Tuesday, January 22, 2013

You’ll Never Do Your Best Work Chained to Your Desk

You’ll Never Do Your Best Work Chained to Your Desk
Mobile ad revenue to surge; housing officially rebounding

While the benefits of today’s technology are many, there are some serious health risks for desk-bound professionals, even those of us who exercise diligently every day. Here’s the deal. We spend way too much time sitting and staring at our screens. We’ve got to do a better job of keeping ourselves moving throughout the day, not just during our lunch breaks or time spent jogging or at the gym.

Jack Dennerlein, a professor at Northeastern’s Bouvé College of Health Sciences in Boston suggested in a short New York Times item today that you should do a variation of the 20-20-20 rule used to reduce eyestrain. Take 20 seconds to look at something 20 feet away (instead of at your computer), and repeat this exercise every 20 minutes. Dr. Dennerlein, who specializes in ergonomics and safety, says this eye rule can be applied to movement as well. Every 20 minutes, walk 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. Stop by a co-worker’s desk. Get a cup of coffee. Pace. Just don’t sit.

Management by walking around

While some of my colleagues think I’m pretty wired or suffering from ADD or a tiny bladder, Management by Walking Around (MBWA) is one of the key tenets we preach to our clients. It not only gives you a badly needed break from the information overload on your screen(s), but it can help you calm down long enough to avoid sending an email or voicemail you’ll later regret. This tactic can also prevent you from turning in an important piece of work before you’ve REALLY checked it over carefully to ensure it’s your best effort. The stretching and blood flow doesn’t hurt either. Best of all, it increases your opportunities for “chance” meetings in the hallway, kitchen, elevator or restroom with hard to schedule superiors or non-confrontational colleagues who’ll do anything to avoid a “face to face” discussion with you.

Can’t I just save time by standing up once in a while? Dr. Dennerlein points out that standing for long periods of time is not good for you either. The key is to vary your work posture throughout the day. “Just keep moving and changing things around,” he said. “I think people should be empowered to make adjustments to see what feels right for them. And one thing that might feel comfortable in the morning might not feel comfortable in the afternoon.”

Here at HB, we’ve found that many professionals do their best work via the “interval” approach. Rather than grinding it out for 8, 10 or 12 hours at a time, some knowledge workers are much more effective with a series of relatively short, but intense bursts of work (say one to two hours at a times), followed short 15 to 30 minute breaks. More on that next week.

Mobile ad revenue surges

A new Gartner report projects worldwide mobile ad revenue will increase 16 percent to $11 billion this year and more than double by 2016. Gartner says its estimates include mobile Web display, in-app display, search and maps, video/mobile TV and messaging.

Macro View

Strong reports on housing starts and jobless claims lifted markets last week. Both the Dow and S&P 500 finished the week at or near their highest levels since December 2007.Jobless claims also fell to a five year low and builders started work on homes in December at the fastest rate since December 2008 according to the Commerce Department Thursday. Economists say housing may no longer be a drag on the economy and residential construction probably contributed to economic growth for THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2005.


While hashing out your plans to leverage your expertise in mobile, don’t forget to take a break from your screen. Walk down the hall rather than firing off a text message to a colleague and you never know who else you’ll run into on your way. It could be just the “chance” meeting that changes your entire week, month or career.


TAGS: Gartner, mobile ad revenue, housing market, management by walking around, Jack Dennerlein, Northeastern University Bouvé College of Health Sciences

No comments: