Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beds & Desks

I don't think we choose to sleep too little. It just joins the 'find the time' queue. Churchill was famous for being able to nod off at any given gap to try and catch up. Napoleon could apparently sleep on horseback. I got inspired by a more alive famous person when I read 'How Life Imitates Chess' by Gary Kasparov. It is a good example of remembering that I loved a book, but not remembering much of the book. One point that did stick out is that Kasparov was a big fan of the afternoon snooze. I have always suffered from the traditional afternoon lull around three o'clock when productivity falls through the floor. Kasparov argued that pre-lunch sleeps were a great boost and shouldn't just be for later in life. I was working in Bermuda at the time, and completely convinced, decided it was worth zipping back to where I was staying for a power nap during the lunch hour. The problem was that the conflict now lay with two other happiness sponges - traffic and heat. Well, heat isn't a happiness sponge if you are wearing little more than a cold drink, but add it to hooting cars and smiles disappear.

We are only just starting to learn how to create work environments that really allow us to be creative, productive and happy. A unpleasant commute isn't the only solvable problem we face - John Medina in 'Brain Rules' gives a number of other suggestions. The one that stuck out for me was the idea of 'walking desks'. If you are walking at a comfortable pace - say 1.5km/hour - it isn't strenuous exercise but keeps you moving and allows thoughts to flow. Kate, a friend and HR business leader, has always been a fan of the lower tech, cheaper, and easier to implement method of going for walking meetings. If you have an hour long meeting with someone, why not walk around the block or the park together?

Spike Milligan said money can't buy you happiness, but it can bring you a more pleasant form of misery. The one area Benjamin Wallace believes it is worth spending money is on a quality bed. If you aren't going to be able to get some sleep during the day, because it would mean a double commute, then investing in an awesome bed is probably worth it. If you are going to spend 12 hours a day at your desk - you may be forgetting the 'use it or lose it' rule of the body. Perhaps walking desks are the awesome beds of the office?

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