How to switch activities and insert more movement into your workday

Revised 2020.03.30

Important background information is at the link below:
What follows are tips for computer users.

1. Stretch, ideally while standing up.
  • Set stretch reminders in your calendar software [e.g. every 30-60 minutes] or use a timer [many phones have them] to remind you to stretch.
  • In Microsoft Outlook, you can set up a meeting [call it Stretch]. Just snooze the reminder to keep it coming back.
2. At your desk, if don’t need to sit, stand up.
  • If there is a surface just above elbow height somewhere [e.g. shelf or file cabinet], use it for paperwork or working with your phone.
  • When the phone rings, stand up to answer it and only sit if you have to type or write. [Unless you can do those tasks safely, while standing. That is, no bending.]
  • During the call, stand up if it appears you won’t have to sit for a while.
  • Before emailing, think about whether a call would be better and follow the tips above.
3. Walk more
  • Before calling, think about whether a meeting would be better.
  • Walk and talk with a colleague instead of sitting around a table.
  • Move your printer so that you have to get up to retrieve your printouts.
  • Move your water bottle so that you have to get up to get a drink.
  • During breaks, take a walk. Avoid social media and computer games.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator, if it is safe to do so (i.e. if you're not carrying anything or have one hand free to hold the handrail).
4. Sprinkle non-computer tasks throughout the day instead of doing them all at once. Changing activities frequently is healthier than changing less frequently.
  • Filing
  • Picking up/delivering mail
  • Photocopying/Faxing/Scanning
  • If you are at home, there are lots of other activities that you could switch to
5. Different computer tasks may have different physical demands. Switch among them regularly.
  • Mouse intensive tasks [e.g. drawing]
  • Keyboard intensive tasks [e.g. writing emails]
  • Screen reading intensive tasks [e.g. watching webinars]
6. Do tasks differently
  • Try mousing with your opposite hand [start with an hour a day and build your tolerance]
  • Use "right" clicks instead of buttons on a toolbar
  • Learn keyboard alternatives to mouse clicks
  • Automate repetitive tasks [e.g. macros, templates]
  • Call instead of email
  • Use speech recognition instead of typing, especially with your phone