When you’re a project manager it can be difficult to maintain your health and wellbeing. If you find yourself struggling with this, it’s important to start developing habits to help you to stay stable and healthy going forward. Project manager health is not something which is often discussed in the workplace. However, something as simple as some light exercises to do at work could be the difference between staying fit and deteriorating into an unhealthy and stressed-out worker.
Being Inactive is Not Good for Project Manager Health
Maybe you find yourself being sucked into your work, keen to achieve your next milestone or deliverable. Perhaps, you’re focusing on the inevitable problems which crop up during projects. Either way, you’re most likely stuck inside and sat down a lot. Inevitably, this causes your health to deteriorate. Sitting too much can slow your metabolism, helping to increase weight gain. Plus, it can also have negative effects on your blood sugar too, wreaking further havoc on your body. This leads to longer-term health impacts which will be hard to reverse in the future. So, you should tackle these now.
In addition to health impacts, a lack of physical activity is also bad for productivity. It has been found that taking breaks to walk around and exercise can be beneficial for productivity as well as health. You can put your subconscious to work and easily overcome barriers when you return to your activities. Forcing yourself to sit down and do excessive amounts of work tends to just lead to burnout and a lack of productivity.
Exercise at Work is Good for You in Numerous Ways
Next time you’re getting stressed out about a project, try going to the gym or try some exercise to do at work instead. Although you may feel stressed and unproductive while exercising instead of working, you’re getting the blood pumping and oxygen flowing around your body. This process of taking a break and allowing blood to flow to your brain is brilliant for coming up with new ideas and solutions. Especially if you are able to go into a semi-meditative state when exercising whereby your head is clear.
Here are actionable tips to increase project manager health – these are great for you and your peers or team.
Office exercises to do at work
If you need exercise which is more practical and suited to your office, try something as simple as stretching your arms, legs, and back while in your chair or standing up. You’ll find this helps to stop your muscles from cramping up due to excessive periods of sitting.
Furthermore, if you’re really passionate about your health and wellbeing as a project manager, then just use the stairs. If you’re off to meetings on different floors, take the stairs rather than a lift. Whilst this can also actually be quicker, it’s a great way to get your heart pumping and get some light exercise in whilst at work.
There are also some more creative exercises to do at work, such as the “slog and jog” which encourages you to stand up and jog on the spot for 1 minute, getting your knees up if you want to work even harder. There is also the “mover and shaker” which suggests you dance a little bit while seated. Perhaps a short burst of your favourite high-energy song on the headphones? Or, you could introduce an official “happy dance” for when you complete one of your big to do list items.
Lots of little movements can help to keep your body occupied and energised at work. Whether you’re enthusiastically tapping your desk with your hands or tapping the floor with your feet – you’ll soon be building better health as a project manager.
Why not check out these other ways to do exercise at work from Greatist.com.
Maintain a good and well-balanced diet
If you find yourself crunching numbers and stressing out as you try to come up with solutions to project management issues, it can be very easy to snack on junk food. Whilst this makes you feel good in the moment, it has downsides too. Sugar crashes and excess salt will not help you once you’ve polished off that packet of crisps or cake.
In order to be healthy and maintain a healthy lifestyle going forward, you should drink water and snack healthily. Staying hydrated and avoiding sugary foods will lead to your energy soaring. Healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts are a good place to start. Try to avoid excessive amounts of coffee, despite its alluring qualities. That’s probably where I struggle most – I’ve got a coffee in front of me right now actually, mmm.
Building mental health and wellbeing
If you want to keep your brain in good shape, sometimes you need to change things up a little bit and keep it entertained. For example, try changing locations every now and then in order to maintain your sanity. Depending on what you find energising, you can try different locations. Try quiet places. Or busy places. Try natural settings or energetic places. Work out what’s best for you. I enjoy visiting thriving people-filled environments, such as stores (if you’re in retail) or cafes if in an office.
Going outside for a break can also help you out. Breathe fresh air and get away from the fluorescent light of your office for a few minutes every day. Our brains become bored and complacent when we confine them to the same environment for long periods of time. As such, studies suggest that a change of scenery can do wonders for your productivity at work.
Conclusion: Start New Habits Now to Stay on Top of Your Health as a Project Manager
In this article, we’ve discussed several actionable strategies that you can use to maintain project manager health. These included:
- Simple ways of staying active in an office environment such as using the stairs
- Specific exercises to do at work like the “slog and jog” or dancing
- Staying hydrated and snacking healthily
- Changing locations to find what’s best for you
- Getting some fresh air to increase productivity
You may also be interested in actioning some of these ways to remove common causes project manager stress.
Employing these tactics will increase your productivity, reduce stress and will inspire new thinking. Try putting something into practice straight away – I dare you.
Do you have ways of staying active at work? Is project manager health important to you too? Share your techniques and thoughts with us in the comments below, or message me on LinkedIn! I look forward to hearing about your tips and tricks for staying healthy and productive as a busy project manager!
About the Author
Oliver Banks is an expert at delivering retail change projects and programmes. Plus, he’s passionate about helping others to do that too. He blends classic project management techniques with a dose of pragmatism and business reality to ensure retail improvement projects are led, managed and delivered successfully. He loves to use the stairs but often falls foul of an extra cup of coffee – oops.