Work, work, work. Every week I do my best to bring you tips to ensure your contractor business has the tools and tips it needs to succeed, but while hustling is an important part of life, it’s certainly not all of it. You are the most important part of your life and you need to take care of you.
The topic for today is how to stay healthy, both physically and mentally, while hard at work. Some of these may seem small and inconsequential, but trust me, they add up over the years. So, let’s get to work – but not without taking care of yourself!
There are many benefits to a standing desk, especially if you’re someone who tends to work most of the day sitting down. Granted, if you’re a contractor that mostly works outside, sitting down by the office is a welcome change of pace, so don’t force yourself to stand up in that case.
But for the more office-focused workers out there, a standing desk is a massive improvement. And don’t worry if you’re afraid to overcommit – there are many models that allow you to switch the sitting and standing position.
Among the benefits of a standing desk, you can find:
- Lowers the risk of heart disease
- Boost productivity
- Reduce back pain
- Reduces weight gain
The modern worker often hears that productivity is the key to success, and entrepreneurs will often put a lot of emphasis on working your hardest at all times, minimizing lunch breaks, optimizing down times – anything in the name of productivity.
I find that horrifying.
Yes, accomplishing anything means working hard, but as much as you may love the hustle, your sanity isn’t worth losing. Don’t feel like you have to pressure yourself into non-stop productivity or that taking a break is somehow holding you back. Everyone needs to take a break.
For that, I recommend the following:
Deep breathing and meditation. If you struggle to clear your head, there are many apps that can help with guided meditation and soundscapes to soothe your tired mind. But you can go a long way by simply turning off for a few minutes with deep breathing exercises. Personally, my work is entirely mental and not at all physical, so these moments of relaxation really, really help.
Take short breaks. Sometimes a short break is all it takes. Find a 10-minute Youtube video, a couple new songs you want to enjoy, read a chapter from a book – your mind appreciates these moments.
Rest your eyes. There’s no way to escape screens nowadays and our eyes suffer because of it. Remember to give your eyes a break at least once every couple hours, and if possible turn on night mode on smartphones and laptops if you tend to work at night.
Be productive your way
No one is productive the exact same way. There are tons of tips, lifehacks, methods, and apps to help you out, but at the end of the day you have to do it your way.
For example, I tried using the Pomodoro timer for my work – 25 minutes of focused work followed by 5-minute breaks. Turns out that for what I do, stopping every 25 minutes feels like too little time to focus, so I instead stretched my focus time to 50 minutes with a 10-minute break at the end. Works really well.
Of course the Pomodoro technique doesn’t fit all lines of work – for a contractor that’s out on the field following leads and taking new jobs, it’s not realistic to stop every few minutes. But if you find yourself struggling, look up different focus techniques and try them out. Bend them to your will if you have to.
The “right way” is the way you feel the most productive.
Maintaining a good posture is one of the hardest challenges for the modern worker. The main reason being that you can’t really notice a bad posture is harming you until it’s too late.
One of the ways you can help yourself is by setting a reminder every 20 to 30 minutes to perform a posture check, making sure you’re not sitting in a weird position for too long. If you find yourself sitting for long periods of time while managing your business, this is where a standing desk would really come into play.
While you’re at it, it’s also healthy to set a reminder for water. It’s far too easy to rely on soda, energy drinks, coffee and other beverages and forget about the most important one.
Listen to music
Music can become a powerful ally both for relaxing and concentrating, but you have to use it properly – and at the right moments.
Thing is, music can also be distracting. Once again, for a personal example, I cannot listen to music with lyrics while working because it bugs me badly and messes with my concentration. However, ambient tracks make for great company and really help my productivity.
The general idea is that for more mechanical and repetitive tasks where you don’t need to be fully engaged, any kind of music will do. But when you need to concentrate on writing, creating, or any kind of mental activity that requires more thought and improvisation, lyrics can greatly influence your mood, focus, and overall productivity in a negative way.
But once again, that’s just the general idea. I know a lot of people who work with any kind of music just fine, it really changes depending on who you’re talking to. Either way, taking a music break is a great way to break up the monotony and relax for a few minutes!
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