How to Sit at a Desk

  • Proper foot and leg alignment are key to proper posture
  • Take breaks from sitting to walk around and even stretch a bit
  • Adjust your gaze and the placement of things you use regularly

You might not think very much about how you sit at your desk, but the truth is that how you sit, whether you stretch, and how often you get up can affect your overall posture, your health, and how you feel at the beginning and end of every day.

Lawyering often requires a high level of stamina and focus, and you can’t achieve that if you’re sitting incorrectly for hours at a time. Here’s how you can sit at a desk in the most effective and productive way.

Proper foot and leg alignment

If your feet are stretched out in front of you and you’re slouched down in your chair, unfortunately, you’re doing it wrong. Are you sitting that way right now?

Sitting up straight depends on a lot more than moving your shoulders back and straightening your spine (which, obviously, you should also do) — while you’re sitting, make sure your knees are bent at or around a 90-degree angle and your feet are placed firmly on the floor. This way, your back will naturally end up in a straight position.

Take breaks

Even though it might feel unproductive, for both your mental and physical well-being (and, it turns out, for maximum productivity), it’s actually quite helpful to take frequent breaks from your desk. Set your phone or watch alarm, get up, and move around briefly every half-hour or so — for bonus points, try to stretch a little while you’re at it — to make sure you’re not being too sedentary, which can adversely affect your health even if you’re an active person otherwise. And yes, you still have to do this no matter how busy you are, how many briefs you have to review, or how many client calls you have to make.

Adjust your gaze and placement of nearby items

Even the little things can affect your posture and health while you’re sitting all day, including where you’re looking and where your things are placed. Make sure all your most-used belongings are well within reach so you don’t have to strain to get them, even if this involves moving most of your stuff a lot closer to you than you think it should be. Also, be sure to keep your gaze closer to the center of your screen, which can stop you from slouching. If your line of sight is as centered as possible, your body will be too.