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?

62 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.. πŸ™‚


  2. Hi Matt,

    I love to read about your challenges, and they inspire many like me too I think. πŸ™‚

    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. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing this with us and inspiring us. Have a nice week, and a lovely challenging month ahead πŸ™‚

  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? πŸ˜€

  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. Good luck!
    Sounds interesting πŸ™‚

  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. 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 πŸ™‚

  22. 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. A treadmill desk does sound intriguing to me Matt. I have recently adopted a stand up desk at work. It has taken some getting used to but overall I like it. Maybe try an exercise bike.

  26. 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!

  27. 6 hours Sleep πŸ™ only work work work.. Please update something else for SEO πŸ™‚

  28. I wish my company would do this. Instead we’re practically chained down to our desks while we work. πŸ™

  29. Matt,

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


  30. Sounds inspiring! I’m targeting a 3 kilos weight loss for the current month. I love such challenges

  31. Hey Matt,

    Please try to make a joke everyday!

  32. get 8 hours of sleep? Great I should try that out, actually I sleep 4,5 hours at night and two times a day 30 minutes in a train

  33. Haha thats a great idea, I have a good friend who im going to suggest turns his desk into a treadmill he could do with the extra exercise.

    Great Blog Matt.



  34. I just bout myself a stand up desk and think it is something you may also want to look into. I could not see myself walking on a treadmill and being productive on the computer at the same time.

  35. I honestly don’t see the point in the treadmill desk Matt. If you adjust the speed to 1mph, and you weigh about 140 pounds, you will burn no more than 80 cal per hour. Your heartrate would hardly peak and I doubt that there is any improvement in fitness.

    I think you would be better off with a 30 day challenge of running on a treadmill for 30 minutes at a pace of 6-7mph at an incline of 2%, which will easily burn 400 cal per 30 minutes.

    I would rather spend 30 minutes running faster, listening to an audio book than trying to walk at snail-pace. Unless you are overly obese, there is just no fitness benefit.

  36. I have the computer. I have the treadmill that goes unused outside on my deck. Maybe… just maybe… I will try your treadmill desk Idea. What’s to lose but a few pounds on a slow walk.

    Thanks for the idea.

  37. Hi Matt,

    You have given a “dofollow” link to Fitbit, which is a commercial product, whose product you endorsed. You passed your blog’s PR to Fitbit’s site. Is that okay to do? Can I also give “dofollow” links to websites of companies who I believe are genuine and whose products I’ve authenticated to be good and useful for others?

    I’d be curious to know your answer.


  38. I may hate you sometimes for the algo updates but love your challenges O:)

  39. I’d love to have a treadmill desk at my work instead of just sitting there wasting time all day. πŸ™‚

  40. Matt
    Agree – pics, or the treadmill desk thing never happened . . .
    : – D

  41. Dear Matt
    Very interesting to read you challenge,
    best of luck

  42. It’s really good to hear something from you, whether it is some work related thing or a normal routine tasks.

    Moreover, it’s good to take challenges by your own, as this increases your stamina as well as give you something new other than a normal routine task.

    Also as John M Weaver said, do share the pics on Google+.

  43. I lilke the treadmill idea.i am used fitbit

  44. These are great challenges. I might take one for myself especially that I am now trying to lessen my screen time. The eight hours of sleep looks really interesting.

  45. It’s good to challenge yourself, it’s what makes us better at humans.
    That is a good idea of filtering out the emails though, it’s how we spend a lot of our day.
    I haven’t ran in about two years, and just recently I started running everyday.
    It’s something I should probably do for more than just 30 days, but it’s also a good way to get in the routine.
    Good luck with the treadmill, you should be on Day 18.

  46. Hi Matt,
    Sounds interesting. I am really impressed. Can you please share some treadmill desk snaps !
    I want to try this at-least once

  47. Yea I could use a treadmill desk. It’s one of the things you need to overcome in our industry. It’s easy to sit at or work on things all day. As far as 30 day challenge we are going sugar free and grain free.

  48. Exceptionally rousing! Good fortunes with your challenges and congrats on your triumphs! I cherish the slumber challenge! Partaking in a marathon is additionally energizing!

  49. Thanks for lighting a fire under me to create some of my own 30 day challenges and seeing if I stick with them.

  50. Appreciate for doing well, hope you will definitely get something new again & again

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

  52. Hello Matt

    Thanks for your 30-days.I’m from China.

    We gonna make an App with the theme of trying something new for 30 days.

    What’s your opinion?

  53. Absolutely love the treadmill idea. People often skip exercise as work seems to busy, but if you can find an hour to workout-your productivity sky rockets.

    Ironically i’m typing this in my gym gear, ready to go but sat at the laptop for last few hours!

  54. 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

  55. These objectives are very pleasing. I think that every person should try it out. Are important challenges. The man becomes a habit in 30 days.
    What did you find out in July?

  56. 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?

  57. Hi Matt, you tend to surprice me with your challenges, actually many of them are interesting and gives perspektiv on things, treadmill desk, external mail etc. Many thanks for good and fun reading, I really mean it. You are bookmarked already. Have a great week! //Niklas from Sweden

  58. Saw your TED talk and it led me to your blog.

    I did the inbox filter thing and I love it.

    I used a tool called Inbox Paused. — I love it! I’m not affiliated, just a fan and thought I should share.

    Hope it’s useful!

  59. I’m very curious to see how your challenge goes. I know 8 hours or so of sitting at the desk isn’t doing me any wonders, and if it’s possible to atually be productive with a treadmill desk I’d probably give it a whirl too. So I’ll be following along.

    8h of sleep a night – what a great challenge. Good job even making it that far 50% of the time!

  60. At my work place we all used to sit and that really makes me feel tired and cozy. I have suggested my HR for standing desk, let’s see how it goes ! I hope you have completed your challenge and felt the change !

  61. Hello Matt! For this month of June, i’m planning to travel around the world. Your post set up challenges for me. It will help me improve my experience and knowledge. Thanks!