This week at Weight Watchers we discussed reorganizing your spaces to help promote a healthy environment – to make boredom eating less of a temptation. After the meeting I started thinking about how similar the suggestions were to those made during a workshop I had attended on the Healthy Writer.
Many writers work from home and have a more flexible schedule – some even work in their pjs. I know from personal experience that having a set routine helps me stay on plan when it comes to avoiding mindless eating.
Here is a list of suggestions that can be applied to any home office
- If you have the space, remove your work area from the same floor (level) that the kitchen is on – that way the food in not easily accessible and you must get up to fetch a nibble . If you can’t do that make it a separate space from where food is present – in other words move out of the dining room.
- Your work space should be a NO FOOD ZONE – drinks, especially water, are good but no food. That handful of chips can easily turn into the entire bag. Remove the bowl of candy even if they are just mints. If you begin to feel the urge to eat while working take a drink or chew some gum.
- Eat regularly “scheduled” meals in a designated space (not in front of the tv or at the kitchen counter) instead of eating on the fly after you’ve sat working so long that you are now ravenous and hungry enough to eat an extra large deluxe pizza all on your own. Plan snacks like fruit, veggies or a cheese stick to help hold of the mindless munchies.
- Get up and move. Not only is this good for your body, getting the blood flowing is good for the brain. Set a timer to go off every 60 minutes get up and stretch for 5 minutes, walk around the room, refresh your drink, get a piece of fruit, check to make sure the kids, the dog or your husband haven’t destroyed the house, do something to take your eyes off the screen and your body out of the chair for just a few minutes; and then with a deep breath set the timer again and get back to work. I know when you are in the zone this can be a major disruption, but consider how much more of a disruption a health issue can be.
- If you have the space move your printer to the other side of the room so you are forced to stand and take a few steps to reach it
- Get a good chair and a foot rest – lifting your feet just a few inches off the floor helps with circulation and relives pressure on your back and hips – you know that “old man” feeling when you get up after a marathon writing session. If you can’t afford a chair with back support put a pillow behind your back and you can use two or three reams of paper for your foot rest, until you have to load the printer. I use a wooded box I bought years ago at a flea market. Ergonomics is not my thing but I do know that if your keyboard is too high or too low you will get sore shoulders and wrists – same with the height of your monitor. I was told that the top of your monitor should be level with your forehead so that when you are looking at the screen you don’t have to tilt your head down. I have this set up at home but not work and I notice the difference. Guess I should make some adjustments.
- Keep your space neat, try to see your home office as an office where you may have potential clients. You wouldn’t want empty soda cans or candy wrappers lying about.
- Get dressed – don’t sit around in your pajamas all day – for me it promotes the “lazies”, but dress comfortable.
- Have a daily routine. Routines help us keep on track – plan meals, plane activity, and plan alone time. You don’t have to become a robot and do the same thing every day but you should have an idea of time management from the moment you get up. Its “simple” , get dressed, eat breakfast, go to your work space, work X number of hours, eat lunch, take a walk, go back to work, pick up the kids, make dinner, spend some family time, and most get some sleep!
- Most importantly make time for yourself and your family /friends; they are your support system. Okay, yes you’ll have deadlines and you’ll have to throw all of this out the window and plant your butt in the chair and work until you fingers fall off, but when you are not under the gun remember to have a life.
Don’t forget your environment as a whole
- Decorate your work space with colorful interesting items you can look at to give your brain a break form staring at the screen, but keep the clutter to a minimum
- Paint the walls a soothing color so that keeps your mind awake but doesn’t make you vibrate – my work space is painted in “Latte” and decorated in reds, oranges and golds
- While tv’s can be a distraction a radio (iPod, whatever) can be your friend. Music is shown to activate the portions of your brain that handle creativity.
The goal is to set you up for success, not just in struggle to maintain your weight or health but in your work whether you are a writer or accountant working from home.
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