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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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    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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    Published on October 8, 2019

    How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

    How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

    The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

    The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

    By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

    1. Define What Success Is for You

    There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

    Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

    2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

    Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

    Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

    3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

    It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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    By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

    4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

    A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

    One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

    5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

    You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

    Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

    6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

    If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

    Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

    7. Pick Up Some New Skills

    Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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    By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

    8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

    Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

    If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

    9. Make Yourself Indispensable

    Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

    It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

    10. Get Off the Fence

    People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

    If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

    11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

    If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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    Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

    12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

    If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

    Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

    13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

    Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

    Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

    14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

    Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

    A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

    15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

    The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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    Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

    16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

    Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

    Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

    17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

    It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

    Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

    18. Join a Professional Organization

    The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

    Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

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    Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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