Implementing healthier choices into our proposal development environments

The federal proposal development environment is not conducive to good health; we often experience lack of sleep, physical inactivity, and poor nutrition. We diminish our cardiovascular capabilities day-by-day, sitting in front of computers with aching backs and necks. Proposal professionals are often tasked with working late nights on large proposal efforts, hindering sleep habits and increasing chronic stress levels. Company-sponsored food usually consists of pizza or sweet treats, and the compressed timetables and never-ending to-do lists mean skipping meals or resorting to fast food. In fact, I knew one colleague who regularly ate Pop-Tarts out of vending machines to keep himself going late at night. Do any of these depictions describe your work environment?

This combination of stress, sedentary tasks, lack of sleep, and poor nutrition is a prescription for a litany of health issues, from high blood pressure to obesity to heart disease. As important as our jobs are, we shouldn’t risk our health to increase the company’s bottom line. We should start implementing healthier choices into our professional lives now, despite how busy we are.

Lisa Pafe advocates incorporating yoga into your workday. In her APMP-NCA conference presentation Proposal Yoga, Lisa shares six yoga poses you can practice in 10 minutes at your desk. That small investment can restore calm, reduce aches, and minimize tension headaches.

Switching to a standing desk is another way to incorporate increased physical activity into your workday. Michael Hyatt shares his experience using a standing desk for the past 10 years in his blog post 4 Reasons You Should Buy a Stand Up Desk – Right now. According to research referenced in the post, using a standing desk from the time we arrive at the office until we leave for lunch every workday for a year is the equivalent of running 10 marathons! Check out some of the resources he lists for adaptions you can make to easily convert your workstation.

For our overall health, we need to balance increased activity with adequate rest. Mind Tool published an infographic detailing the personal and professional benefits of adequate sleep. Better sleep is linked to improved memory, creativity, productivity, emotional stability, and concentration. Additionally, they provide five tips for improving the quality of your sleep:

  1. Exercise
  2. Avoid dietary disruptions before bed
  3. Reduce stress prior to bed
  4. Follow a consistent sleep plan, and
  5. Create a conducive environment for sleep

If managing stress levels and taking a stand for your health seems impossible given the demands of the office, it may be time to reconsider your proposal processes. By implementing consistent processes, you can dramatically reduce the amount of late nights and overtime you have to invest into a given proposal. Check out Lohfeld’s Proposal Management class or browse our News and Knowledge Center and Insights blogs to improve your proposal practices so you can prioritize your health.

How have you found balance in the office to increase your health?

by Julia Quigley

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Lohfeld Consulting