Tracking Standing Desk Time

Figured I would share this new integration of beeminder in my life. Despite having a sit/stand desk, I have found myself increasingly falling in to the quicksand trap of sitting. The solution? A Raspberry Pi logging my standing time to a beeminder goal (

The raspberry pi set up is documented here for those interested:

I used the initial script in the tutorial to read the magnetic sensor and added some simple logging of the minutes to beeminder

Here are some pictures of the set up


Cool, standing desks should come with these sensors built in.

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Wow, this is a really cool solution! Previously, I had thought of putting a NFC tag in another room or floor (and when your phone’s GPS shows you are in the general vicinity, you have to scan the NFC tag every X minutes), but I figured that was unnecessarily complicated. This solution is much more elegant.

For anyone with a similar goal, but is less tech-savvy, I’d recommend starting out with a little applet called WorkRave. I have it set to remind me to get up every 30 minutes and walk round a bit. It won’t track how many minutes you’re standing rather than sitting, but as I understand it, most of the harms of sitting come from prolonged inactivity of the legs, rather than total minutes standing.

I beemind each time I skip one of these prompts, and WorkRave also keeps its own internal stats. It’s still sometimes tempting to indulge in a skip, and less honest users can either not enter the skips into Beeminder. Still, it’s an effective enough nudge most of the time.

I might look into this Raspberry Pi implementation just for fun though. I’ve been meaning to get a Raspberry Pi to play around with for a while now, and this seems like a easy project to jump in with.

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Hey, I have a Varidesk pro 30 plus and I also was thinking on how to do this. Although I am pretty good with Pis I was actually thinking of using an ESP8266.
However, I also build raspberrypi distros. So if you think we could build something more complicated, like having a web sever where you login and see your progress, we could do that too.

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I’m revisiting this as I’d like to track this as well. Thinking of a few options:

  1. Use a magnetic switch sensor to track position, and a motion sensor to track activity
    Pros: Simple
    Cons: Would require multiple sensors for each position I have it in, unless I just go for binary but that would likely be unreliable (unless I possibly added additional magnets?) - movement of my desk to any other position (possible) would be problematic
    Inspiration found at Tracking Standing Desk Time
  2. Place/wire a secondary button next/on top of existing buttons
    Pros: Easy to do, doesn’t change workflow
    Cons: Requires more manual work/intervention
  3. Rewire/program the whole thing (something like Home Made Standing Desk Raspberry Pi Controller | Timmy O'Mahony)
    Pros: Looks awesome
    Cons: Looks like a lot more work :stuck_out_tongue:
  4. Manually bug me every time to enter information like someone mentioned above
    Pros: No technical work required
    Cons: Not really “automatic”
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