Most of us spend our prime daylight hours in a cubicle, office or some sort of seated area. If you’re lucky, you get a short window of time to escape to walk down the block to pick up lunch. If not (and I’m not), it seems like you are literally sitting for nine hours a day. While it’s not ideal, there are small things you can do throughout the workday to help live a little healthier amidst all the sitting.
- Moving – Take a lap every hour – no exceptions: This is the simplest, but also hardest thing to actually stick to. Conference calls get scheduled, e-mails pile up, Twitter won’t check itself. That said, this is possibly the most important thing you can do to try to get some activity in during the day. Set a reminder to take a lap around your office, floor or – if you’re feeling ambitious – the block for every hour. When I’m feeling really sluggish, I use my Jawbone Up’s timer to alert me every 45 minutes to get my tush out of my chair and aim for 5,000 non-running steps a day. Another trick is to try to stand for the first five minutes of every conference call.
- Eating – Bring everything you could ever want to eat: My company is generous enough to provide snack foods, which at the right time hit the spot. But when I’m trying to eat clean, the cheesy crackers and buttery popcorn doesn’t really hit the mark. I make sure I pack way more food than I need in a day (e.g., a full tub of hummus and loads of veggies or a full box of oatmeal) so that whenever hunger strikes I have my arsenal and don’t need to tap the unhealthy options. (That said, exceptions are always made for leftover meeting food or a co-worker’s party.)
- Thinking – Temporarily change your workspace for a fresh perspective: If you have a relatively flexible office, try to take advantage of a change of scenery to work for a bit. This can be anything from borrowing an empty desk, proofreading documents in the kitchen or taking your laptop to grab a cup of coffee (the last one also accomplishes the moving bucket). Changing your surroundings can help you think of the next big idea and give you a little jolt of energy into your work. This, in turn, will help motivate you to move more, which will then help impact your focus. You see, it’s a wonderful cycle!
It’s easy to let the workday slip away from us – and I’m guilty of letting it happen all the time. But with a little foresight, advance planning and creativity – you’ll feel less like a desk jockey and have more energy.