Denis Müller

Working eight hours a day in front of a monitor can lead to a variety of health issues. Young people may not notice this yet, but as they get older, more and more complaints will arise. Desk-job-related problems like back pain, eye strain, chronic headaches, obesity and even diseases like diabetes can start to get in our way.

I came up with a workflow that strives to prevent exactly those health issues while also helping you to focus better on your work.

The main idea is that you split your work into sessions (I first learned about this concept from the popular Pomodoro-session). A work session can range anywhere from 25 to 70 minutes, whatever you prefer. Before the session starts, define what you want to get done in the session. Set a timer that reminds you when the session is over. During the session, focus only on what you set out to do. Try not to get distracted and don’t multitask.

After every work session, I encourage you to go through a short health-routine. This is a routine that is designed to prevent common health problems associated with a desk job. Here’s my example:

  • Eyecare: Look at something that’s 5 meters away for 20 seconds. Then look out the window at a distant object for another 20 seconds.

  • Take a sip of water and refill your glass/bottle if necessary.

  • Do some stretching exercises of your choice for 20 seconds each.

  • Stand up and walk around in the office for 1 minute.

  • Get some fresh air by either leaving the building or standing next to an open window.

  • Have a small snack if you’re hungry (yogurt, nuts, protein-bar).

  • If you notice that you have a rounded back, roll your shoulders back and press your chest out and try to hold this posture during the next work session.

  • If you own a standing desk, this would be a good time to switch the mode of your standing desk.

The whole routine should take you less than 5 minutes in total. If you don’t feel ready for the next work session yet, feel free to take a longer break. After that, repeat and start your next session.

This workflow does a lot of positive things for your health. Nonetheless, it cannot compensate for an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle. Thus, if you have the resources and discipline needed, I recommend getting enough sleep, eating mainly unprocessed organic food and no sugar, doing physical exercise on a daily basis and doing something that improves your mental health (e.g. meditation).