10 Scary Work Habits You Must Start Breaking Now
We all have that, that one habit at work that we know is bad for us but we just can’t seem to stop or avoid because we’ve become so used to it or it has become too comfortable for us. But think about this—what’s comfortable now, what’s familiar, can be a source of great discomfort and grief in the future. This is especially true for work habits that are harmful to our health.
Whether it’s the food we consume, the movement we do, or the thoughts we think at work, all of these have long-term effects to our body. And if we want the effects to be good, it’s time to start developing good work habits and abandoning bad habits. In this post, we’ll share some of the top scary habits to avoid when working whether in the office or at home.
Which of these work habits must you absolutely stop today?
Whether it’s a habit you are consciously practicing or one you are not aware of, it’s time to put a stop to that habit now and start living healthier.
Slouching when working
This is too common that most people don’t even notice. What is often noticeable are the symptoms—back pain, stiffness in our shoulders and neck, sluggishness. Bad posture is one of the most common causes of body pains, so keep in mind what your kindergarten teacher used to tell you—sit up straight!
To make this easier, post a note in your work area to remind you to sit properly. Every time you see that note, straighten up your back. Your body will thank you later on.
Sitting for too long
No matter how good your sitting posture is, sitting for too long is not healthy. It causes poor circulation in the body and can cause all types of health conditions. Break the habit of prolonged sitting by standing up every 45 minutes—walk around for a little bit and move.
Even better, alternate between sitting and standing while working. If you have a taller desk, you can try this and see how it feels. Even better, get a proper standing desk for your workspace to make the shift from sitting to standing and back so much easier.
Working too close to the screen
This is harmful to both your eyes and to your upper body muscles. The glare of the screen can easily cause eye strain and damage your eyes in the long run. If your monitor is improperly placed or angled, your neck and shoulders will also suffer.
The proper distance between your eyes is the length of your arm from the fingertips to the elbow, ranging from 50 to 100 cms. Your eye should be level with a spot in your monitor that’s 5 to 10 cm below the top edge. If you don’t have enough space in your desk for your monitor, try to get monitor arms—they will reposition the monitor to make it easier to adjust them.
Working in bed
We all do this once in a while, but let’s not make it a habit. The bed does not provide the proper support the body needs while working. And, the bed won’t give you the best state of mind to accomplish tasks and be productive. It would be so easy to lie back down because most of us subconsciously equate bed with rest and relaxation.
If you’re working from home, make sure you have a designated workspace for yourself—with an office desk and an office chair to help you get work done for real.
Working in your PJs
In relation to the above point, working in pajamas is a big no-no even if you’re at home and your work does not involve meetings with video on. Why? Because being in your PJs will subconsciously send the message to your body that you are still in a state of rest. And it will be tough to stay productive with that mindset.
Dress smartly when working. You don’t need to be fully dressed for work—just in decent clothing separate from your bedroom clothes to tell your body that you are on work mode.
Not drinking enough water
Most of us don’t do this intentionally—we simply forget. When we’re so focused on work, it’s so easy for time to fly fast. One moment you just sat on your desk in the morning, the next moment it’s almost lunch time and you realize you haven’t gotten up your desk once. No movement, not even a sip of water. As a result, you may feel the start of a throbbing headache later on, a sign of dehydration.
To make drinking water easy, have a glass or a tumbler of water ready on your table. Or if that’s not enough, set an alarm. You can even incorporate this in the other habits mentioned above. When it’s time to shift between sitting and standing, drink a glass of water. If you incorporate this in other activities, it would be easier to remember.
Do you find yourself frequently munching on something while working? As much as it’s easy to forget to drink when working, or eat for that matter, it can also be easy to forget when you are already overeating while at work. This is bad for the body, especially if it’s junk food you’re frequently eating. It can also be bad for your devices—imagine all the crumbs falling into the spaces underneath your keyboard. Yikes.
So how do you break the habit? First, if you can’t seem to break the habit just yet, start by replacing the food you eat with healthier ones—fruits and nuts instead of chips. Second, this is where drinking water is helpful. Drink frequently so you feel full and won’t have less need to eat. And third, remove the temptation. If you have food on standby in your work desk, it’s so easy to reach for them. Remove them and stow them in your locker or somewhere you can’t see them—out of sight, out of mind.
Eating in front of the computer
This has become all too common in today’s work-from-home arrangement. Meetings can often extend to mealtime; other people even set virtual lunch meetings. This is not healthy at all. Lunch break is a chance to give your eyes some rest from the screen and to reset and recharge your mind.
If at all possible, go to your office pantry or to your dining room at home and eat there during meal time. It’s the best time to catch up with your colleagues and build relationships, the same way it is for your family if you are working at home.
Coffee has become many people’s best companion at work. In the morning, it gives us the boost we need to get started with work. During lazy and sleepy afternoons, it gives us the energy we need to stay awake and continue. However, too much caffeine is bad and can cause a wide range of health problems.
So how much is enough? Studies say three to five cups of coffee a day is still okay, but that depends on your body. Your body will tell you when it’s had enough, with signs such as palpitation. So, learn what is moderate for your body and stay within that limit.
Consistently, that is. We all value hard work, but too much is harmful. No matter how healthy your body is physically, stress can take its toll after a while.
A good amount of stress is healthy. But, if you often feel overwhelmed at work, or always rushing and running out of time, it’s time to evaluate your habits, your schedule, and your job. Solving the problem could be as simple as making adjustments in your schedule or in changing some work practice, or it could be as serious as asking yourself whether you are in the right job. No matter which it is for you, make sure you stay in a job that you love and one that makes you happy without causing too much stress.
So, which of these scary work habits do you need to start breaking now? The good news is that like all habits, unhealthy work habits can be changed—one step at a time. Once you’ve identified your own unhealthy habits, take the first step, and the next, and the next, until you’re all free from it. Good luck!
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