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Extra Pounds Kill Productivity: Hack Your Office’s Health

Extra Pounds Kill Productivity: Hack Your Office’s Health

Think your team is better off putting in an extra hour of work this evening than going to the gym? Think again.

The sedentary desk lifestyle affects more than your team’s health—it’s also hurting your company’s bottom line. Here’s why you switch your mindset and focus on productivity hacks to whip your team into shape.

Extra Weight Holds Your Company Back

In 2010, obesity cost the United States $73 billion, the culprit being lost productivity due to poor health.

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We are all well-aware of the consequences that come with being overweight: a higher body mass index puts people at risk of heart problems, cancer, diabetes, and even injuries. Those extra pounds zap your energy and make you feel exhausted. When you’re not exercising, you’re more likely to get sick, which means more days off for you and your team and less time spent building your business.

The thing is, you can’t blame overweight employees. How can you? They’re the ones putting in 50+ hour weeks to build your company’s products and help bring your team to success. They can’t escape sitting at a computer all day, and as soon as they get home, they’re too exhausted to cook healthy meals and work out. Not to mention, gym memberships aren’t always cheap. (This is one of the reasons we bring in free, organic lunches for our staff at Contactzilla!)

We’re dependent on technology to stay productive, and it’s hard to step away when we’re in the middle of launching new campaigns or getting close to launch day. Passion gets the best of us, but it’s also holding us back. Slowly but surely, all of that desk time will kill our stamina.

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Losing Weight is About Everyday Decisions

Look, there’s more to weight loss than whether you can trim down from a size 16 to a size 2. At the end of the day, numbers mean nothing compared to how you feel: after all, not everyone is built to be super skinny. People of all shapes and sizes need to find the right balance for them, which can feel scary and daunting but is actually much easier than you think.

Weight management starts with gradual change, not sudden shock treatment. It’s about developing new routines and sticking to your commitments.  Get lunch together (or bring it in for your team), have meetings while taking a walk, and encourage employees to go home earlier (or come in later) so they can spend some time exercising.

One of the best things your employees can do to get healthy is plan meals. Don’t make them do it alone. Encourage more office lunches, this way you (or someone at your office) can do the planning for them. As tough as it sounds, get rid of the sodas and juices from your office and replace them with tea and water instead. In many cases, you’re probably already spending money on snacks—prioritize healthy ones.

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A Healthy Office is a Productive Office

To build a healthier office, you need to implement change at the group level. Change shouldn’t be limited to one person because the success or failure of your organization depends on team productivity. Start by implementing a wellness program to help all of your employees get more active: This means encouraging healthy behaviors such as eating right, exercising, and quitting smoking.

Remember that mental, financial, and family health fits into the equation, too. Our bodies are part of larger systems, and if one element is out of sync, others will follow suit.

Don’t Forget To Take Preventative Measures

Make sure to focus on preventative care and education too. When employees are informed, they will be empowered to make healthier life choices. Bring the doctor to the office, and invest in incentive programs for an extra level of encouragement. It’s worth it. So jump in. The time to start getting healthier was yesterday.

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What do you do in your office to encourage a healthy lifestyle and physical activity? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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