I used to have a boss who was a huge advocate of lunch breaks and without fail she would leave for the canteen at 12 o’clock. Once in a blue moon, she’d eat at her desk and would always tell her team to get away from their monitors regularly. We all obliged but as the years went by and she left the company, my workload increased and I found myself frequently sitting through my lunch break. It became a rare occurrence not to spend some of my day wiping crumbs from the keyboard. (Yuk, so unhygienic – wasn’t there a study that came out suggested there were more bacteria on a keyboard than a toilet seat?!)
You may remember Dr James Levine, creator of the treadmill desk, who was credited with coining the mantra ‘sitting is the new smoking’ or when Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed ‘sitting is the new cancer’. Regardless of whether this was a dramatic and somewhat tasteless statement in order to sell more Apple Watches, the need to move during the day sprang to mind last week. My yoga instructor mentioned about a client she had a few years ago who confessed that during her eight-plus hour desk job she only left her chair to nip to the loo. Other than that she sat for the majority of the day in one position. This made me realise that the same could be said for me too.
While I exercise almost every evening, I sit for long periods during the day and the hours can race by before I rise. When I do get out of my chair I feel stiff, tense and quite sluggish. When I was in a corporate environment I might have had lunch at my desk but I used to spend a lot of time moving around the office speaking to people face-to-face rather than on the phone. Now I work predominately from home I often feel like I’m skiving if I get up to put a wash on or spend longer in the kitchen than five minutes grabbing a drink.
I know my concentration slips after an hour so I’ve been trying to schedule in more breaks for a quick stretch and to grab some fresh air. I’m intrigued as to how others with desk-based jobs manage to get themselves up and about. If I get in the zone, I can lose track of time so I think this will some serious discipline. I asked Siri to set a daily alarm every hour during the week but she couldn’t deal with the frequency!
My husband has one of those fancy stand-up desks in his office. Last week I started to do half an hour working standing at the kitchen island but I spent the whole time distracted by dishes that need putting away. Maybe all this standing will make me tidier in the long run?
I saw the ‘tomato timer‘ mentioned on a blog the other day, which alerts you after 25 minutes to take a five minute break. This is based on the Pomodora Technique, a time management approach to a more productive way to work and study. Feel free to give it a whirl. I was surprised at just how quickly 25 minutes passes.
Does anyone participate in any desk aerobics? How do you make sure you schedule regular breaks and move around during the working day?
Cushion (previous season) gifted from Monsoon