Improving Productivity – 7 Tips to Balance a Healthy Lifestyle with Work

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The national average for taking sick days is higher than ever. This absence in staff members is taking its toll on productivity and therefore affecting the bottom line for every business. Although not all sick days can be accredited to employees getting sick, it is regular enough to look at ways to reduce sickness. A large portion of getting sick is due to putting the body through long spells of work, where the body does not function as it normally would. In simple terms, the immune system is unable to adapt and we get sick.   It is estimated that the average person sits for about 15 hours a day – that is over 60% of the day. Research has shown that office work, heavily reliant on computers lead to:

–        Eyestrain & Headaches

–        Obesity

–        Stress Disorders

–        Binge Eating

–        Posture Issues and back pain

–        Increasing risk of heart disease by up 64%

–        Increased risk of cancer

By sitting in the same position for long hours at a time you are potentially shaving off about 7 years of your life.   It all sounds like doom and gloom, however we can counteract the negative effects by balancing a healthy lifestyle with your current role within the office. These are my tips to ensure you are balancing work while taking care of your health:

  1. Drink more water – Everyone knows that your body is composed of about 60% water. Thirst can zap your concentration, energy and performance. Water allows you to maintain bodily functions in their natural state;

–        Increases Energy & Relieves Fatigue

–        Promotes Weight Loss

–        Flushes Out Toxins

–        Improves Skin Complexion

–        Aids Digestion

–        Boosts Immune System

–        Natural Headache Remedy

–        Prevents Cramps & Sprains

–        Puts You in a Good Mood

Recommendation: Have a bottle of water at your desk and aim to drink all of it by the end of the day – slowly increase your intake of water over time.

  1. Take up any excuse to move – Aim to take a break ever hour, even if it is for just a minute. It’s up to you how you use these breaks. You don’t even have to be away from your desk if you don’t want to, but get up and move. Quick ways to get some movement in:

–        Stand up, march in place

–        Go grab some water or a healthy snack

–        Stand up and stretch or just lean to get the blood flowing

–        Reorganize or clean up your desk

Recommendation: If you are on the phone, if you are stressed, if sleepy, if you are getting distracted or not in the mood to do any work – get up and move! Use this time to focus on your task at hand and get back to it. Essentially the idea is the wake up the muscles so your body can continue to function normally.

  1. Drink green tea – benefits are in abundance here;

–        Caffeine for the pick me up you may need;

–        Increased brain activity,

–        Bioactive compounds to help health,

–        Improves fat burning

–        Antioxidants to help fight free radicals.

–        Overall, it truly helps you live longer.

Recommendation: After lunch, or any time you go to grab a cup of coffee or tea – make yourself a glass of green tea.

  1. Keep healthy snacks around – everyone has cravings to get to sugar just to boost some energy or keep the sweet tooth at bay. However going to the sugary snacks only creates a crash cycle where the only way to continue is to have another sugary snack. So instead have some healthy snacks around;

–        Spoon of peanut butter,

–        Cottage cheese,

–        Mixed nuts,

–        Cans of tuna,

–        Fruits

–        Vegetable sticks.

Recommendation: Any time you feel yourself craving some sugar, or you need a break, grab yourself a healthy snack and take a short break.

  1. Take a walk – Next time you have a spare 10-15 minutes or you know that you will have to stay back late to get something done, take a brisk walk. Not only will you be burning up extra calories, you help clear your mind, ease stress, regain focus and feel more energized.

Recommendation: Join the office walking club, this will keep you more accountable about making sure you move. If you do not have a walking club in the office, create one! It will be a great way of breeding a healthy culture into the office.

  1. Pull the plug on emails and calls – Incessant emails or continuous calls can create havoc to your workday. They take away from one of the most precious resource we all have – attention. Research shows that an average worker loses 2.1 hours of productivity every day due to such interruptions. This is quite a delicate matter because as much as you may want to, you cannot simply stop answering emails or calls. The aim is to focus on each form of communication for a given time period.

Email Recommendation: By creating a specific timeslot where you handle emails, you can focus solely on dealing with the issues presented in the emails. Avoid viewing an email just because it pops up on your screen. Once people begin to realize you only respond at certain intervals, they will be weaned from the idea of expecting an instant reply.

Phone Call Recommendation The same applies to phone calls, turn on ‘do not disturb’ when you are trying to get work done. Then schedule yourself some time to deal with the call backs. You may feel that clients will not appreciate not being able to reach you, but the quality of the conversion and demeanor in your voice will offset whatever idea the client has that you are not being responsive. Similarly another piece of technology that tends to interfere with a productive workplace is personal mobile phones. Get into the habit of putting your phone on silent as you walk in every morning, this will create less distractions during the day.   Did you know? – Everyone has heard of France and their 35-hour work weeks and 5 weeks annual leave – well now two French unions have pushed new limits in place that bans workers from attending work phones and other devices after work hours.

  1. Stress Management – workplace stress is serious issue that most people experience. Stress built up can lead to several serious consequences that cost both the company you work for and also your quality of life. So it is very important to have an approach at dealing with stress. Stress can be managed in two ways; relieve the stress already present and limit the accumulation of additional stress.

Recommendation to Relieve Stress – Take deep breaths: this may sound like an obvious one, but it is not simply about breathing. The aim is to focus on breathing so you can relieve yourself of anything else that may be bothering you. It will allow your mind to re-focus on what work you need to get done. If you think breathing is simple try the count to 10 method – begin counting each breath. Count first to up to 2 and then start over, 1-2-3. Continue with 1-2-3-4, and so forth, up to the sequence 1-10. Have a go and changes will start to take place; your pulse rate will lower and blood pressure will normalize.

Recommendation to limit accumulation be prepared, be organized and schedule:

  1. Create a to-do list; it is easy to lose track of what needs to be done during the day or you can waste time by trying to figure out what to do next. The best way to avoid this scenario is to prepare a list of tasks that you need to get done by end of day. What you have is a list of mini goals and at the completion of every task you gain motivation to keep going.
  2. Schedule meetings either closer to the end of the day or at the start of the day so it does not interfere with what you need to get done for the day. The aim is to bunch up meetings so interruptions are reduced.

At the end of the day, to be productive at work, you need to enjoy what you do, stress less and balance it with a healthy lifestyle. By giving some focus to your mental and physical health, you will be able to perform better, make better decisions and take less days off. These same principles apply back at home when you may be watching TV or on the computer again – get into a habit of moving and taking care of your health.

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