Being a developer or designer is great but chances are you spend a lot of time at your desk in front of the screen — If you’re not careful this can quickly have an impact on your health and life.
Working as a developer or designer is pretty cool right? Not only do we get to work on computers all day we also get to listen to our favourite music, tweet random GIFs, chat on Slack and work pretty much anywhere we want around the world for some of the largest companies ever.
There are plenty more benefits of course (I’m sure there’s a list somewhere???) which easily outweigh the con’s but there’s still a bunch of caveats we should all be aware of or at least reminded about.
Sure these things don’t sound that bad but if you’re like me and have been doing this kind work for a while they can have a dramatic affect on your body and life.
From my own experience as a dev here are a few tips that might help ✌️
Move. Standup. Get outside.
Move your ass! You’d be surprised how hard this is, time flies by when working on a computer. All of a sudden you’ve been in the same spot for hours. This is bad for your body and it wont do your work any good.
I’ve found that ensuring you have set times for breaks is by far the best way to avoid those long stationary periods. Set alarms, reminders whatever you need to do to get into a routine — it doesn’t have to be long e.g. 10–15mins.
It’s also nice to just get outside, even if it’s for 5 minutes, getting that fresh air can wake you up and make you feel more alert. Also a little vitamin D doesn’t hurt right? And yes walking to get a coffee counts…
Our industry is known for drinking a lot of energy drinks, having too much coffee and hitting up that snack-box a little to often. You can still have these things but it needs to be in moderation and a little less frequent.
For me personally, drinking plenty of water makes the biggest difference to how I feel during the day. It’s important to get this water in early, that will help prevent hunger early in the day and wake your body up naturally.
Breakfast is key when your sitting down all day. You want something that will give you enough energy to function but try and avoid going too hard on the sugar. Lots of people think having a homemade smoothie is a good option but often they have way to much sugar which will make you crash before you even get to lunch. Reduce the sugar or alternatively have something like oats or granola.
Basically just limit your snacks, watch the coffee count and drink lots of water (drinking too much water will only make you get up and move so bonus!).
Some of us hate it and others love it. Exercise.
You don’t burn many calories sitting down all day (I know weird right?!) so the only way you’ll stay fit and healthy is if you add some kind of physical activity to your day. Even a simple 30min walk will make a huge difference to how you feel.
It doesn’t really matter when you do this activity but just so long as you do it. Some people swear by morning exercise as they feel fresh and awake before starting work, others prefer it after work to shake of all that sluggish-ness or just hate early mornings!
I’m a member of a box-fit class personally. There’s something addicting about hitting a bag after a long day at work. Do something you find fun and it’ll feel less like a chore.
A little activity each day is also a nice way to chill out for a bit. Which brings us to the bonus tip…
Switch off…This isn’t just for designers/developers, everyone should be doing this. We’re all on our devices, screens and TV’s way too much. You should take time each night to relax and enjoy the real world. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and all the rest can wait, they’re not going anywhere!
Life hack: set your modem to turn off each night for a couple hours.
The last thing you want (you’ll burn out in no time otherwise) is to be on a computer for 8+ hours and then go home and do the same thing…
This is all simple stuff, you’ve probably heard it before but it’s nice to be reminded. Just move, eat well, drink plenty of water and again, get away from that screen god dammit.