Increase Productivity with Ergonomics

As I look at my to-do today, I am definitely thinking about ways to improve my productivity, because I can’t possibly get everything done. As my days are getting busier, I have working on new habits for productivity and efficiency. Some of these changes have required some serious discipline, but I have already begun to see the benefits. These may help you, too.

Sit up straight while working on your computer. Poor posture has a negative impact on productivity. Maintaining a neutral typing posture will make you more comfortable and eliminate the sore muscles that drain your time and energy.  An ergonomic chair can help support good posture all day long, but even the best chair must be adjusted specifically for you. To customize your chair, start by adjusting the height so that your feet rest flat on the floor. Secondly, move your back rest to assure that you are well supported; you can also add portable lumbar support if necessary. Finally, make sure you have free movement of your elbows while typing.

Eliminate distractions. The average worker loses more than two hours a day because of distractions, including interruptions, phone calls, e-mail and office noise. Pay attention to what distracts you, and find a way to block it. As I sat down to write today, I closed my email and shut the door. There are some days when I turn on a white noise machine to cover conversations and surrounding noises. On really busy days, I try to check your email only once or twice a day to keep it from distracting me.

Warm-up for work. Arrive a few minutes early to mentally prepare for your day; these few minutes can set the tone for the entire day. Prioritize your to-do list and work on the most important tasks first, before checking your email or returning phone calls. I always try to accomplish one or two high-priority tasks before I even open email. And as you wrap up your day, spend a few minutes preparing for the next day. Clean off desk and lay out the tasks for the morning. I also like to check my calendar the night before to be mentally prepared.

Stand up! Did you know that simply standing up can boost your thinking power? According to a recent study at USC, standing up can increase brain function by 5% to 20%. Take a break and walk around to increase blood circulation. I like to stand up while making phone calls. I would really like to get a sit-or-stand ergonomic desk that attaches to your current work surface and elevates your monitor, keyboard and mouse in one, easy move. For now, I find a raised surface for my laptop during non-typing tasks, like reading and research.

Upgrade your keyboard. Did you know that poor typing posture actually wastes time?  Ergonomic keyboards are specially designed to support good hand position and make typing more comfortable and efficient. Consider trying a mini keyboard with a compact design that decreases the effort of each keystroke. When looking at a new keyboard, try several different designs to fine one that fits, and give yourself a few weeks to determining if it is really the best keyboard for you.

Good habits and supportive ergonomic tools can impact your productivity, helping you get a little further through your to-do list each day. Make sure you maintain good posture at your computer with a properly-adjusted ergonomic chair. Also, try standing for part of your day with an adjustable-height ergonomic desk, or find other creative ways to work while standing. And discipline yourself to stop wasting time on email or other low priority busy work. Making the effort to try new tools and create better work habits can help you squeeze the most out of every day.

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