Balancing Health and Productivity

I’m sitting in my recliner this week, and cranking out work.

Why does my recliner matter? For years, I worked from home, sitting in a recliner. It was comfy, cozy, and let me just concentrate on work. I was highly productive. But I didn’t move much during my work day.

I wanted to fix that. I instead got a bar stool height office chair, and sat on it while coding, pushing it aside to stand during meetings. I’ve been in that setup for months now. I felt stronger. I felt like I was moving more and ended each day feeling like less of a lump. Until this last weekend…

This weekend – the smoke from the wildfires made me feel unhealthy. So I pulled the recliner back to my desk to relax physically for a couple days, wondering if it would help. It did – I had forgotten how comfortable this is. And my work improved – I’m getting more done, faster. Not that I was unproductive the last 6 months, but I was at maybe 80% of my capabilities, not 100%.

I’m getting more done this week, but back to less exercise and movement, and therein lies exactly the question everyone needs to answer for themselves – is 100% productivity the right goal? If I end up rocking my work, but trashing my health, what will I think of that choice when I am 55, 65, 75… Will I even make it that long?

I’ve been around enough that I’ve seen coders who did not focus on their health die. It is a sobering moment when someone just a little older than you, and just a little less healthy than you, is suddenly gone.

I have no intention of slacking in my work, but I am putting myself first, and taking the time every day to go on walks, take breaks, move around the house, and not just sit at a screen all day. If I lose a little productivity in the short-term, I’ll still gain more time and accomplishments over my lifetime.

Take care of yourselves, people – while there may be some jobs worth dying for, odds are your tech job is not one of them.

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