1. A Better Diet
This one is hard. Eating better at work takes effort and discipline, but a little efficiency goes a long way. To avoid food-court runs and Uber Eats, try meal prep. On Sundays Lauren and I make our bulk meals for the week ahead. I follow a plant-based diet and tend to do simpler individual prep, such as a large pot of bulgar wheat, roasted vegetables and a sauce that I interchange with some form of hot sauce. Lauren might make a curry or a stir-fry. Putting these into Tupperware containers makes it easy to grab one and heat it up, plus they freeze well. Add in a healthy snack like fruit and you’re set. If you get bored of flavour easily, make two sets of meals for the week and alternate.
Even Better Tips:
- Prioritise your lunchtime and don’t eat at your desk. I’m a fan of reading outside when I eat so you’re not only getting vitamin D but stimulating a different part of your brain
- Beware office treats, get an accountability partner to help you with this one. We’re all about balance, so if you’re going to indulge, don’t go overboard. Just remember to enjoy whatever delicious treat you do eat
- Switch to tea and water after your second cup of coffee (I’m still working on this one)
2. A Better Body
Sticking to the first tip will help with your fitness goals because diet already makes up 80% of weight loss. A balanced and monitored diet during the week will help ensure you’re on your way.
If you’re sitting all day, then you’re already risking muscle degeneration, an inflexible spine, bad circulation and of course, a soft belly. Just look at this fun article for all the other things that are probably happening to your body already!
Your chiro will tell you that you need regular and consistent bursts of activity. We’re certainly not suggesting you go off into the carpark to do a couple downward dogs, but when you can, hold walking meetings, put “movement reminders” on your phone (if only to look busy), or attend a lunchtime class at the gym.
Even Better Tip:
Look at buying a standing desk or propping your computer on a raised surface: It lowers the risk of heart disease, lowers blood sugar and this study reported participants had less stress and fatigue than those who remained seated the entire workday.
3. A Better Mind
When our deadlines are weighing heavy on us we tend to panic and try work at warp speed. When I was working in advertising, I’d side-eye my clock every few minutes which would only increase my anxiety and decrease my productivity. Rest is a crucial here. Why do you think smokers rush off for a puff multiple times per day? They’re essentially craving those deep breathes.
Taking a breather is one sure-fire way to stopping that anxiety in its tracks. There are loads of great exercises available with wonderful benefits, for instance, “exhaling is linked to the parasympathetic nervous system, which influences our body’s ability to relax and calm down”.
Even Better Tip:
Have you considered meditation? We’ve all heard the spiritual and mental benefits of zoning into ‘self’ and practicing mindfulness, but now science is weighing in.
4. Better Efficiency
I’m a master procrastinator. I used to think this was somehow related to being lazy, but studies show that people avoid work for multiple reasons, such as depression, anxiety, being scared of failing or just feeling overwhelmed with the task at hand. Doing something you don’t want to do is an obvious reason people procrastinate, begging the question, “doyou even like your job?”. That’s an even bigger conversation we can unpack later. For now, finding out why you procrastinate is key to increasing your productivity and will lead to much less stress and anxiety at work.
Even Better Tip: Make a Distraction List by Nick Wignall
- Whenever you sit down to do some meaningful work, keep a small notebook or pad of paper and pencil next to you.
- When you notice yourself distracted by a particular thought, feeling, or any other internal event, quickly jot it down and then re-focus your attention onto your work.
- When you’ve finished your work, briefly review your Distractions List: Take note of anything important on the list and make a brief plan for taking care of it(e.g.: Set a reminder in your phone to pick up bananas at 5:05 pm).
5. Better Organised
My mother called it “messy bed, messy head”. What’s on your desk right now? How many sheets of paper need to be filed or notebooks need to be packed away? Do you need three pens, a dirty mug and a bag of peanuts within reach? Clutter impacts your productivity, emotions, and ability to concentrate.
Clean up, file, pack away… you know what to do.
Even Better Tip: Can’t get anything done at your desk? Go sit somewhere more neutral and tidy if you can’t tend to the mess right now.