Archive for the ‘Life Hacks’ Category

Taking Five – 7 Reasons Why You Need to Take Breaks at Work

Taking Five - 7 Reasons Why You Need to Take Breaks at Work

We are all guilty of being glued to our computers and smartphones at the office. We work for hours on end, sitting in front of the glow of the screen without taking a break. When a person spends hours in one position working, they are not just hurting their physical health, but also their mental wellbeing. If you aren’t “taking five” at work periodically or even taking lunch breaks, here are a few reasons why you need to start doing so.

 

The Health Issue

Sitting for hours at a time isn’t good for the body. While you can buy a chair that is designed for maximum comfort for long workdays, you still need to get up and move around for your health. Just like on long plane flights, you need to move around for better circulation. Poor blood flow will only cause aches and pains in the body.

 

Better Productivity

It might sound like a break won’t help with getting the job done. However, if you work for hours on end without a break, you might hit a few brick walls in the process. Breaks are key for actually getting things done. You become more productive if you take five minutes away from your job so the body and mind can refresh and tackle the task at hand.

 

Less Fatigue and Exhaustion

Our jobs can make us tired, especially we if never take a break from them. In today’s digital age, it can be difficult to unplug from the office. However, if you don’t get your mind and body away from your desk, you will only grow more fatigued and exhausted. Exhaustion can lead to other health problems down the road.

 

Eliminate Stress

Jobs are stressful. We have deadlines to meet and tasks to accomplish. If you sit all day focusing on these tasks, your stress levels will build up. The mind and body need a break from work to avoid getting too stressed about projects, meetings, and to-do lists. Stress isn’t just mental, either. It can lead to physical health problems.

 

Recharge Internal Resources

When you don’t take breaks at work, your mind can never really recharge from the work you are doing. You need to detach yourself from work to recharge those batteries again. Walking around or simply taking a lunch break helps the cognitive resources to recharge.

 

Focus on the Big Picture

Many of us are guilty of getting lost in our work. We fail to see the big picture as a result. When you don’t take a break at work, you can lose perspective. Your relationships outside of the office can suffer, in addition to your health. A break at work helps you to see the bigger picture beyond the computer screen.

 

Better Work

You might be working hard all day at your job, but that work isn’t always the best. Your product can suffer when you don’t take breaks. Fatigue can cause mistakes and errors that could be threatening to your job. Breaks allow you to catch mistakes more easily and produce a better product.

 

 

6 Tips to Improve Health without Sacrificing Free Time

6 Tips to Improve Health without Sacrificing Free Time

 

Pressed for time? Most of us are. It’s a symptom of modern living. In fact, most of us are so pressed for time that we sacrifice our health in pursuit of “getting things done”. The problem here is that you really can’t afford to sacrifice your health. No matter how little time you have to invest in fitness and better health, it’s vital that you take immediate steps. Thankfully, there are quite a few ways to improve your health without sacrificing the little free time you have.

 

1. Walk during Your Breaks

You get at least a couple of breaks each day at work, including your lunch break. Chances are good that you spend those breaks sitting on your behind. Take advantage of this time and walk around the office, outside the building, around the mall or somewhere else.

 

2. Take the Stairs

If you work in an office building, chances are good you ride the elevator up to your floor. You can get in some extra exercise without sacrificing any free time if you just opted to take the stairs instead. While that won’t really be feasible if you work 20 floors up, tackling a few flights of stairs each day can do a lot for your health.

 

3. Healthy Lunches

Workday lunch breaks are usually rushed affairs. You might grab a burger and fries, eat them in the car and then head back to the job. You might be one of those who skips lunch completely. Both damage your health. You can improve your health by packing a healthy lunch each day (or opting for healthy meals at restaurants rather than greasy hamburgers and fries).

 

4. Snack Regularly

Do you notice your productivity and focus flagging during the midmorning and early afternoon hours? Rather than reaching for that energy drink or a cup of coffee, grab a healthy snack instead. Snacking helps keep your energy levels up, and by eating a healthy snack, you provide long-lasting energy for your body without the sugar or salt found in junk food.

 

5. Get Up and Stretch

Sitting for hours on end in front of your computer is a bad thing. It leaves you open to all kinds of health problems. You can combat that and improve your health by just getting up and stretching every now and then. Once every hour, get up, stretch your arms, legs and back, and get the blood flowing once more.

 

6. Sleep More

If there’s one area in our lives that we suffer the most, it’s in sleep. We try to cram so much into our days that sleep has to take a back seat. However, losing sleep does much more than just leave you feeling groggy and unfocused. A sleep deficit can lead to heart problems, high blood pressure and more. Get enough sleep every day – your requirements will vary, but make an effort to get six to eight hours of shuteye every night.

These six simple tips can help you improve your health without cutting into the little free time you enjoy.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/heart/features/12-tips-for-better-heart-health

 

 

8 Tips for a Happier Workplace

8 Tips for a Happier Workplace

 

Workplace happiness once seemed unimportant. Workers came in to do a job. Whether they were happy about it or not was irrelevant. However, it actually turns out that happiness in the workplace matters a great deal. Psychology Today indicates that it can have a direct impact on everything from productivity to worker retention and profitability. Smart employers need to ensure that their workers are as happy as they can be. While that doesn’t mean you need to “coddle” them, it does mean that smart businesses should take certain steps. Below, you’ll find eight important tips to improve workplace happiness.

 

1. Focus on Family

Your workers split their time between the job and their families. Of the two, their families are ultimately the most important. Show that you care and put the focus on your workers’ families first.

 

2. Build a Community

Your workplace should be more than just a collection of different people busily going about their duties. There should be a sense of camaraderie, a feeling of togetherness. Your workplace should be a community itself. Inspire a feeling of community by encouraging mutual goals, group events and fostering connections between your workers.

 

3. Share the Spotlight

Your employees work hard for you and you need to give credit where it’s due. If your firm experienced a jump in profitability, share the credit with the departments and employees responsible (after all, your company didn’t jump up in the ratings on its own; someone had to put in the effort).

 

4. Lead by Example

If you routinely take time off, or ask employees to do things that you wouldn’t do yourself, you’re creating a negative workplace. Lead by example. If you ask your employees to follow certain policies, do so yourself.

 

5. Consider Alternative Office Layouts

One of the factors affecting your workplace’s level of happiness might actually be the layout of desks, cubicles and equipment. Be open to change. Look into alternative layouts that foster better traffic flow, let in more natural light and open the space up.

Treadmill and Manual Height Standing Desk for Light Usage

Treadmill and Manual Height Standing Desk for Light Usage

6. Encourage Hobbies

Let’s be realistic. Your employees aren’t all work and no play. In fact, chances are their true personality shines through in their hobbies and extracurricular activities. Encourage your employees to explore other interests and don’t denigrate hobbies and other pastimes in the workplace.

 

7. Stock Snack Machines Smart

Most offices have some sort of vending machines on the premises. Chances are yours are full of soda, cookies, crackers, chips and other junk food. Make a shift and encourage healthier eating. Bring in vendors who can supply high quality snacks and healthy foods/drinks, and your employees’ morale will rise.

 

8. Encourage Breaks

Break time equals less productivity, right? Wrong. If you actually encourage your employees to take periodic breaks, stretch, exercise and unwind a bit, they’ll be much more productive when they return to the job.

Following these simple tips will help you create a happier, healthier workplace and you might even be surprised at just how much that benefits your business.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201007/how-workplace-happiness-can-boost-productivity

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/happier-workplace-4-tips-from-iceland.html

 

5 Stress Reducers for Frazzled Parents

5 Stress Reducers for Frazzled Parents

 

Stress is unavoidable and inescapable. It’s part and parcel of our lives. In many ways, our bodies are built not only to handle stress, but to thrive on it. However, there is such a thing as too much. That’s particularly true for parents. Reducing your stress can have some profound effects on your family, and even on your relationship with your spouse (the converse is also true, so start cutting out those stressors now). If you struggle with stress in your family life (and most of us do), here are five important tips for parents to de-stress.

 

Finances Kill

The single largest source of stress in a family is finance-related. Money problems can take a happy home and turn it into a battleground. Money issues stress out parents, and that stress translates to the kids. It’s an endless, vicious circle. The best way to tackle stress from money problems is head on. Get a grip on your financial situation. Do what you need to do to get things back under control, even if there are some drastic measures needed (selling that second car, or downsizing your home, for instance). You’ll be amazed at just how much better you feel when you don’t have those bills (and bill collectors) hanging over your head.

 

Spend More Time Together

One factor that might be adding stress to your family life is not actually spending enough time together. If you, your spouse and your kids come home then head off to do your own separate things, try doing something different. Set up a family board game night each week, go see a move together, or engage in some other group activity that gets you all together.

 

Find Hobbies

Alternatively, the problem might stem from too much time together. Everyone needs a little alone time, and if you don’t get it, stress and resentment mount. Find a hobby that gives you a little bit of time do to your own thing. Start a garden, or pick up woodworking. Learn how to brew beer at home, or start scrapbooking.

 

Date Night

If it seems like it’s been years since you and your spouse were out on the town together, planning a date night can be just the thing to reduce stress and even rekindle that old spark. Let the grandparents watch the kids and go see a movie or a show. A nice dinner out, a concert together or just a stroll through the park can do wonders for your stress level.

 

Learn to Delegate Tasks

If it seems like you’re covered up with a never-ending list of tasks at home, it’s time to start delegating. No single person should be responsible for all the tasks and jobs around the home – it’s just not feasible in our modern world. Delegate to the kids and to your spouse, and then hold them to getting those things done.

There are plenty of other ways for parents to beat stress, but the five items listed above offer immediate help with some of the most common stressors.

 

Sources:

http://stress.about.com/od/parentingskills/Positive_Parenting_Skills.htm

 

5 Ways to Build More Free Time into Life

5 Ways to Build More Free Time into Life

 

Feeling like you’re stretching yourself too thin? There just aren’t enough hours in the day, are there? While no one’s invented a time machine yet, or a way to stretch the space-time continuum and add a few extra hours per day, there are things that you can do to build in additional free time. In fact, chances are good that you have more time than you realize. You’re just not using it correctly. Here are five ways to boost your free time and make better use of the hours you have available.

 

Cut Out Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, G+ and the rest are lots of fun. They help you connect with people in your life, and even make new friends. However, they’re massive time sinks. How many hours per week do you spend mindlessly clicking that “like” button or re-sharing the posts of others? How many hours do you sink into Farmville? Chances are good it’s more than you think. Track it, and you’ll see.

Make a To Do List

Lists aren’t all that fun to make, but they can be valuable tools if you’re looking to make the most of your available time. Make a to do list and prioritize it in order of task importance. Check off each item as you complete it. This will help give you a sense of accomplishment and ensure that you’re making the most of your time rather than focusing on unimportant tasks.

Delegate Items

Whether you’re doing housework or managing a busy office, you can make more of your available time if you delegate responsibilities. Understand that you don’t have to be the person to complete every single task. Get your kids involved in doing dishes, tidying up the house, gathering laundry. Get your spouse to contribute. In an office setting, delegate responsibilities to appropriate team members.

Get Organized

If you’re like most of us, you spend more time hunting for documents, files, folders and other things than you do actually involved with doing something. Every minute that you spend searching for something that should be right in front of you is a wasted minute. Get organized and stay organized. That applies just as much to your home life as it does to your work life.

Set Goals and Measure Progress

This is another tip that applies equally to home and work life – set goals and then measure progress toward those goals. Perhaps you want to improve your department’s performance by 5%, or maybe you want to finally clean out that storage building. Set your goals, track your progress and then celebrate your successes.

We all have more free time than we realize. The key is to identify where it’s being wasted. With the five tips above, you can cut out wasted time and free up a significant amount of time that you can spend in other, more productive ways. If necessary, start small (social media interaction, for instance) and work your way up to larger changes.

 

Sources:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201211/3-tips-make-your-free-time-more-productive

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/21/opinion/dunn-norton-time-famine