How a Treadmill Powered a Time Machine
Recent studies show that people who sit all day are more likely to suffer from obesity and heart disease. The media reported this with their usual aplomb: A New York Times columnist declared: "Your chair is your enemy." Business Week warned: "Your office chair is killing you."
I’m an overweight, chronic sitter. This news was just the scare I needed to start losing weight. So I tossed out my office chair and invested in a treadmill desk.
It took a week to learn how to type and walk at the same time, but after that, I started spending six to eight hours a day on the treadmill. Even at a leisurely 1 mph pace, walking burns 100 calories per hour. Pretty soon I was burning an average of 3,500 calories a week. I toned up and lost weight rather quickly.
But the biggest surprise was the incredible increase in my productivity. You know that sense of perfect clarity you get after a good workout? That's how I feel at work—all day long. Articles that used to take days to write are done in hours. Once I finish one task, I can’t wait to start another.
Before I started walking at work, I was always buried under a mountain of e-mails and urgent, but unimportant, tasks. There was never enough time to do everything. My newfound productivity helped me clear away the busy work, leaving me windows of free time to work on big picture projects.
I persuaded a New York Times best-selling author to start writing for my personal finance website, Wise Bread; set up content distribution deals with publishers like US News & World Report, Yahoo! and Google News; and worked with two TV producers to set up an online pilot.
By creating more time for me in the present, my treadmill allowed me to see more deeply into the future. Thanks to this shift in focus, my business made quantum leaps into the future.
Will Chen is the cofounder and marketing director of Wise Bread, a top personal finance blog that offers daily tips on how to live large on a small budget. You can follow his tweets from @d2002 and @WiseBread.