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29 Exercises You Can Do At (Or Near) Your Desk

29 Exercises You Can Do At (Or Near) Your Desk

Putting in a full day at the office can make it hard to find the time to exercise. But most of us have a bit of a lag between tasks as we sit in front of our computers, and we can take advantage of a few minutes here and a few minutes there to get some physical activity in. You won’t get an extensive workout this way, but you can get enough exercise that missing a day or two of a more strenuous activity won’t make a difference. You can also avoid some of the ills that come from sitting at a desk for too long: sore wrists, stiffness, even repetitive motion injuries.

No one wants to do a mile run or anything else that will get their work clothes sweaty, but these simple exercises can keep your clothes neat and still get your heart rate up.

Feet and Legs

  1. Hip flexions. While sitting in your chair, lift your right foot a few inches off of the floor. Keep your knee bent at a 90 degree angle and hold the position as long as you are comfortable.
    • Leg extensions. While sitting in your chair, extend your right leg until it is level with your hip. Hold as long as you are comfortable and then relax it. Alternate sides.
    • Plié squats. Point your toes outwards and take a wide stance. Slowly bend your knees in the direction of your toes. Once you can no longer see your toes, slowly stand up. While plié squats are more graceful than regular squats, give them a pass if your work attire includes a skirt.
      • Toe raises. Lift your toes while keeping your heels firmly on the ground. While you can do this exercise standing, it works very well while seated.
      • Football foot drill. At practice, football players practice rapidly tapping their feet in place, simulating a run. Do the same thing while seated, for 30 seconds at a go.
        • Lunge. While walking, take the widest step you can and lunge forward.
        • Calf raises. Stand in front of a desk or other piece of furniture you can hold on to for balance. Raise your heels of the floor and slowly lower them.
          • Take the stairs. If you need a harder workout, try taking them two at a time — you’ll get a chance to stretch your legs more than you would otherwise.
          • Walk the hallway. Walk down the hallway as fast as you can without actually running.

          Hands and Arms

          1. Tricep dips. Put your arms behind your back, resting on your chair and slowly raise and lower your self.
            • Shoulder raises. Raise your shoulder to your ear, hold and then relax. Repeat, alternating shoulders.
            • Wrist stretch. Stretch your arm out in front of you with the palm up. With your other hand, grab your fingers and lightly pull them down to stretch your forearm.
            • Hand stretches. Tense and relax the muscles in your hands. Make fists, spread your fingers and bend your fingers.
            • Flapping wings. Stretch both of your arms up and back, as far as you can. Bring them forward until they meet and stretch your arms out in front of you. Repeat.
              • Water bottle weights. Use a full water bottle as weight to increase the difficulty of your work out. You can do front raises, overhead presses and bicep curls with a water bottle.
              • Shadow box. Stand up and take a couple of jabs at the air.
                • Arm pump. Pump both of your arms over your head for 30 seconds.
                • Elevated pushups. Lean on a sturdy piece of furniture and slowly push your body off of it in a sort of standing push up.

                Torso

                • Abdominal stretch. Sit on the edge of your chair and stretch your arms out. While keeping your back straight, contract your abdominal muscles. Relax and repeat.
                  • Neck rotations. Drop your chin and roll your neck. Raise your chin up and bend your neck to each side.
                  • Back twist. Sit up straight in your chair and place your right arm behind your right hip. Twist to the right and hold. Alternate sides.
                  • Wall sits. Rest your back against a wall and move your feet away from the wall. The wall should be supporting the weight of your back and your knees should be bent. Hold the position as long as possible.
                    • Glute squeeze. Tense up the muscles of your rear end and hold for a count of 10.
                    • Curls. Cross your arms over your chest and sit up straight. Tense your abdominal muscles and curl your shoulders towards your hips. Hold for a few seconds.

                    Full Body

                    • Chair dips. Place the palms of your hands on your chair and your feet on the floor. Move your rear end off of the edge of your seat. Bend your elbows and lower your body. Straighten your arms to return to the starting position.
                    • Chair squats. Lift your rear end off of your seat and hold for a few seconds.
                      • Low-impact jumping jacks. Raise your right arm and tap your left toe to the side at the same time. Keep your right foot on the floor. Alternate sides for a full minute.
                        • Pretend jump rope. Hop either on both feet at once or alternating feet.
                        • Pretend jump rope, version 2. Move your arms as if you are turning a jump rope while tapping one foot in front of you. Alternate feet.

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                          Sam Aloysius

                          Self proclaimed chai expert

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                          20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                          20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                          Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                          If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                          1. Create a daily plan

                          Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                          2. Peg a time limit to each task

                          Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                          3. Use a calendar

                          Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                          Google Calendar is great – I use it. It’s even better if you can sync it to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are.

                          Here’s more tips about how to use calendar for better time management: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                          4. Use an organizer

                          An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                          Check out these Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools and pick the ones that fit your needs.

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                          5. Know your deadlines

                          When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                          But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                          6. Learn to say “No”

                          Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                          Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                          7. Target to be early

                          When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                          For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                          Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                          8. Time box your activities

                          This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                          You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                          9. Have a clock visibly placed before you

                          Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                          10. Set reminders 15 minutes before

                          Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                          Find out more here about how reminders help you remember everything.

                          11. Focus

                          Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                          Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                          Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                          12. Block out distractions

                          What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                          I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                          When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                          Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                          13. Track your time spent

                          Egg Timer is a simple online countdown timer. You key in the amount of time you want it to track (example: “30 minutes”, “1 hour”) and it’ll count down in the background. When the time is up,the timer will beep. Great way to be aware of your time spent.

                          But besides Egg Timer, you can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that fits yourself the best.

                          14. Don’t fuss about unimportant details

                          You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                          Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                          15. Prioritize

                          Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                          Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                          16. Delegate

                          If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                          When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                          17. Batch similar tasks together

                          For related work, batch them together.

                          For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                          1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                          2. coaching
                          3. workshop development
                          4. business development
                          5. administrative

                          I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                          18. Eliminate your time wasters

                          What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                          One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                          While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                          19. Cut off when you need to

                          The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                          Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                          20. Leave buffer time in-between

                          Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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