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Movement energizes us and makes us more productive and efficient, and yet most knowledge workers spend eight hours or more sitting at a desk every day. Zack Arnold sits at a desk too, but he’s become an expert in building habits of movement into his daily life. On this episode, we talk about little tweaks to get more movement while at work, which will increase your productivity.

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Cheat Sheet

  • How sitting all day is killing your productivity (and how regular movement during the workday can actually make you more creative)
  • Why movement is vital for having energy
  • The number of steps you need every day to maintain good energy (it’s probably more than you think)
  • The difference between movement and exercise
  • How to quantify your activity and track your progress
  • The productivity benefits from making your office setup inefficient by forcing you to move more
  • How to effectively implement a time blocking habit (especially if you’ve failed at this before)
  • Breathing exercises you can do right now to increase productivity
  • A sneak preview of Zack Arnold’s content in the Asian Efficiency Dojo


Book, tool, ritual

Book: The Checklist Manifesto | The Art of Less Doing
Tool: Trello | FitBit | Heart-Rate Variability monitor
Ritual: Knockout 60 seconds of pushups while you are waiting for your water to warmup for your shower in the morning.

Connect with Zack Arnold

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Last Updated: February 12, 2024

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Asian Efficiency Team

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  1. Great podcast, Zack! To me, outlining the difference between movement and exercise was very important. I’m lucky enough to have a gym at work, but I have a friend currently looking at elliptical machines to pun under his desk. I’ll pass on the link to him.

  2. I really enjoyed listening to this – thanks Zack. I found the concept of NEAT really interesting. I can remember putting a pedometer on my young son one day a couple of years ago and he did a huge amount of steps over the day without actually going for a walk or doing any exercise, because he is just constantly on the move whereas all I’d done that day was go for a walk in the morning and moved very little after that. I can’t remember the exact numbers but we were very close in step numbers at the end of the day.

    I went out and bought a newer fitbit mainly because it has the feature that reminds me to get up if I haven’t done at least 250 steps over the previous hour. That motivates me a lot because I don’t like to miss an hour & get a gap when it shows me how many hours I’ve done 250 steps. I always feel disappointed if I don’t get 14/14.

    I like the flight of steps idea when you go to the bathroom. I think I’ll try and make this a habit too.

  3. Thanks for the in-depth podcast, Zach and Zack! I loved the idea of making your workplace less efficient to boost movement throughout the day. It’s something I haven’t done too well (quite the opposite, actually) and never really considered.

    I think a corollary to that idea would be to make fun things less efficient, and hard things more efficient. For example, if filing becomes a difficult task, papers will pile up on my desk. But if getting a snack, looking at my phone, checking email, and other types of tempting tasks are difficult, I’ll still do them, but it will require more exercise and movement.

    Either way, great suggestions!

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