30 day challenge for June: treadmill desk!

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Let me tell you about the 30 day challenges I’ve been doing and what I learned:

- March 2014: I went back to doing no external email, and I learned this one weird, simple trick that helped. In previous “no email” challenges, I relied on sheer force of will not to reply to email. That didn’t work so well. In March, I tried something different: I used Gmail filters to take outside email, add the label “march2014″, and then made the outside emails skip my inbox.

It turns out that getting those emails out of my default view was critical. A while ago when I was losing some weight, I noticed that small nudges could make things easier. Instead of leaving chips or snacks lying in plain sight, I tucked them away where I wouldn’t see them. The principle of “out of sight, out of mind” can really work for you! Even better was to skip buying certain snacks. In theory, I could get in the car and drive somewhere if I really wanted a treat, but in practice I rarely did.

Archiving email out of your inbox has the same effect. Now if I’m done with my internal work-related email, I might click through to check out the outside email at the end of the day, but it doesn’t sit right in front of me begging for a reply like it did before. I’ve kept up this practice after March.

- April 2014: This is going to sound crazy, but I wanted to figure out how to make quirky eyebrow expressions (watch what Emilia Clarke can do with her eyebrows–it’s crazy!). Unfortunately, I only practiced in front of a mirror once or twice, so April was a total crash and burn. But so what? I still tried a couple times, and not every 30 day challenge has to be deep or meaningful. Fun is fine! Maybe I’ll circle back around to this one again down the road.

- May 2014: My challenge for May was to get eight hours of sleep a night. I only hit that goal about half the nights. But I became much more aware of when I was trading off sleep for a meaningful activity, like getting up at 4 a.m. to drive to Vallejo for a triathlon. Or more often, I realized that I was trading off sleep to answer emails or surf the web. As a bonus 30 day challenge, I biked into work almost every day in May.

Which brings me to my 30 day challenge for June! In previous months, it would take me about three hours a day to battle email to a standstill, and I’ve also noticed that I end up surfing the web for at least a couple hours a day. All told, I spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, which might not be the best for my health.

For June 2014, I’m going to try to convert some of that computer time to at least an hour a day with a treadmill desk. I have a treadmill at home and I slapped a couple plastic risers and a piece of plywood across it–instant treadmill desk! So the incremental cost was only like $20. I set the treadmill speed to one mile an hour, which is fast enough that my Fitbit can detect I’m walking, but slow enough that I can still think and work. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Is there any new habit or experiment you’d like to try for the next 30 days?

28 Responses to 30 day challenge for June: treadmill desk! (Leave a comment)

  1. Hey Matt,

    Because of your 30-day challenge video on Ted Talk, I was inspired to try to compose a song for this month of June. We’ll see how it goes.. :)


  2. Hi Matt,

    I love to read about your challenges, and they inspire many like me too I think. :)

    Yes, being bloggers and writers, we do tend to lead a sedentary lifestyle, which isn’t good for health. Not the mention the lack of sleep due to late night working or surfing because of which the morning walks never really take place. So, that’s going to be my challenge for this month – sleep early to get up early, and in time for my daily walks, which I was doing some time back, but you tend to lose track in-between.

    I like the idea of a treadmill desk, though would wait for your report, once you use the one you made. I wonder how one can write while you walk, as I’ve read many people are shifting to that. Yaro Starak for one uses just that. :)

    Thanks for sharing this with us and inspiring us. Have a nice week, and a lovely challenging month ahead :)

  3. nice to see your post after 3 day challenge…. i hope it was nice journey of your after feb…..

  4. Walking in the morning is a grate Idea.But, the most impotent that I discover during my 10 hours in front of computer is, need to touch foot with grass in the morning. 90% eye problem resolved for this.

  5. Hi Matt, good on you for setting up the treadmill challenge – good luck!

    As June is World Cup time and the temptation is to become a couch potato, I’ll only allow myself to watch a match if I’ve done 1/2 hour exercise beforehand. Probably be too exhausted to watch more than two matches a day, so a win-win (unless it goes to penalties!).

  6. Dear Matt

    To sleep more than 8 hours per day, I offer some advice “made in France”

    No coffee after 20:00, no tobacco and take tea with honey mint milk.

    Follow my advice, I feel you overworked

    Yann Oesknar

  7. Very inspiring! Good luck with your challenges and congratulations on your successes! I love the sleep challenge! Participating in a triathlon is also exciting!

    My June challenge is to make getting exercise in the morning before work so don’t get derailed (often find my self still there at 11 pm) an A1 priority. I love your treadmill desk. That is now a goal to get one after I get my new home so I don’t have to move it.

  8. I’d highly encourage you to increase that speed as you get used to it. I’ve been using a treadmill desk for a few hours or so a week for three years, and it’s not problem doing all of the things I do at 3.5 mph.

  9. Could you show us a photo of the treadmill desk or say where you got it, Matt? I’d love to try it too.

  10. My goal this month is to take more breaks from the computer and either walk around our ‘lake’ during the break to get fresh air and sunshine or do at least two minutes of plank to work on the core; that is something I can easily do at work. I like your treadmill desk idea.

  11. Hi Matt, you know I do not speak good English but I’m afraid what you wrote here is full of symbolic phrase that means something else (top secret), isn’t it? :D

  12. So here’s my challenge for June:
    I will try to get sleep of at least 10-12 hours. I will try to go for sleep early and my target is to wake up at around 4-5 A.M.
    I will visit your blog next month to tell about my program and best of luck for your challenge Matt!

  13. Gal

    Good luck!
    Sounds interesting :-)

  14. My June challenge: After sitting behind a desk 8hrs a day I decided to start getting up at 5am and doing “The Rock” workout. Takes a lot of motivation!

  15. I’m inspired.
    My goal is to take the simm card out of my smart phone and put it into a 8 year old phone that does nothing but makes and receive phone calls. This way I only work when in the office. 30 days here I come.

  16. Matt,

    I hope you don’t consider this as spam but… have a UpLift treadmill desk with your name on it, free to keep. Just say the word and I’ll ship it to you. Here’s a video showing how to use our treadmill desk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74CCgkdJ104

    It would be worth the exposure if you mention it in your blog. http://www.upliftdesk.com/store/p/101-UpLift-Treadmill-Desk.html

  17. Please show us a picture of the desk! Madly ran over here to see and then NADA…come on Matt..throw us a bone!

  18. Matt,
    I love the treadmill idea. I recently began using a Fitbit and am loving it. It has underlined for me the concept of “you cannot manage what you don’t measure.” Love the fitbit

  19. I tried to stick with 8 hours of sleep for the last 6 months and only hit that goal 90% success rate on the days that I do not travel. The key for me was to turn off the lights by 10:15 PM. Jawbone UP24 really helps with that. I have been thinking about switching to the treadmill desk for a bit, but I cannot picture it in my office. Like others, I would love to see how it looks in your office — please share a photo, when you can. Good luck – Steve.

  20. Bob

    Great idea with the treadmill desk! I have been using a stand-up desk for a while now and it has definitely allowed me to focus a little better. I am curious about how a stand up desk would compare to a treadmill desk as far as focus is concerned…

  21. Hi Matt,

    Very inspiring post and good luck with your 30 day challenge.

    I too have a 30 day challenge of my own starting in 10 days time and that is to resist the temptation to watch various pointless football/soccer matches just because they happen to be part of the world cup,once it starts. Wish me luck – Danny :-)

  22. Jonathan

    Hey Matt,

    Best of luck with the treadmill desk challenge! I made the switch a year ago and I’ve noticed a significant improvement in how I feel while I’m at work even if I don’t walk the entire day. If it works out for you, I’d recommend checking out a dedicated treadmill desk with a sit-stand desk base. It really helps you mix up your routine and keeps your keyboard and mouse at an optimal height. I’ve been using the UpLift 900 desk with a LifeSpan treadmill and I’ve yet to find anything that can match it quality-wise.

  23. Maybe do a post in the future about your use of Fitbit! I’m interested in them (And we can finally get them here in NZ), but it kinda seems like an expensive pedometer at first glance.

  24. Matt wait until you get older, it just gets harder to lose weight! I’m 52 years old, went to the doctor and weighed nearly exactly the same as I did a year ago. Well I used to compete in triathlons and weighed about 10 pounds less. It’s actually pretty easy to lose weight if you have time to swim, bike or run for at least an hour each day. Well we don’t always have that extra time. I’m targeting a 2 pound weight loss for the next 30 days with about 30 minutes to an hour of excercise each day. And cutting down on the processed foods!

  25. Matt I will suggest you that make this one your July plan or at least one day plan
    I will wait your response to know what was your experience!

  26. Matt,

    You have to email, post, or G+ a picture of the Tredmill Desk! I love the idea.


  27. Slightly, I’m too interested in setting up challenges for me.

    Well, it helps improving our experience as well as knowledge.

    Ain’t it Matt Cutts?

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