Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | August 1, 2013

Fun Family Vacation Road Trip

Celebrating Griswold’s Family Vacation with your own Family Travels? Can you believe it’s been 30 years since they hit the big screen and the road. . .

Griswold Family Vacation

Summer is a great time to focus on healthy living. We all know that road trips are accompanied by sitting for long hours driving, children bickering, stiff muscles and possible stomach troubles.  According to Dr. Camelia Davtyan, “prolonged sitting is not what nature intended for us”(LA Times).  While sitting for long periods of time can become unpleasant, the beautiful landscapes of great national parks such as Yosemite in the Sierras or Yellowstone, a large dormant super volcano with vastly breathtaking views, beckons us to the road for our long awaited summer family vacation.

To make travel easier, here are a few websites to catch the eye of any cross country traveler:  roadtrippers.com (for planning attractions to site-see), fuelmyroute.com (for finding the lowest gas prices along your path of travel), TVFoodMaps (Mobile app for a foodnetwork junkie),  and Hotel Tonight (A great mobile app for finding hotels on the go) to reduce your stress while getting away.

With 75% of health care costs associated with chronic stress – and stress is the No.1 cause of chronic illness – tap into these trip savers for a more comfortable, ergonomic vacation (Imperial Valley Press).

“Re-Energizing Exercise” while on the road. . .

Exercise, especially rigorous activity, helps maintain gastrointestinal (GI) regularity.  A study of chronically stressed people found they were much more likely to develop irritable Bowel Syndrome. (US News World Report)  It’s important to fit exercise into your daily routine when traveling because sitting for long periods of time has negative health effects such as: suppressing lipoprotein lipase, important for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, inducing resistance to insulin as our bodies aren’t burning enough energy, and increasing risk of cardiovascular disease.  Take a break to check the scenic viewpoints once every 2 hours.  Taking a 2 minute walk with the family is a healthier heart option and at the end of the day do a 20 minute workout that includes cardio to maintain healthy digestive tract function.

RV Camping“Aunt Edna’s Sour Stomach”

When we travel our digestive tract is sometimes turned upside down as we consume tasty treats that normally aren’t going into our bodies, due to limited availability of food options.  Traveling in an RV or mobile home provides a better opportunity to carry healthy fruits and vegetables full of fiber and will improve the movements of your digestive tract.  Here are a few GI conscious foods to avoid and a few that keep you healthy according to the Wall Street Journal Health and Wellness column.

1. Mineral Oil: A spoonful of mineral oil??     While hitting the palate with a slick and nauseating consistency, it turns out that doctors don’t recommend it despite being claimed a “home remedy.”  The oils are associated with respiratory inflammation in children and elderly people.

2. Laxatives: The best laxatives to use are osmotic: they draw water into the GI tract.  Milk of Magnesia fits this category.  Using natural supplements is also an effective remedy, with natural or synthetic fibers both acceptable options.

3.  Hot Coffee:  Drinking coffee is recommended, but it’s important not to drink too much.  Overdoing the morning cup of “Joe” puts you at risk of dehydration during the day.

Now you can enjoy the smooth ride from your vacation ~ Staying healthy while getting away with the family.

Return to work with new zip in your step!

~Pam

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Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | June 17, 2013

Good Ergonomics is “in the Bag”

Large Tote Purse

A Big Fashion Trend for the summer is the new Minimalist Mini Me Handbag. Cross body bags and shrunken versions of the full size styles are replacing the heavy “everything but the kitchen sink” totes.  You might wonder why I bring this up and what does it have to do with ergonomics?

Well, what’s an easier way to unload five pounds for the summer but to get one of these new handbags?  According to Karen Erickson, spokeswoman for the American Chiropractic Association, an average handbag weighs from 3 – 5 pounds with some women lugging around twice that amount of weight.  She recommends handbags carried on a single shoulder shouldn’t exceed 5 % of a person’s body weight.

What woman hasn’t experienced muscle pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain?  What a surprise when your hand bag might be the culprit.  Go ahead; lift your favorite bag onto that scale . . . don’t be embarrassed when it weighs over 5 pounds.

Slave to Fashion

Become a slave to fashion and improve your health.  When you think of ergonomics, proper posture comes to mind immediately.  According to the Wall Street Journal June 6, 2013 issue, the fastest growing segment of the $6 billion handbag industry is the cross-body bag.The appeal is the ability to be hands-free but also amazingly refreshed while walking unencumbered.

According to Dr. Erickson, the ability to walk with arms swinging freely in a “cross crawl” pattern synchronizes both sides of the brain, promoting relaxation.  Isn’t that what summer is all about?

Consider these other ways to reduce the physical strain of carrying a heavy handbag presented by Dr. Erickson well worth repeating.

  • Use a bag with a thick shoulder strap to distribute weight evenly.
  • Empty your handbag daily removing items collected throughout the day.
  • If walking, switch shoulders you use – to carry your bag – as often as every few blocks.
  • Find time to walk each day without a bag to give your body a break.
  • If your upper shoulder or neck start to feel strain, carry your bag in your arms, like a baby to give your muscles a break.
  • Consider the bag’s hardware which might add extra ounces before you put anything in the bag.

With small being the next big thing, consider your options in the small-bag world.  Why not rotate between your full size versions?  You’ll give your body a well-earned rest as you adjust the size of your bag to meet your different needs.

“Ergonomics is for the world we live in not just for where we work. . .”

~Pam

Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | April 17, 2013

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, Trips and FallsStability Ball

As active workstation products have grown in use, so has feedback on their downside . . . not to mention how they feel on your backside.  Case in point, it only takes 1 hour of use before discomfort sets in when sitting on a stability ball.  While we all know the health benefits of sitting less minimizes the risk of obesity and heart disease, the productivity benefits of stability balls are less clear.  Falling off the stability ball resulting in an injury is a major concern. Overall, slips and falls account for 30% of workplace injuries.

When you think about workplace falls, most people immediately think of falls from a height, yet, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the majority of fall-related injuries (65 percent) occur as a result of falls from same-level walking surfaces.  The problem is especially troublesome in specified industries. The service, wholesale, and retail trade industries together accounted for the greatest proportion of injuries that resulted from same level falls (over 60 %), while the manufacturing sector alone accounted for 16 % of injuries that resulted from same-level falls.

The National Safety Council reports slips and falls are the leading cause of death in the workplace, on average about 15 %, second to motor vehicle accidents. Slip, trip and fall hazards are everywhere. It’s important to recognize these hazards on the job when you see them so that you can take proper precautions to prevent accidents and protect yourself and co-workers from injury.

The causes of slip and fall incidents are varied and I have included a few:

slips, trips, falls

  • Messy, cluttered work area with tools, material, or  cords lying on the floor in places where people walk
  • Poor visibility caused by inadequate lighting or burned-out bulbs
  • Not watching where you are going, running or walking too fast
  • Carrying something you can’t see over
  • Walkways that are wet, oily, or otherwise contaminated
  • Floor surfaces that are in disrepair or with loose or unanchored mats or rugs
  • Spills
  • Weather hazards (such as ice, rain or snow)
  • Open drawers ( might not see that one)
  • Failure to use handrails when going up or down stairs
  • Inappropriate footwear.

OSHA has a lot to say about the alarming statistics of slip and fall injuries and have issued several standards for both general industry and construction regarding fall hazards in the workplace.

Following these OSHA do’s can help prevent falls:

Do:

  • Keep work areas neat and tidy, putting tools, materials and other items away after use
  • Pick up items off the floor, even if you didn’t put them there
  • When carrying a load, walk and  change directions slowly
  • Pay attention to changes in floor level such a steps or ramps
  • Report lighting problems right away
  • Close drawers after use
  • Keep items off stairs
  • Ensure walkways clear of equipment or material and are in good repair
  • Keep floor surface clean and dry

The most frequent complaints related to slips and falls are shoulder, back, elbow, wrist and knee injuries.  Why not take a few seconds to review the list again? This way you take an active part in preventing injuries in your workplace.  Summer is around the corner and we need our bodies to be fit and healthy to enjoy all our other fun activities.

~Pam

Please Note: The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes only.  This publication is not a substitute for review of the applicable government regulations and standards, and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the cited regulation.

Sources:

1. Slips, Trips and Falls: Prevention and Regulations.  www.grainger.com

2. Regulatory standards: OSHA 29CFR1910.22, Walking-Working Services, ANSIA1264.2-2006, Provision for Slip Resistant for Walking/Working Surfaces.

3.  NIOSH: Fall Injuries Prevention in the Workplace.

Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | April 1, 2013

“Spring” Into Action!

Blue alarm clock

Coming out of our dreary winter hibernation, have you noticed your office needs organizing? Spring cleaning has been ringing its alarm, but have you been hitting the snooze button?

Feeling too unmotivated or tired to start cleaning and organizing your office???

According to Reader’s Digest January issue, there are peak times to drink coffee or take a nap depending on the activity you intend to do.  When you’re grumpy or sleep deprived, drink coffee before taking a 30 minute nap. If you require creative insight (for big projects or complex tasks) just take a nap.  Dreams and REM sleep may foster connections between ideas and help solidify knowledge recently acquired.

Aside from motivating ourselves, an important component of beating procrastination is having a game plan. Pinpoint your goals. Set up real and concrete steps to complete over a week long period (or longer) rather than a day or two. Completing a larger task in small and concrete steps can keep the project from becoming stressful or overwhelming.

One of the most reinforcing ways to complete a project in a step by step manner, such as office organization, is to use a token system based on day by day completion.  Use a Calendar (be it Scenic Valleys of the Western Hemisphere or Cat Naps), take a moment when you have completed a step assigned to each day and mark it off. Reward yourself with something special each day.

Once we put our project in gear, we have to remember safety comes first just as we buckle up with seat belts before commuting to work.  Here at SIERRA I know ergonomics gives us the tools we need to boost our productivity while minimizing injuries!

Here are 5 ways you can tackle any task without injuring your back or putting yourself at risk:

1. Use a step stool- Reaching and twisting in awkward positions to reach something above eye level puts you at risk for back injuries.  Since you aren’t tackling the project in one day (right??) and there is no rush, it’s smart to use a step stool to reach high boxes or items that need purging, dusting, or re-organizing.

2.  Bring the object close to your body before you lift.  Staying in the safety zone of forearms at your waistline ensures to lighten your load and make it safe for your back.

3. Take a breath:  Before you lift a box, taking a breath will tighten your abdominal muscles which will support your back and make the load you are lifting feel lighter.

4.  Right before you lift, look up to allow your head to be in alignment with the natural curvature of your back.  Your head weighs 8-10 lbs. By lifting your head when you lift the box, you take those 10 lbs. out of the equation and only lift the weight inside the box.

5.  Think about your environment.  Do you work in a hot, humid area or cold and damp?  You may need to slow down and lift less often to complete your spring organizing project.

a walk in the parkOnce your office is organized and your back hasn’t taken a beating, you will have time and energy to put a spring in your step for National Walking Day on April 3rd.

~Pam

Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | February 12, 2013

Quick Tricks to Boost Success

Flexible Old Lady

When time is of the essence, working on the computer for 8 hours a day, forty hours a week can take a toll on your body in terms of flexibility.  Stretching just a few times per day in the office can make for a re-energizing break providing a no cost boost to breezing through the workday.  Stretching offers a variety of healthy benefits such as: better range of motion, more flexibility, lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety and improving relaxation  (exercise.about.com).

Here are some simple quick stretches you can do in the office or anywhere you have a few minutes to spare.

1.  Gluteal Squeeze– This exercise is easy to do any time during the day.  While sitting in you chair make sure to squeeze the gluteal muscles for 5-seconds and release. Repeat 5-10 times each day (health.howstuffworks.com).

2.  Shoulder shrug– Shrug your shoulders as high as you can and release them. Repeat 2-3 times each day to relax the shoulder muscles (health.howstuffworks.com).

3. Upper Back Stretch–  Many of us involuntarily tighten or tense our shoulder and neck muscles. Our chest and back as a result also tightens and this can affect our shoulder blades.  A great way to release tension in this area is a chest stretch.  Stand in a doorway andput your arms/forearms against the door frame so that your arms are essentially making the shape of a field goal.  Step one foot forward and hold for 60-80 seconds.  Repeat 1x per day.

An alternate stretch to release our back and shoulder blades is to bring your hands out straight and perpendicular to your torso.  Reach the hands and shoulders forward to feel a stretch in the upper back and shoulder blades.  Do these as many times as you like per day (exercise.about.com).

hipflexorstretch

Hip Flexor Stretch

4. Hip Flexors– Our low back and hips get stiff when we sit for too long. Hip flexors stretching exercises can help relax and loosen the front of our hips.  Start standing behind a stationary chair and reach the left or right leg back as if to begin a lunge.  Squeeze the gluts and bend slowly down until you feel a stretch in the hip belonging to the foot stretched back. Hold for 10-30 seconds, and repeat on the other side (exercise.about.com)

5.  Forearm stretch– Stretching your forearms and wrists out can prevent the onset of injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  Hold one arm straight and perpendicular to your torso.  Flex right hand upward and use left hand to gently flex backwards your right hand.  Hold for 5 seconds.  Turn your Right hand downwards and use the left hand to gently flex the hand downwards. Hold for 5 seconds. Switch hands.  Do these a few times during your work day (Personal Health Designs).

Polar Bear Stretch

Why not take a cue from our furry friends  to take time out of our busy day for a relaxing and refreshing stretch. Stretching can give you an energizing edge throughout your day. Your body and your pocket book will also thank you.

~Pam

Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | January 21, 2013

New Ergo Gizmos to Make Your Life Easier!

As technology continues to advance in the blossoming New Year 2013, I came across some nifty gadgets that are as promising as they are ergonomic.  Let’s delve into the newest products that help you boost productivity and keep you safe from injury.

Image

Gunnar Computer Eyewear

1.  Gunnar Computer Eyewear™:  Many of us work on the computer at home after a long day at the office.  These shades keep your mind ablaze and prevent onset of computer vision syndrome (CVS) as well as eye fatigue.  They come in many different sizes and styles and are perfect for prolonged computer use (www.gunnars.com).

 

2.   Honda Lanewatch™: If you are in the market for a new car this year, Honda has a new safety feature on their Honda Accord and Crosstour models. The Honda Lanewatch blind spot safety system is a wide angle camera. The camera shows video footage of the ominous blind spot on the center console screen (Good Housekeeping February 2013 Issue).

Celluon Virtual Keyboard

Celluon Virtual Keyboard

 

3. Celluon Virtual Keyboard– A laser keyboard fitted with motion sensors that detect typing.  The size of a zippo lighter, this innovative accessory also lights up in darkness.  The neatest feature of the celluon, is it synchs with PDA’s and mobile devices effectively boosting productivity and efficiency with a larger surface area to type (www.celluon.com).

 

 

4. Microsoft Surface with Windows RT™: Tablet with built in keyboard.  Beautiful by design, and perfect for business. It comes pre-installed with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.  This is a tool that makes portable productivity easy and ergonomic (Good Housekeeping February 2013 Issue).

CST Ultra Thin Watch

CST Ultra Thin Watch

 

5.  CST-01 Watch™: Ultra thin watch with rechargeable battery life of up to 1 month.  This watch is light weight, durable, and noninvasive.  Typing at work or using a mouse is much easier when wearing this watch, considering it is only .8mm thick.  Re-charging the watch takes a mere 10 minutes! (The Wall Street Journal January 10, 2013).

 

6. SwingTIP Swing Analyzer™– Just for fun.  This gadget contains motion sensor tracking to analyze your golf swing. Perfect preparation for your annual golf tournament! (The Wall Street Journal January 10, 2013).

These futuristic gizmos provide you with a sense of what new technology has to offer to make your life easier.

~Pam

Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | December 21, 2012

12 Days Before New Year’s!

New Year's Party Favors

New Year's Party Hats

We’ve reached the last days before New Year’s
and here’s for your delight.
  12 Easy Solutions to start your New Year’s off right!

Day 12: December 21st:  Holiday parties bring delicious temptations. Resist the extra pounds with our healthy eating tips -start with appetizers, choose one you crave the most, no matter the content. This way you can indulge a little in the beginning without succumbing to the main course.

  • Main course: Choose a few special dishes to savor, rather than overloading your plate with a sample of everything. Make at least 2-3 of these dishes vegetable based.
  • Devilish desserts: Slice your own sliver of pie, as people tend to cut bigger pieces for others than themselves. If you receive a large sized piece, you can split it someone else.

Day 11: December 22nd:   Lifting your “Holiday Spirit” for those last minute shoppers.   You may feel rushed to lift too many packages from the stores to your car.  An important thing to remember this season is your back by lifting correctly and carrying in your green zone.

Day 10: December 23rd:  “Staying Sane” during Family Gatherings:  A few simple steps can help you keep your family’s holiday gathering from spinning out of control.  Set a time limit for the event and make sure everyone knows. Don’t expect too much and plan a few structured activities which encourage everyone to get along.

Chocolate Dipped Figs

Chocolate Dipped Figs

Day 9: December 24th:     “Hostess Party Tips” for Healthy Eating: December beckons us with hot cocoa, eggnog and sweet candy canes. But as a “Hostess with the Mostest” you can provide chocolate dipped figs which are low in calories and packed with fiber.   Sneak apple cider vinegar into your salad dressing which can stabilize blood sugar levels and slow down hunger pangs.  From First for Women Magazine this great recipe calls for 2 tsp. vinegar, 2 tbs. water, 1tbs. olive oil, 1 tsp. honey and 1 tsp. mustard.

Day 8: December 25thFamily and Friend Gatherings are great for renewing your spirit, counting your blessings and to prepare for the next years goals.

Day 7: December 26th: “Holiday Travel” stocking stuffers can include hand sanitizers, wipes, tissues and saline spay can bring you home safely flu and cold free.

Day 6: December 27th:  With mobile devices so much a part of our lives, using the laptop and texting in bed makes us cringe.  Resist bringing the office to bed.  Sitting upright without proper lumbar support can strain the back, neck and shoulders not to mention; annoy your partner.  Best to stash the briefcase and work stress somewhere else.

Day 5: December 28th: Discourage “Undercover Workaholics” with these tips:  Make your bedroom a device free zone including charges because screen light wave disrupt the body clock and delays sleep by keeping your body alert.  Extending legs out straight can affect the lower back and improperly aligned eyes and wrists can cause strain.

Day 4: December 29th:     Quick “Office Clutter Cures” before starting the New Year includes:  streamline your email filing, resist having a junk drawer, limit accessory items on your desk top.  Gain control of your environment with positive de-cluttering habits building a schedule spending no more than 15 minutes per day.

New Years 2013

Day 3: December 30th:  Get prepared to stay awake for your New Year’s Eve festivities by getting enough sleep tonight.  Eliminate these sleep killers so you won’t be tired the next day.  Too much caffeine blocks the sleep inducing action of the brain chemical, adenosine. Too much light can interfere with sleep hormones which kick in about 9 or 10 p.m. making it harder to fall asleep.  Too much alcohol disrupts sleep patterns causing you to wake more often during the night.  Making it a glass of wine or cocktail at dinner is not as disruptive as night cap.

Day 2: December 31th:   Setting your Goals for New Year’s resolutions: Make them short, specific, and time limited while writing them down encourages success.

Day 1: January 1st:   You’ve taken our journey so now you are prepared to welcome the New Year with good health and good cheer!  Happy 2013!

 ~Pam

 

Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | October 11, 2012

Can The Daily Grind Be Good For You?

The Daily Grind

Can the Daily “Grind” be good for you?

Many of us start our daily “grind” with a caffeinated cup of coffee as we dive into traffic along the California morning landscape.

Whether you leave in darkness going to work or come home to the sunset, your drive affects your life. I have the secrets and the science to staying young and sharp in spite of your daily commute.

It’s about that time of year where we “fall back” and gain an hour on November 4th.  Don’t let the crowded commute stress you out and reduce your attention levels.  Many of us will be driving in darkness after a long day at work.

Time changes have many effects on our mind and body including on the heart.  An article from Harvard Health Publications stated heart attacks decrease as a result of the fall time change and that essential extra hour of sleep every hard-working American needs. In fact, only one century ago Americans averaged 9 hours of sleep per day while presently it is down to 6 or fewer hours.   Experts say the sweet spot for sleep is 7 hours per night.

How can we reduce stress while driving in the car when extra sleep really isn’t an option?

Here are 7 simple ways to sidestep injury and keep you young during your commute. Avoid agitation, nerves, or worry in the car with this recipe for safe and healthy driving tips.

1.  Wallets: Gentlemen, don’t sit on your wallets. This can cause nerve pain and sciatica if done frequently or for long durations.

2.  Purses: Ladies, organize your purse so that you have immediate knowledge of “need-to-grab” items so your eyes stay focused on the road.

3.  Seat Height Harmony: Raise the seat to have a good view out of the windshield, but not so that your legs are hitting the steering wheel.

wheel grip

wheel grip (Photo credit: nate steiner)

4.  Seat Position: Slide the seat so that your knees are slightly bent and your thighs are relaxed so that you can easily operate the foot pedals without straining your low back muscles.

5.  Seat Back Position: “Laid back or uptight?” Adjust the back of the car seat to be 100-110 degrees with your shoulders solidly behind your hips. No one should be too laid back or too close to the steering wheel.  To avoid injury if the air bag is deployed, make sure your chest is at least 11 inches away from the steering wheel.  Remember a small sodium-azide propellant charged device is deploying the airbag.

If you are sitting too close, it may mean you need to have your vision checked or too tired to drive.

6.  Steering Wheel Hand position:  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the new recommendation is a 9 and 3 hand placement to avoid hand injury if the airbag is deployed.    Toss out the old 10 and 2 position. It’s also a good idea to make sure you can use your cell phone hands-free.

7.  Keep a bag of Peppermints in your car: Treating yourself to this mint candy can reduce stress levels by 25% in quickly as 2 minutes. The cooling sensation mixed with the spicy aroma stimulates the olfactory nerve in the nose signaling to increase the brain’s calming alpha waves.

Good Housekeeping September 2012 Issue

“Americans spend over 100 hours a year commuting to work” according to US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.  That’s a lot of “gripping behind the wheel”. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome induced by heavy gripping on the steering wheel is also a reaction to the stress of crowded streets and commutes. So how can we “get a grip” when our commute becomes chaotic?

According to the September issue of Good Housekeeping, DIY Wrist relief includes sleeping with a brace that keeps your wrist straight and stretching certain muscles of the palm several times per day (pg. 45).

More tips on reducing stress levels:

Researchers at University of Alabama suggest noshing on fruits high in vitamin C which dampen the body’s production of the stress hormone Cortisol, reducing surges by up to 300 %.

Something as simple as eliminating shallow chest breathing triggered by traffic congestion can melt away tension. Deep abdominal breathing relieves the physical impact stress plays on your good looks.  In a study at San Francisco State University, “paced breathing” can make you feel less frazzled.  Aim for 10 breathes or fewer per minute by inhaling for the count of six seconds then exhale for the count of six seconds.  Practice while sitting in traffic beginning for 5 minutes and build up to doing it longer.

Turn on your personal playlist.  A study conducted by the University of South Alabama reported that listening to “self-selected” music after a stressful event or day significantly reduces negative emotional states as compared to “sitting in silence.”

Remember your morning brew also has some youthful benefits.  Drinking coffee improves your focus (great for road) and is our greatest source of anti-oxidants for a more youthful appearance. So remember the less you stress the younger you look.

Let me know your great de-stressing habits to get through your daily commute.

~Pam

Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | September 21, 2012

Stop Stressing – Move to Clutter-free Heaven

How does she get any work done!??

Do you find yourself spending too much time looking for frequently used items but they are buried under a pile of paperwork? Are you pressured and under the gun to meet deadlines just because you can’t remember where you put that report?

Whether it’s a comfy “just for you” chair or designer office layout, a healthy ergonomic environment can lower your stress level and improve your efficiency.  Our environments constantly affect the way we feel.

Is it time to rake the clutter off your desk and out of your office? Seize this time when summer starts turning to fall to pare down and create CALM. When our surroundings are cluttered, messy, or dirty, it takes a toll on our productivity and work efficiency.  Clutter can affect us subconsciously, irritating our mood as we feel crowded and disorganized.  An ERGONOMIC environment is one where we prepare ourselves for a productive day.  Reap the rewards for clearing workplace clutter, doing it smarter with these total time savers.

Here are 7 simple ways to become a “De-cluttering Genius to bring Autumn SERENITY into your work environment:

1.  Email filing: if you are bombarded with months of unorganized emails, file one month per day at a time until you are caught up; then set aside one day a week to file important emails.

2.  Habit building: don’t spend several hours in one day tackling desk organization. Set aside 20-30 minutes every day to organize your desk with a goal in mind.  You choose the time, you gain control over your environment.

3.  Limit accessory items on your desktop: these are distractions that take your mind away from the work at hand.

4.  Organize business cards: use your email contact list or other programs to store business cards in your hard drive rather than your desk.  Make it a habit of entering in business cards at the end of every week.

5.  Savvy single notepad: Use only one notepad to write ideas and notes.  This can save your desk from a plethora of fifty sticky notes and three notepads where you just can’t remember “what I wrote that number on!”

6.  Work-In-Progress folder: take documents, ideas, and potential business and create a folder for it you keep in a close desk drawer. Make a habit of checking in on the folder once a week to refresh your memory on brainstorming sessions or ideas that sometimes are lost in clutter.  Become an expert in tossing out old ideas.

7.  Resist junk drawers: They just become bottomless pits of disorder. Use desk drawer organizers to keep your head from spinning at the sight of a random office supply inventory.

According to the LA Times, in a Robert Half poll “83% of Human Resources managers surveyed said the appearance of a person’s work space affects their perception of that person’s professionalism.” September 9, 2012 page B5.  The tidier the desk, the better image you project.

Clutter also affects your health by increasing levels of stress.  According to US Consumer Reports on Health, work-related stress troubled 23% of the American population.  Certain levels of stress contribute to onset of stroke, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and colds.  Part of this stress is induced by feeling overwhelmed, constrained and unable to control our work environment or events occurring around us.  Reduce this stress by de-cluttering your office spaces. It gives you a sense of accomplishment as well as control over our work environment. Say goodbye to clutter and hello to a healthy immune system while beefing up your professional look in the office.

Why not add to your desktop a small pumpkin for a punch of pizazz!?

It will give you something new to admire, inspire and remind you to celebrate the Season of fall.

Don’t forget October is National Ergonomics Month, and Sierra Ergonomics, Inc. is proud to participate! Let us know if there are any Ergo issues you would love us to blog about.

~Pam

Posted by: Pamela Kalivas | August 23, 2012

Campus Curiosity: Ergo on the Go for College Bound Students

A fun thing my husband and I have always shared is an interest in space.  We were privileged to be part of the audience invited to watch the landing of the Curiosity Rover on August 5th.  It got me thinking about the depth and meaning of the word curiosity.

How we can apply it not only to our own work environment but also to ourselves.  All life stages are imbrued with curiosity, but our 20s tend to be the most fully saturated as we discover the world around us and mature.

Curiosity Rover

New ideologies are developing in the behavioral and neurosciences, which increasingly argue that the 18-29 year old age group is a “distinct life stage” (Wallstreet Journal).  Typically in our 20’s curiosity compels us to engage our brains with school, travel, and a multitude of careers while focusing on life meaning.

A nationwide poll showed that 86% of young adults agree their life is fun and exciting.  While they find their lives exciting, 72% agreed that they felt stress (Wallstreet Journal).  How can we set up our 20-somethings for success during a time where curiosity guides them and stress acts as a pushing and pulling force in tandem?  Greater efficiency can be achieved by the principles of Ergonomics.

Focusing on this age group and giving them the tools for success is an important facet in shaping the future business world.  Efficiency is best achieved when injury is fully minimized allowing them to start off their career with a sense of mastery. Correct ergonomic postures set our college graduates on a course to successful pain-free careers.

College students spend a majority of their time on laptops averaging a minimum of 5 hour per day not including leisurely activities. Here are  my top “back to school” accessories parents can purchase to help out their students to maximize their study time, improve their grades, and enjoy their down time while using their laptops along with resources of where to find them.

Laptop Stand and Accessories

  1. Wireless external keyboard- Office Depot, Staples, or  Office Max
  2. Mouse with wrist cushion- Alimed, Office Depot, or BrownMed
  3. Lap top stand- Goldtouch or Alimed
  4. Adjustable computer chair- Office Solutions or Office Master

JPL and NASA were able to land a craft 1.5 miles within a carefully designated and computed target more than 352 million miles away. What if we apply the same precision to the parameters of our body and work or study area.  Much like the Curiosity’s successful landing on Mars, we will hit the mark on an area conducive for maximum productivity and minimal injury or strain.  Paying attention to these minutest details offer instant relief to your student’s neck, shoulders and back while correcting their posture.

Take some time to have some curiosity about yourself, or encourage your college student to search for the “comfort zone.”   Allow yourself a long and injury free career you are passionate about by following good ergonomic principles.

In October, Sierra Ergonomics is proud to participate in the UCI Student Health Fair.  Our booth will be providing students the opportunity to experiment with a variety of workstations to determine their best fit allowing their curiosity to drive them to better health and study habits.

~Pam

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