Are you a desk jockey? Does your livelihood rely on your ability to stay seated for hours on end?
Spring has arrived (at least here in North America) and with it the urge to bolt from my desk and enjoy the bright light. The sunshine calls to me … begging me to come out to play!
So how does a writer, or any other desk-jockey profession, manage to keep their butt in the chair when there are so many things to distract? And, assuming we stay in our chairs, is that really good for us?
There are some definite “rules” for those who must spend an inordinate amount of time seated at a desk and tied to a computer. The following are just a few:
- Invest in an ergonomic chair, comfy but not too plush. Your back, hips and legs need support. A couple of years ago I purchased a high-end office chair made by Serta®. It’s the best $250 (on sale) I ever spent.
- Along that same vein, if your desk job involves a lot of keyboarding (e.g., a writer such myself), make sure you have your keyboard angled properly so that your wrists and hands remain in as straight a line as possible. A 90-95 degree angle is best for avoiding carpel tunnel.
- Take breaks every hour or two. Even if it’s only to walk around the house. Avoid turning that hourly walk into a trek to the kitchen (coffee excepted, of course).
- Do NOT eat at your desk. Studies show, people who consume their meals or snack at their desks tend to gain weight faster than those who are still sedentary but refrain from bringing food into their office area.
- Keep a water bottle handy. Sip frequently rather than go without and then down an entire bottle at one time. This helps to reduce foot and ankle bloat by evenly distributing the intake of fluid.
- Familiarize yourself with desk-ercises. I’ve including a handy chart for a few suggestions.
- If you’re someone who can walk and type, consider a treadmill desk. However, WARNING: Studies have shown that a treadmill desk does not lead to weight loss or even weight management and has been shown to reduce overall productivity. Personally, I can’t picture being able to type complete chapters while walking. The treadmill desk works best for people whose jobs are phone-centric with only data entry (e.g., customer service call centers), rather than those who have to type expansive amounts of text.
- Use of other forms of equipment (e.g., stationary pedals or sitting steppers) beneath the desk will also stimulate both energy and stave off swollen ankles. The under-desk pedal bikes can be found for under $75 at both Walmart and Amazon. The sitting steppers are under $20 from Amazon.
- Vary your work to stave off boredom. Boredom leads to improper posture and slouching of hands/wrists. As a writer, I find breaking my work up into blocks for creating new work, attending to social media, or switching between works-in-progress helps to keep my brain active. When the brain is active, the body follows. Usually.
- Engage your brain. Stimulate your body’s energy by pushing the limits of your creativity. Think outside your normal genre. I’m currently in the final edits stages for a book so far out of my comfort zone it comes from outer space!
These are just a few suggestions for helping us survive our desk tether. Of course we still have to find a reasonable way to block out that enticing sunshine.
I’d love to hear what others do to keep themselves at their desk without tiring themselves out.
Until next month, keep writing, keep moving, keep engaged.