What Is Your Favorite Position? (for working)

Biddy works best while sitting on or in boxes.
Biddy works best while sitting on or in boxes.

Recently I noticed something about the way I work: I prefer doing different types of work in different positions.

  1. Creative work (writing, prototyping, future planning): Sitting down at my desk.
  2. Logistical work (spreadsheeting, Skyping): Standing up at my desk (it’s a sit/stand desk).
  3. Brainstorming (game design/development): Turning off my computer and sitting at a separate table with pencil and paper (while trying to keep Biddy from sitting directly on the paper I’m writing on).

Occasionally when I’m stuck on an idea, I’ll lay down to think about it. That often results in me falling asleep, so I avoid it if possible.

All of this came to mind this weekend when I was listening to a game design podcast. The designers were talking about the impact of their environment on the quality of their work.

One of the designers, Dirk, mentioned that he had recently expanded his office, giving him the luxury of creating little environments within the same space. He did this because he’s realized over time that he does his best work in different positions. So he now has furniture that facilitates all of those positions.

I thought this was really clever, kind of like having different glasses for different types of alcohol. If you do your best brainstorming in a beanbag chair, why not get a beanbag chair? Then when you’re ready to send e-mails, if you’re best at that at a cocktail table, why not get a cocktail table?

Have you found this to be true for the way you work? Do you do distinctly better work in different positions?

4 thoughts on “What Is Your Favorite Position? (for working)”

  1. Jamey,

    I figured that I wasn’t the only one to perform different actions in different positions.

    When I’m reading a set of rules or other aspects of a game that I’ve been asked to edit, I print everything (I can’t sit and read from the screen for a long duration) and sit in my red leather La-Z-Boy chair and make notes.

    While at work, I try to stand for most of the day ~ our new office has been equipped with a sit/stand desk and I love it (sitting is the new smoking), reviewing/answering all manner of correspondence, making calls, etc.

    While cooking demands standing near the “golden triangle” of one’s kitchen (the stove, refrigerator, and sink), I’ll occasionally sit if I have a lot of chopping and dicing to perform for some dish. 🙂


    • Joe: I like the addition of reading content for the purpose of learning it–I need to figure out a good position for that, as it needs to be a place where I can (a) take notes and (b) won’t fall asleep. 🙂

  2. Back at college, I found I did my best ‘figure out what I need to do next/how to solve a problem I’m having with a piece of code/etc’ stuff while walking the 3 miles or so home from college… Similar to how some people get their best ideas in the shower, or while washing up, but… With walking instead.

    To the point that I stopped getting the bus even when it was turning up as I got to the bus stop outside of the college, rather than just not bothering waiting 20 minutes for the bus. (I still accepted lifts if any were offered from classmates, but one day a week I was doing something at the building no-one else was so I always got at least one of those walks in a week)

    Annoyingly, that was around ten years ago, so the days before smart phones – I had to manage to remember the idea until I got home, then have the presence of mind to actually type it up, or remember it until the next day.

    • Stephen: I like that walking idea–I’ve found that even just pacing can help me answer specific questions. Perhaps I should try that instead of laying down.


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