Your brain is busy enough -- so why not let your computer remind you when it's time to take a pause? Numerous apps can handle the task free of charge. Check out Workrave for Windows or Linux, Time Out Free for Mac or Gimme a Break! for the Chrome browser (on any platform). Each program allows you to configure regular reminders for getting up, stretching your legs and giving your brain and body a well-deserved break. No more excuses!
Married to your desk? 5 tips for a better relationship
Optimize your work area for better productivity -- no 'standing desk' required
Computerworld - Here's a sobering statistic: With a 40- to 45-hour work week, many Americans spend about 25% of the year on the job. For those of us who stare at computer screens all day, that amounts to more than 2,000 hours with our keisters glued to chairs. In less technical terms, we're practically married to our desks.
For as many hours as we whittle away at our workstations, though, most of us put surprisingly little thought into optimizing our offices. Quick: When's the last time you actually stopped to think about how efficient your physical workspace is? If you're anything like me, the answer is probably "never."
Workstation optimization can make a significant difference in your ability to get things done. Believe me: I've slowly but surely been making changes to my own humble office, and with each adjustment, I've noticed more productivity and less time wasted (unintentionally, at least -- my midday YouTube-browsing habit shows no signs of subsiding).
The best part: It doesn't take much to do a workstation tune-up. Here are five simple tips to get you started.
1. Take a comfortable seat -- then get out of it.
The hot trend du jour is ditching your chair and turning your workstation into a standing-room-only experience. But while standing all day might burn more calories, it's not going to help you get more done, according to Dr. Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory at Cornell University.
Sitting is more conducive to productivity, Hedge says -- it uses 20% less energy and allows you to type and mouse more effectively -- but that doesn't mean you should park your busy buns all day. Just ask the folks from NASA.
"We haven't evolved to sit or stand all day," says Dr. Joan Vernikos, a former director of NASA's Life Sciences Division who researched the effects of gravity on the body while working at the space agency. In her book Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, Vernikos argues that regular movement is the real solution.
"What's important is the change in position," she says. "We need to routinely be moving, and we need to be moving every little part of us."
Vernikos and Hedge both recommend finding a comfortable chair and desk setup (make sure the chair is adjustable and offers good lower-back support), and then standing and moving regularly throughout your day. Hedge suggests a quick two- to three-minute stretching break every 20 minutes, and then a longer break once an hour, in which you actually walk around and do something different.
A little help, please?
"But wait," you might be thinking. "If I stop working to stretch or walk around, people will think I'm slacking." That's why it's important to educate your boss and co-workers about the productivity benefits that come with mini-breaks -- or, better yet, have a qualified scientist do it for you.
"The studies that have looked at these frequent little breaks show enormous improvements in productivity as well as improvements in health," Hedge says, citing research conducted at the University of Connecticut in 1997. "You're looking at people doing up to 15% more work when they work like this, and it doesn't cost the company anything." That approach will serve you far better than any type of complex and costly sitting-standing combo workstation, Hedge believes.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- 4 Customers who never have to refresh their PCs again This paper illustrates a common theme: the combination of desktop virtualization and thin client computing helps organizations deliver an up-to-date user experience more...
- Mobile Devices: The New Thin Clients Get essential guidance for understanding the role thin clients plus virtual desktops play in the enterprise today.
- Taking Windows Mobile on Any Device Taking Windows applications mobile has many advantages, but the process of identifying a solution is complex. Learn how to solve this complex problem...
- PaaS - Powering a New Era of Business IT Why PaaS has suddenly become relevant and irresistible to many organizations. Dive into the opportunities and considerations associated with using PaaS from an...
- Redefine Your IT Operations: Remote Office IT Has Never Been Simpler Join us to see why PC Pro named Dell PowerEdge VRTX the "2013 Server of the Year." PowerEdge VRTX may be just what...
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have. All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts