How to Improve Your Job Performance in Two Seconds

Could the answer to being more productive be as simple as fixing your posture? Well, yes!

This week we look how your posture affects the quality of your work and what you can do about it:


Posture matters more than you may think. In fact, there’s evidence that whether you sit up straight or slouch affects the quality of your work. That means, depending on how you hold yourself, there could be huge differences in how your body operates, which could have major implications for office workers looking to boost their productivity.

One key change that occurs when you sit up straight or stand: Your heart rate goes up about 10 beats per minute, providing a possible improvement in reaction time and attention, according to [retired ergonomist and human-performance specialist, Max] Vercruyssen.

He suggests adjusting your posture or standing up straight when you have a task that requires extra attention and focus. Just don’t expect it to be a cure-all: Any posture-related changes to your performance are likely to be most noticeable when you’re exhausted or coming out of a post-lunch slump.

Ergonomics is all about trade-offs. According to Vercruyssen, the more comfortable we are, the easier it is to crash, lose focus, and possibly even doze off. Vercruyssen suggests balancing this trade-off by sorting and scheduling your tasks by difficulty. If you feel like you can stomach the discomfort of standing or sitting up straight for only short bursts, use this time take on your most taxing projects. If there’s something you could do in your sleep, that’s a good time to get comfy.

In a series of studies, Erik Peper, a professor of health education at San Francisco State University, had participants sit in various positions and then asked them to recall either negative thoughts and memories or positive and empowering ones. Slouchers had a harder time recalling the positive thoughts. The good news: Peper found the opposite effect to be true as well. Subjects who sat up had an easier time recalling positive and optimistic memories, and just 30 seconds of skipping in place was shown to markedly improve mood and energy levels.


And there you have it, the secret to being productive – sit up straight!

For more on the connection between posture and productivity, visit Bloomberg.

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