Optimize your work area for better productivity — no ‘standing desk’ required
Computerworld – Here’s a sobering statistic: With a 40- to 45-hour work week, many Americans spend about 25% of the year on the job. For those of us who stare at computer screens all day, that amounts to more than 2,000 hours with our keisters glued to chairs. In less technical terms, we’re practically married to our desks.
For as many hours as we whittle away at our workstations, though, most of us put surprisingly little thought into optimizing our offices. Quick: When’s the last time you actually stopped to think about how efficient your physical workspace is? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably “never.”
Workstation optimization can make a significant difference in your ability to get things done. Believe me: I’ve slowly but surely been making changes to my own humble office, and with each adjustment, I’ve noticed more productivity and less time wasted (unintentionally, at least — my midday YouTube-browsing habit shows no signs of subsiding).
The best part: It doesn’t take much to do a workstation tune-up. Here are five simple tips to get you started.
1. Take a comfortable seat — then get out of it.
The hot trend du jour is ditching your chair and turning your workstation into a standing-room-only experience. But while standing all day might burn more calories, it’s not going to help you get more done, according to Dr. Alan Hedge, director of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Laboratory at Cornell University.
Sitting is more conducive to productivity, Hedge says — it uses 20% less energy and allows you to type and mouse more effectively — but that doesn’t mean you should park your busy buns all day. Just ask the folks from NASA.
“We haven’t evolved to sit or stand all day,” says Dr. Joan Vernikos, a former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division who researched the effects of gravity on the body while working at the space agency. In her book Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, Vernikos argues that regular movement is the real solution.
“What’s important is the change in position,” she says. “We need to routinely be moving, and we need to be moving every little part of us.”
Vernikos and Hedge both recommend finding a comfortable chair and desk setup (make sure the chair is adjustable and offers good lower-back support), and then standing and moving regularly throughout your day. Hedge suggests a quick two- to three-minute stretching break every 20 minutes, and then a longer break once an hour, in which you actually walk around and do something different.
“But wait,” you might be thinking. “If I stop working to stretch or walk around, people will think I’m slacking.” That’s why it’s important to educate your boss and co-workers about the productivity benefits that come with mini-breaks — or, better yet, have a qualified scientist do it for you.
“The studies that have looked at these frequent little breaks show enormous improvements in productivity as well as improvements in health,” Hedge says, citing research conducted at the University of Connecticut in 1997. “You’re looking at people doing up to 15% more work when they work like this, and it doesn’t cost the company anything.” That approach will serve you far better than any type of complex and costly sitting-standing combo workstation, Hedge believes. More
Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There
The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.
These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by Rutger Bregman
… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.
Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry
In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.
To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.
But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.
But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…
The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.
Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:
Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:
The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.
Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.
Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.
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