“Two things I can’t stand – sitting and sleeping.” ~ J.R. Rim
I work approximately 16 hours a day. 14 hours at work, 4 hours doing my own thing and 6 hours sleeping. Ok, ok…7 hours sleeping. And here’s the end result – a slight paunch that developed in the last few months, numb hands (most of the time), burning elbows, stiff neck, sore back and wrists that hurt when I lift or do some activity.
Sitting is the new kill zone
I realized that I was wasting away. I tried a couple of things. Going for walks, doing some activity at home, hitting the gym. My attempts (struggle rather) to wean myself off the ‘new’ idiot machine(s) that have slowly enveloped every facet of my waking hours FAILED miserably.
I could not get enough of the constantly streaming updates, the likes, the hits, the traffic or what you call it. Internet is an addiction. And it is spawning a brand new, ready-to-exploit generation of folks that might have fancy smartphones and devices that cost an X amount of money but what they fail to realize is that the diseases and the issues that are festering and will show themselves a few years down the line will be 10X the cost of these devices and may well be irreversible. Stiff necks, backs, wrists will be the norm.
Getting a lot done
It has been almost 4 years since I last saw the insides of a bank or an electronics shop. I don’t speak to my Relationship manager any more. It is has already gone the way of self-help. For the tech-savvy it is a boon. A few clicks, a few swipes and all work is done. Its that simple. Its all digital work happening at blazing speeds. And while our minds are boiling and churning all the time with all this work, our bodies are deteriorating at a steady pace.
Mind body tussle
I no longer see the need to move my limbs. I feel and it is a fact that I can do all the work my folks did a decade or two back out in the sweltering sun on my mobile device or my laptop. I no longer sweat, no longer face the pollution (except when I commute), no longer tire as the CLOUD shadows every aspect of my life.
Everything is digitized
Everything has digitized. Relationships, human interaction, creative effort, everything. Its like we are hurtling toward the not-so-distant reality of the Surrogates movie where everyone is plugged to the grid and while their real bodies are at home, their bionic bodies are hard at work, taking the beating, taking the risks.
Here’s the plan
Break the cycle. Change things a bit. Move around. Make war on the status quo that has you sitting wasting you away while you ‘seem’ to have a good time. Have walking meetings. Go for more breaks. Unwork. Just keep moving. Here’s what I did today – I changed the way I worked (wasted away) daily.
I installed two rather ugly looking boxes I got from one of them e-commerce sites and elevated my laptop to a level that forces me to stand up and work. I am yet to feel the difference but I already see that my arms and wrists are automatically in line and not at an angle that forms when I sit down and work. More good should hopefully follow.
All that comes to mind right now is that song by B. Marley – Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight.
Here’s a TED video for a quick education (wake up call) on this topic.
Thank you for stopping by. Have a nice day ahead. May the force be with you.
Salil Lawande is a writer, photographer and illustrator living/working/traveling in India.