Sitting is the New Smoking – Bad for Your Body, Bad for Your Business

PastedGraphic-2 (3)I’m not exactly a raving fan of Mad Men or Don Draper, but I watched enough episodes to notice how in every episode almost all characters are engaged in a mindless activity which is detrimental to their health. Any guesses what it is? Smoking, of course. It’s stunning how that mindless habit was such a big part of our culture; yet it isn’t anymore.

So what is our generation’s equivalent of smoking? – an activity we engage in in a mindless way which is harmful to out health, our well being, and our creativity. It isn’t cars or our smart phones … it is sitting on your tush.

As consultants, aka “knowledge” workers, we are spending a lot of time huddled over our machines and not thinking about our bodies as related to our minds and intellect. But it’s not all intellect. It has to involve your health, it has to involve your well being, it has to involve your creativity. And you’re not going to be creative if your health is deteriorating.

So much of our time is lived in a sedentary role. In fact we spend 9.3 hours a day in front of our computer screen; more time than sleeping. Sitting is so prevalent, we don’t even question how much we’re doing it and since everybody is engaged in this activity we assume it’s OK. In effect sitting became our generation’s equivalent of smoking.

When I heard the term “sitting is the new smoking” I got triggered. When I created my financial planning practice, I created it with a vision of integrating my life and my business to enable me to live a life of freedom, expression, connection and total health. Yet in my desire to build my business and serve my clients’ every whim I was spending countless hours in front of the computer. I was skipping my bike rides, making walks with my dog shorter, and even cutting my yoga. I was prioritizing my business over my well-being, my family over my physical health, and my friends over my creativity. My body was taking a toll; at the end of day it was aching, I felt lifeless and, I was slowly adding inches to my waist. Hours in front of the computer were not supporting my idea of an integrated joyful work and life. Work started to feel like energy draining slog rather than life enhancing journey.

Right about that time I learned that Steve Job was very fond of walking meetings. It didn’t take long for me to take that idea and make it my own.

When it comes to non-client related meetings, I’m open to having coffee to have a conversation with anybody but I’m having these while we’re walking. If you want that, come with your tennis shoes and join me. Over the last three years I had countless walk & talk meetings. I clocked in many multiples of ten thousand steps. I found out that getting out of the office and into fresh air promotes creativity and allows me to be more focused and efficient, and definitely elevates my mood.

Walk & talk meetings and standing desk changed the way I look at ideas. I don’t think of my obligations and my health in binary way. One doesn’t have to come at the expense of the other. There is something amazing about getting out-of-the-box thinking, which allows for the flow of out-of-the-box ideas.

If you have been doing walk & talk meetings, keep spreading the idea; and whatever your calling in life is, get off your tush and walk your talk.

jnowak@moneywisefa.com' About Joanna Nowak

Joanna Nowak, Wealth Advisor and Principal at MoneyWise Financial Advisors, a boutique advisory firm providing integrated financial planning and investment management for savvy women, their families and business. Joanna’s work with women honors their core values and aspirations, and allows them to live their lives from a position of financial strength, freedom and abundance. Previously Joanna was WIC’s VP of Finance.

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