A healthy desk life doesn’t mean balancing on a yoga ball with a kale shake and personal masseuse. Simple tweaks to your surroundings and additions to the desktop can help stop concentration from waining and boost concentration as afternoon tiredness creeps in.
On average, office workers spend the equivalent of five years of their lives sat at their desk. That’s a long time slumping your spine in an unnatural position and glueing your eyes to a bright scree. Use these seven tips to increase focus and break up a hard day’s work,
Shrug It Off
It’s second nature to shrug your shoulders as the printer flashes ‘error’ for the fifteenth time. But slow that motion down to eight seconds with a pause at the top and you’re actually performing a stress relieving stretch. Rather than smash your first through the HP-Colour-12345, breathe in deeply and lift your shoulders up to your ears. Hold the shrug, then breathe out and release.
Ask For A Raise
If your computer has been planted on your desktop with little consideration towards your height, it’s time to ask management for a raise . . . in computer displays. According to Dr Jim Sheedy, director of the Vision Performance Institute at Pacific University, the top of your screen should level with your eyes. If your screen is any lower or higher, you’ll adapt to it by moving your head. Avoid posture like the Hunchback of Notre Dame and set your eyes to look down by 10 degrees.
Play With This
Fiddling with something helps to ease stress and increases productivity, unless it’s that thing dangling between your legs – that’s a distraction. A study from the journal Cognition found that having brief breaks from work can prolong concentration by an extra 20 minutes. Find something like a small squidgy ball to improve performance and don’t skimp out on regular coffee runs.
Research shows that listening to music improves mental well-being and increases motivation. Valorie Salimpoor, neuroscientist at McGill University, found that pumping your favourite jams raises levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body respond appropriately to stress. No more hissy fits when the fridge iso out of milk
Research from the Eye Care Trust found that you spend almost a third of your life staring at a screen. You better be looking at something interesting. With 90% of computer users admitting to regular headaches, sore eyes and progressive short-sightedness – there are three easy fixes.
1. Adjust the brightness of your computer screen or use an anti-flare film.
2. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away. It’s called the 20-20-20 rule.
3. Grab a pair of Owndays PC glasses and cut out 40% of the screens damaging blue light. ($98 Owndays.com)
Chewing a minty gum could boost brain activity more than a double espresso. Dr Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, found that peppermint stimulates the nerves in your brain responsible for feeling awake and alert.
While no-one in the office will thank you for turning the office space into a sauna, research from Cornell University found that office employees work better in warm conditions. Trying to concentrate in temperatures 20 degrees or lower leads to an increase in employee error by 44 per cent. Like Sean Paul, get the right temperature.