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Get moving: Fighting off the telecommuting blues

I made an executive decision yesterday.

That’s an executive decision made as the CEO of my life, of course.

I have to be better to me.

Lately, I’ve been dragging myself out of bed, slogging into the kitchen to make coffee and then plopping myself in front of the computer for hours.

That’s what working from home has become.

I have a serious case of the telecommuting doldrums.

I’d sing you a song with a really bluesy riff if I wasn’t completely tone deaf. It would be about feeling lonely, neck cramps from sitting at my desk for too long and looking forward to any human touch, even a conference call (I know, right? WHO DOES THAT?!?).

Do as I say, don’t do as I do

I’ve written before about taking breaks and making sure you’re social. It seems, however, I’m not taking my own advice.

I run.

I bike.

I go to the gym.

I walk the dog.

I haven’t been doing enough of any of it.

But now I’m going to put my best foot forward.

This morning, I bounded … OK, not bounded, sort of mini-jumped … out of bed, bundled up, grabbed the leash and took the dog for a 7 a.m. walk.

He was shocked. Happy, but shocked. I’m sure of it.

Now, I’m luckier than most. I’m based in the beautiful Okanagan of British Columbia. My OnConference bosses aren’t so lucky over in snowy Ottawa.

weather update kelowna

So “bundled up” means a light fleece jacket and yoga pants. And the weather has been nice enough to run outside for several weeks.

It’s tougher for some of my Canadian friends and family to enjoy outdoor activities.

If you’re telecommuting, however, you have to do what it takes to give your brain a rest.

Here are some simple ways to rejuvenate your brain and your body:

✓ Take a walk or go for a run
✓ Schedule a lunch break
✓ Stretch
✓ Practise yoga with a DVD
✓ Nap (mmhmmm … one of my favourites)
✓ Call your mom (I don’t do this enough)

When we work from home, we can get lost in the determination to prove we’re dedicated, productive telecommuters.

We head straight for the office in the morning and barely lift our heads from the computer at 5 or 6 p.m. Even after quitting time, we’re checking email and responding to customer requests.

We should take care of ourselves and take short, energetic breaks every 90 minutes or so.
Canadian productivity consultant Ann Gomez says breaks are good for several reasons:

✓ You come back to work more productive.
✓ You sleep better.
✓ Creativity improves during downtime.
✓ You lower your stress levels and thus your risk of coronary heart disease.
✓ You make better decisions.
✓ You have better work-life balance which leads to healthier relationships.
✓ Your fitness level can improve.

Gomez cites a 2006 Ernst & Young study on breaks and vacations:

For each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their performance reviews were eight per cent higher the following year.

When you’re healthier and happier, you’re more productive.

And that can only make the bosses happier.

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