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5 Healthy Habits for Productive Work

Rebecca Thorman

Healthy employees are nearly three times more productive at work, which translates to 140 working hours versus 45 working hours. Build your productivity and career with these five healthy habits:

1. Move constantly. "Prolonged inactivity, a practice known more familiarly as sitting a lot, is both widespread and unhealthy," reports the New York Times. "Normal exercise, which fills so few hours of even active people's days, may not be enough in terms of health." If you're stuck in a cubicle all day, try making your meetings mobile. Bring your phone or notebook and go outside, or try wandering the hallways or stairwells of your building. Mobile meetings are great for brainstorming, creativity, and problem solving, says the Center for Health Improvement.

2. Stand up. Even if you can't move a lot at work, make a concerted effort to at least stand at your desk. Sitting is your worst enemy. Try a standing desk or just use computer risers to raise your monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Don't forget to also stretch your arms, back, and legs. You may generate some looks and interest, but you'll produce better results, and avoid an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a variety of cancers, not to mention an early death.

3. Stop bringing in donuts. Or cookies. Or candy. Start contributing healthy snacks to the break room. Not only does sugar bring people down, but a recent study by the University of Nottingham shows that eating vegetables makes you appear better looking to others. This is important for your career--there have also been studies that found good-looking people get paid more and make more money for their companies. Of course, eating your vegetables has a compendium of other benefits, besides vanity. Vegetable eaters also have a higher IQ, according to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

4. Get at least seven hours of sleep. We all know that you need to get enough sleep to function creatively and productively. But it's also important not to get too much sleep. TIME magazine reports that between 6.5 and 7.5 hours of sleep a night is the optimum number to ensure you don't feel groggy and live a long healthy life. Develop healthy sleep habits by avoiding electronic devices at night, not eating right before bed, and creating a positive morning routine to wake up to.

5. Get up early. A survey conducted by biologist Christoph Randler found that people whose performance peaks in the morning are better positioned to have career success, specifically because morning people are more proactive than nightowls. Set an exact time to get out of bed each morning and make sure your bedtime gives you enough sleep. It will take a few days for your body to sync up to your new rhythm, but you'll also discover it's easier to get work done early, when there are no meetings or colleagues to distract you.

Rebecca Thorman's weekly blog Kontrary offers tips to create the career, bank account, and life you love, and is a popular destination for young professionals. Her goal is to help you find meaningful work, enjoy the heck out of it, and earn more money. She writes from Washington, D.C.

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