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6 Ways to Survive Your Computer Job

6 Ways to Survive Your Computer Job

Some of the best jobs today unfortunately require being on the computer for long periods of time. And although using technology can be amazing, efficient, and fun, sitting at a desk all day is not easy; and in fact it is very bad for your health.

Here are 6 easy things you can do that can help counteract many of the possible health problems that can result from not taking proper care of yourself, and being stuck at a desk for the duration of your work day.

1- Rest your eyes

This may sound a little silly, but it is important to give your eyes periodic rest. Computer screens are hard on your eyes because of the harsh light they omit, and it can cause strain on your eyes to stare at a screen for too long. Your screen should be at least one arm’s length away from your face. Too much screen time can cause dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. This is why you should look away periodically and even close your eyes every once in awhile. You can also try doing some eye exercises. Try to give your eyes a break at least every hour of the work day. Even if you close them for only 5 minutes, it will help your eyes feel better and reduce the amount of eye strain.

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2- Stand up and stretch

This next thing is just common sense. Every half an hour to an hour, you should be able to stand up and walk away from the computer. Stretching your arms and your legs is important whenever you get a chance. Bend over, and touch your toes. Lean down and stretch your calves. Reach up with your arms, shrug your shoulders, and moving your arms in circles. Turn your head from side to side and up and down.  Anything you do to change your body position, is a good thing, especially if you can stretch periodically throughout the day. The worst thing you can do is to stay in a sitting position and remain that way for 8 to 10 hours at a time. A stationary position is bad for your circulation, your muscles, joints, eyes, shoulders, back, neck and even your wrists.

3- Drink plenty of fluids

Here is one mistake that almost everyone makes. It is easy to get caught up in your work and stay at your desk so you can get more accomplished. But, if you have to stay seated for a long time, at least drink plenty of fluids (especially water). Water is essential for keeping your liver working right and allowing your body to release toxins. You need at least 8 to 10 or more full glasses of water every day. It is easy to forget to drink more fluids when you are busy at work, but try to make it a habit. Keep a water bottle handy to remind you to drink more. And, if you are into outdoor workout activities like bike riding or jogging, you will need to drink even more water to compensate for the loss of fluids when you sweat.

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photo by Global Panorama, Flickr

    4- Eat healthy snacks

    Sometimes, it just seems more convenient to grab a sugary snack like a candy bar, a donut, or a piece of cake, because they are so readily available at convenience stores and vending machines.  Not only is the sugar bad for you, but most snacks also are loaded with calories, which increase your risk for excess weight gain. Try to make a conscious effort to keep healthy snacks on hand, both at work and at home.

    Raw fruit and vegetables are the best things you can munch on when you need a snack. Nuts and dried fruits are also good. If you just remember to have snacks that are low in sugar, and avoid things like chips and fried foods, you will be eating a whole lot healthier each day. Also try to avoid eating your lunch at your desk, because then you are tempted even more to avoid exercise and overdo your work efforts (and potentially mentally wear yourself out).

    5- Move around

    The most important thing you can do to prevent health problems from a computer job is to move around. Try to get up and walk every hour, at least, and don’t stay seated for more than 2 hours at a time. Stand up and walk around as much as you can. The more exercise you get, the better you will feel. On longer breaks, you should always try to do some fast walking, or climb up and down the stairs. Remember to stretch before any intense exercise.

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    6- Make time to unwind

    As soon as you get off work, make sure you take a little time to wind down. This is so important, because it can help both your mood and energy level. You need to allow your mind and your body to rest when you need it the most. After you get home from work, just take 15 minutes to a half hour to lay down and close your eyes. You will be amazed at how much better you feel after decompressing. It gives your body time to unwind so you can begin enjoying your time off.  Physical and mental relaxation and rest are extremely important for maintaining good health and ongoing wellness.

    Now, simply make it routine

    If you follow these simple steps, you will feel healthy every day. Rest your eyes, stand up and stretch, drink plenty of fluids, eat healthy snacks, get up and move and make time to unwind. These should be easy things to keep in mind. Try to make them a part of your normal everyday routine. And, when you try to stay healthy, life can be so much better because you will have the energy to do anything you want to do.

    The cost of working long hours

    The consequences of working long hours without a break, or eating too much junk food, and drinking too many sugary drinks, will catch up to you and eventually cause your health to suffer.  Being young does not mean you are foolproof from the effects of bad health habits. If you are a middle aged or older worker, these steps are twice as critical. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will start feeling weak and your immune system is likely to start breaking down, which will make you more susceptible to getting sick.

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    Serious health issues

    Poor health habits can lead to serious long term health issues, like increased risk for the three biggest global killers: heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Sitting for long periods has also been linked to weight gain and shortened life spans.  Many doctors believe that most, if not all serious health problems can be traced back to poor daily habits, such as not getting enough rest, or exercise, or eating a poor diet.

    So remember to follow these simple steps, and you will be on your way to a healthier happier work life, where you can be more productive and feel better each and every day.

    Featured photo credit: Photo by Jim Larrison, Flickr. via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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