I’ve been trying to figure out why my back is bothering me so much lately.

I had a mild case of polio as a kid and, ever since, my posture, the position of my neck and scoliosis have plagued me. My parents sent me to posture school when I was in 4th grade, which helped (I bet you didn’t know that was a thing, did you?) but still it was never perfect. You might notice I move around a lot when sitting. It’s not because I’m in pain but everything doesn’t align quite right.

I’ll never forget the moment I met my future in-laws for the first time. We were sitting at their large dining room table. Everything about the dinner was formidable: the fact that I was only 19 and not yet the person I would become, the size of the table, the elegance of the setup, the gourmet food that just kept coming. After an hour or so went by, the woman who was soon to be my mother-in-law, looked over at me and said: “What is wrong with you? Can’t you sit up straight?” I should have called it off then, but, no, I endured her for 15 years before my husband and I called it quits!

But I digress.

23 years ago, I was getting nerve pain in my arms and legs. I went to a neurologist. He did all the usual tests and concluded it was how I held my head. Then he did a wonderful thing: he suggested I find a Pilates instructor who understood the body. I searched, trying out different trainers, and eventually found Jen. Jen had been a ballet dancer. She truly got what was going on with me. For over 20 years I have been doing weekly workouts with her. My body is limber and, for the most part, I maintain it without pain. That plus tennis, biking and walking keep me in shape. (okay, truth: not so much tennis, biking or jogging now, but lots and lots of walking.)

So why is my back bothering me so much recently? Do you remember when you walked or drove to meetings? When you would meet clients for coffe or lunch? Sometimes I’d go to 3 or 4 meetings in a day and there was a break after each one. (I’ve worked from home for 21 years so mostly my meetings were in different locations.)

Not since the pandemic! All my meetings are online. I can schedule them back to back (how’s that for time management?) which means I might be sitting for 3 – 5 hours at a time. How efficient! And, when I’m not in meetings, I can write blogs, newsletters and engage on social media. Create new material. Contact people by phone. And, all the while, what am I doing? Sitting!

I’m writing postcards every night to get out the vote in Michigan and Wisconsin. I find the documentaries on Netflix of great interest. And, it’s important to listen to the news, if only to catch up on the lates Covid information or who Biden is going to choose for his running mate.

My time is being managed really well, and my body is going to – well you know where it’s going.

So, here comes the twist: In this age of Covid, you must think about time differently. Here are my thoughts on how you can make the most of your time now:

  • Plan breaks into your day – I am now walking 3-4 miles daily to force me to leave my desk and computer. Or, I walk first thing in the morning and start my day later. I’ve started to play the piano again. A 10-minute break finds me eagerly working on Pachobel’s Canon. And, if my back acts up, I take to the floor and vigorously exercise.
  • Breaks provide energy. Energy provides free thinking. Thinking provides creativity. And, you know, where creativity leads – straight down the path to innovation.
  • Find silence in every day. Silence lets you sit with your thoughts. Sitting (literally or not) in silence results in the ideas that come when you are thinking. Someone I know suggests journaling first, then sit in silence.
  • Now, when you sit down to work you accomplish more, you are actively involved in what you are doing.
  • And, you are kinder to your body.

This new routine is definitely making a difference. You can find yours. Don’t think you have the time to take breaks? Try it! A small one every few hours will increase your concentration, bring down your stress levels and boost your productivity. Let me know how it works for you.

Yours for success,

Gail