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5 Lifehacks to Increase Activity in Your Job

5 Lifehacks to Increase Activity in Your Job

Most of us these days work in offices at desks where we barely get any exercise. As the human body is not designed to be sedentary, sitting too much can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many other ailments. In 2012, a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic conducted a study with 30 employees of a Minneapolis-based eco-friendly cleaning supply company in which their desks were replaced with workstations that allowed them to either sit or stand while working. Mayo Clinic endocrinologist James Levine conducted a similar study in 2007 with a financial staffing firm where the 18 employees who had been more active during their workday lost 150 pounds collectively.

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tired at work

    Moreover, activity not only benefits your health but also your performance. In another recent yearlong study by the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota, Levine and his colleague Avner Ben-Ner, professor at the Carlson School of Management, found that treadmills boost productivity in the office. They surveyed both workers and supervisors who measured workers’ performance on a 10-point scale. By the end of the year, study participants scored a point higher when the treadmill desk was in their office than when it was not.

    If you’re also inspired by these findings to be more active during your workday, consider the following lifehacks:

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    1. Workstations

    Let’s start with the aforementioned workstations. Standing desks and treadmills can significantly increase your activity if you work long hours at a desk. By standing while you work, you can burn an average of 200 to 400 calories depending on your weight. That number increases if you walk on a treadmill. Moreover, not sitting for eight hours straight will also benefit your back, heart, and metabolism, among other things. 

    2. Move as much as possible

    If you’re cramped in a cubicle for eight hours, it can be difficult to find ways to move. To enhance your movement, try to rearrange your office so not everything is within arm’s reach. If your supplies and equipment are more spread out, you will automatically move more throughout the day. You should also consider taking as many breaks as possible. Take a walk outside around the building or up and down the stairs–just get moving. Instead of emailing or texting your coworkers, walk to their workstations. Incorporate little exercises and workouts in your daily office routine.

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    3. Don’t drive to work

    Unless you have a really long commute, think about ditching your car when you go to work. Choose to walk, bike or use public transportation instead. Just think about how much you exercise you’d accomplish with a 20 or even 50 minute walk or bike ride to your workplace and back. You might not even need your gym membership anymore! If your long commute demands you to drive, you can still increase your activity by parking as far as possible from your workplace and walking from there.

    4. Make your office dog-friendly

    Myriad studies have shown how dogs in the workplace reduce stress levels and enhance productivity. A dog-friendly office can also increase your activity. Dogs naturally need regular exercise, so you’ll need to take them out once or twice a day if they’re your office mates. Just taking them around the block or playing fetch in a new park for a short while can have a significant impact on your health. The CDC recommends 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity physical activity to decrease the risk of developing diseases such as type-2 diabetes–merely two dog walks.

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    5. Choose an outdoor career

    There is a plethora of well-paying jobs and industries out there that don’t require you to sit in an office all day. RSI, for example, points out that there are numerous careers you can chose from that will get you out of the office, from electrician and HVAC mechanic to solar panel installer, to name only a few. If you work in civil engineering, you work on public construction projects like highways, bridges or dams. If you’re employed in the environmental industry, you’ll check sites for environmental hazards, like poor air quality, pollution or wastewater. Other outdoor careers include urban planner, geologist, lifeguard or ski/surf/snowboard instructor.

    So, now you don’t have an excuse for not being active in your job. Incorporating just one of these tips can have a huge effect on your well-being and productivity. As First Lady Michelle Obama says, let’s move!

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    Last Updated on August 20, 2019

    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

    How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

    Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up.

    You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out. But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

    Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

    “If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

    It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

    Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

    As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

    As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

    Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

    Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

    1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

    When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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    Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

    2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

    Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

    But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

    If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

    Check out these important listening skills: 13 Powerful Listening Skills to Improve Your Life at Work and at Home

    3. Go to All Office Networking Events

    Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

    If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

    Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

    Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

    The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

    Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

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    4. Show Initiative

    Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

    Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

    Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

    5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

    Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

    Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

    6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

    A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

    Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

    Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

    A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

    Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

    Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

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    These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

    Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

    7. Find a Mentor

    With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

    Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

    Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

    Not sure how to find the right mentor? Here’s How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed.

    8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

    After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

    What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

    Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

    Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

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    You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

    9. Set Your Professional Bar High

    Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

    Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

    Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

    Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

    The Bottom Line

    Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

    “Half of life is showing up.”

    The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

    Remember, your career is your business!

    More About Continuous Growth

    Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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