Got ‘desk ass’? I don’t say that like I’ve been checking out your butt…although I’m sure it’s a lovely butt! Rather I’m guessing your days are spent largely sitting at a desk, either at a workplace or at a home office. Time between may be spent in meetings, on your phone, and/or commuting. In any of these locations or activities somehow your time likely feels disconnected from the rest of your life and buried under ‘To Dos.’
How can you tell its impact? The haziness of your brain, the number of times you suggest ‘googling’ items, the tendency to click an imaginary computer mouse, and the consistent warm patch on your desk chair.
It’s time to get tough with your office self-care to beat overwhelm without creating a sweat at your desk.
1. Design Your Morning to Respect Yourself. OK, so you’re not always in control of your own schedule – bosses, colleagues, kids, partners, clients, etc. are all factors. However, when you’re able to direct your own schedule, make the most of it! Don’t let your vital, energetic, creative efforts go to waste by spending your prime time on timid tasks, endless emails, and mindless meetings. Whenever possible arrange your day to maximize your productivity for when you’re the most alert. If you’re a morning person, tackle the most challenging tasks before lunch. If you rock in the afternoon, set up your tasks for then. If you’re a night owl, burn the midnight oil with evening networking and then online tasks. Find your ideal hours!
2. Turn Off Technology. Some people swear by multi-tasking and others abhor it. Which are you? I find moderation works best for me – in large part because it’s flexible to meet my changing schedule. For me, it helps to set time aside to focus on my online biz world by having specific times throughout the day to only check messages. The rest of the time I un-chime emails, silence my cell phone texts and calls, mute radios/TVs, etc. I’ll even wear noise-cancelling headphones – a great investment! This means focusing on one task at a time as much as possible. When will you answer your cyber calls?
3. Stretch Your Stress. Sitting all day can wreak havoc on the body. From headaches, neck pain, and jaw tightness to sore fingers from typing and a numb butt from sitting, we carry our work with us physically. Stress finds its way into the body’s nooks and crannies by tightening and clenching when we’re faced with pressure or discomfort, which builds up throughout the day, day after day. To loosen your limbs while at work, check your tension throughout the day and do a few simple stretching exercises. If you sense strain in your facial muscles, open and close your mouth, and wiggle your jaw. If it’s in your shoulders or neck, do a few neck and shoulder rolls. Get up for a drink of water – the water hydrates you, while the walk limbers you! Stretch your booty and stress will slip away.
4. Take Time Off. In this insanely techi-world, you likely find your mind ‘on’ a lot – thinking about what happened, what you’re doing now, and what’s next. While it’s important to be connected, it’s equally (yes, EQUALLY) important to turn your mind ‘off’ – you need time to NOT have to do any thing or be any where. To consciously create opportunities (and guard them fiercely!) to stay connected with the social, spiritual, and emotional aspects of a healthy personal life, schedule in ‘unplugged’ time each year, each month, each week, and yes, each day. By doing this daily, not only will your productivity increase when you’re working, but by having more balance you’ll savour life more. When will you take ‘unplugged time’ today?
5. Wrap Up One Day with Prep for the Next Day. Get a head-start on the demands of tomorrow by prioritizing your tasks ahead of time. Check your schedule and shuffle what you can to maximize your ideal productive time and book in some time off. Turn off as much of your techi-systems as possible – give them a nap! Finally, straighten up your work space so it’s clutter-free and organized for the next morning. You’ll leave one day completed and start the next day running!
Try out these office overwhelm-busting techniques, and you’ll see: Work doesn’t have to come with desk sweat!
About the Author
Whitney McMillan is a best-selling author, life and business coach, workshop facilitator, and motivational speaker who supports people weighed down by overwhelm to reach Overwhelm Freedom! Whitney is the author of Rock Your Overwhelm: Live in Clarity, Balance and Freedom. www.whitneymcmillan.com