.
Grey areas are inactivity during a day. Left picture shows what a day with lots of inactivity looks like (about 11h of inactivity) and right picture shows how much inactivity during a day I get nowadays (about 8h 30min of inactivity).

I have a Oura smart ring which I use for tracking my sleep, activity and recovery from exercise, few drinks or a badly slept night. It reminds me to move every hour and stretch and even though I do that I noticed my inactive time was often 9-12h a day, which is a lot.

A screenshot from Oura app screen that displays weekly summary.
Oura weekly summary saying my average inactivity last week was 8 hours 34 minutes.

Oura suggests that anything between 5-8h or less inactivity is considered a good practise and a habit that improves your health. So I set the goal that my weekly average during a day would be less than 8h. I still haven't reached that goal, but I'm slowly moving towards it. Now my weekly average is about 8.5h inactivity/day.

How I got started?

I started to practise standing by just making it a habit first. I had two reminders during the day: one in the morning and one after lunch time. I started by standing just for 10 minutes, and even that felt difficult at first, but slowly I was able to stand for longer periods of time.

Making a habit was the most important step for me. It didn't really matter how long I stood, as long as I remembered to do it every day. After a while I also started to stand during meetings. I wasn't able to stand the whole time but I started the meeting standing and stood for as long as it felt good.

I also added stretching to my routine. Whenever I was creating a new build, listening to a podcast or reading an article, I started stretching at the same time. Rotating shoulders, doing squats and just overall moving my body.

At first I had a simple setup where I just used a cardboard box to get my laptop on correct height and I also used a wireless keyboard and a mouse. After I got the habit started and I noticed I actually spend time standing, I got a proper laptop stand for my kitchen table.

Now that I've used this temporary setup for couple months, I'm thinking of getting a standing desk mat and eventually maybe even upgrading to a proper standing desk. But it's definitely okay to start simple and not spend so much money on making the setup more suitable for standing!

Customized pomodoro

I wanted to mention this customized pomodoro that I came up with and thought it's a fun way to make sure I move enough during the day.

I created a playlist that first has 20-25 minutes of music that I usually listen to when I want to concentrate and after that there's one song that always makes me want to dance and move. This way I automatically start to dance for the few minutes that the song lasts at least twice/hour.

The link to my playlist in Spotify can be found from here if you want to take inspiration from it :)

Do you have any tips on how to be more active during the day when basically the whole work day is spent in front of a computer?

Top comments (4)

tiina profile image

I really enjoy yoga and my favorites for the office day are:

  • Office Break Yoga 14min by Adriene link
  • Take Five 5min Yoga by Adriene link
  • 12 Min Yoga For Brain Power link
whatminjacodes profile image
whatminjacodes [she/they]

Awesome! Thank you for sharing!

otumianempire profile image
Michael Otu

Bottle refill..

whatminjacodes profile image
whatminjacodes [she/they]

That definitely helps to get you moving frequently!