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15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency

15 Simple And Quick Office Stretches To Boost Work Efficiency

If you work in an office, the chances are you’re spending a minimum of 8 hours sitting down – that’s 40 hours a week.

I mean, think about it. You might drive to work, sit down at your desk for at least 6 hours at work, drive home, and sit down to watch TV or read a book. Am I right?

And if you think that’s without it’s health risks, you’d be seriously mistaken. So next time you’re feeling a bit fidgety or you’re on your lunch break, try these 15 office stretching exercises. They’re simple, quick AND they’ll give you that energetic boost you need to increase your productivity – it’s a win-win situation!

1. Neck & Shoulders

Office Shoulder Stretch

    Hunching over your desk can strain the cervical spine and stiffen our shoulders. Try reaching your arms behind you, interlocking your fingers and lifting you arms. You should feel this stretch in your chest and shoulders.

    2. ‘Cow’ & ‘Cat’ Pose

    Cow and Cat Yoga Pose

      This is a yoga pose which aligns your spine and helps to improve extension and flexion in your back. Start on all fours (if you can find an empty space) and switch between arching your back like a cat and lifting your head and tailbone towards the ceiling.

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      3. Back of the Legs

      Office Leg Stretch

        If you don’t sit properly (and let’s be honest a lot of use don’t) you could be reducing the ability for blood to circulate properly, especially in your legs. Remaining seated, extend your legs and reach down towards your toes.

        4. Overhead Stretch

        Office Stretch

          This one should be easy, as it’s a natural stretch that we all do when we’re feeling a bit stiff and tired. Simply raise your arms above your head, interlock your fingers and push away from yourself. Feeling better yet?

          5. Wrist Stretch

          wriststretchdesk

            This one’s for those of you who spend all day typing! Simply stand up and place your wrists on the desk so they face away from you, and apply pressure until you feel the stretch. Hold for a few seconds, and then follow with some wrist circles.

            6. Thighs, Flexibility & Balance

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            xblack_dress_pant_yoga_pants_9.jpg.pagespeed.ic._TZX6z7B9x

              When you spend all day sitting down, you lose a lot of your mobility and balance. Using the desk for support, stand up and raise your leg behind you, grabbing hold of the ankle (or your shin if you cant quite reach). Lift the leg as high as you can keeping your knee bent at a right angle. Hold for a few seconds then repeat on the other leg.

              7. Single Leg Squat

              Single Leg Squat

                Start by standing tall on one leg with your other leg extended out in front of you. Slowly lower yourself into a seated squat position. Repeat and remember to swap sides!

                8. Low Lunges

                Low Lunge

                  You should feel this one in the front of your hip. Start on your knees, then bring one of your legs forward so your knee is at a right angle. Stretch your other leg back with your shin (or knee) on the floor, then lean forwards ever so slightly to feel the stretch (if you don’t already!).

                  9. Stress Ball Squeeze

                  Stress ball squeeze

                    An oldie, but a good way to improve productivity (and bust stress!). It’s also a good way to get movability your hands and forearms.

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                    10. Eagle Arm Twist

                    Office Back Stretches

                      Stay seated and extend your arms in front of you at shoulder level. Cross your right arm over your left, raise your forearms and twist your palms inwards. Hold, and then repeat with your left arm over your right.

                      11. Forward Bend

                      Forward bend

                        Stand several feet behind your chair. Raise both arms overheard and ‘hinge’ forward from your hips, keeping your back straight. Hold on to the back of the chair to keep steady for a few second, then rise back up to stand straight.

                        12. Standing Leg Raises

                        Leg Raise

                          Start by holding onto the back of your chair (be careful if it has wheels!). Lean forward slightly and stick your butt out and hold your tummy in while kicking alternate legs towards the ceiling and lowering back down again with control. This will not only help to strengthen the leg muscles (which waste away when sitting), but also help lengthen the back.

                          13. Seated Hip Stretch

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                          seated hip stretch

                            Sit towards the middle of your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Place one ankle on the opposite knee and sit tall. Maintaining a straight back, tilt forward at the waist until you feel the stretch.

                            14. Spinal Twist

                            Seated Twist

                              Keeping seated with your knees in line with one another, place your left hand on your right knee and twist your entire upper body to the right, looking behind your shoulder. Hold, then twist back and repeat on the other side. This keeps your spine flexible.

                              15. …Now You’re a Pro Do This!

                              Office Yoga

                                It’s okay, you don’t really have to do this – and quite frankly I don’t even know how that’s humanly possible! It does look impressive though…

                                Featured photo credit: Alisa Matthews via flickr.com

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                                Trending in Productivity

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                                Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                                The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

                                The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

                                If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

                                Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

                                Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

                                What is the Pomodoro Technique?

                                The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

                                The process is simple:

                                For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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                                You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

                                Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

                                After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

                                Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

                                How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

                                Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

                                “You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

                                If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

                                Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

                                The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

                                You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

                                Successful people who love it

                                Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

                                Before he started using the technique, he said,

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                                “Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

                                Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

                                “It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

                                Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

                                Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

                                “Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

                                Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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                                “Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

                                Conclusion

                                One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

                                The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

                                If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

                                Reference

                                [1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
                                [2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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