I just got back from the Atlanta Salesforce World Tour, where I helped man the AppBuddy booth. I got to answer all sorts of questions about GridBuddy and Salesforce in general, but more noteworthy is the fact that it was 9 hours of standing with no chairs and only an hour break. It was a little brutal, and reminded me just how out of shape I am.
It also reminded me of news I'd heard a few months back: that a number of health professionals and researchers have recently come forward to declare that "sitting is the new smoking". The amount of time you spend sitting per day has a direct impact on your health, especially as time goes on. In the short-term, the reduced time spent on your feet affects your weight and metabolism, and in the long-term, leads to complications that stem from those effects and even increases your odds of cancer.
So what can we do to help with this? Here are a few things that we, as Salesforce admins and professionals, should do to get our butts out of our chairs.
1. Just Stand Every Once in a While
Sure, you've got a lot to do. You're a Salesforce admin, it comes with the territory! But there's nothing that can't wait 5 minutes. It's believed that the negative effects mentioned above can be mitigated somewhat by standing up for a minute every half-hour or so. So right now, just stand up. I don't care what you're doing, just stand up for a minute. Ok, well not if you're driving. But if you're reading this while driving, you've got other problems anyway, so, you know, maybe you should address that first?
Find excuses to just get out of your chair during your work day. Go get some water, talk to a co-worker, just something to get you up and moving regularly. Set yourself a timer for it too. It's been shown that health problems affect your productivity just as much as anything else, so you're actually saving more work time in the long run by standing a little each day.
For bonus points, see if you can get yourself one of those fancy-schmancy standing desks to work from. Some companies will pay for it, but even if you don't think yours will, it doesn't hurt to ask. You don't make the shots you don't take, right? And take my advice: if you get one, DON'T try to go straight into standing up for the entire length of your workday. Work up to it: an hour the first day, maybe two hours a couple days after that, etc etc.
2. Go Talk to Your Users
One of the things that you can do when standing, and not just to benefit your health, is go TALK to your users. It can be all too easy to get so wrapped up in our admin work and the requests that come to our desk that we don't go out and actually talk to people when we're NOT working on one of their requests.
Ask how they're doing. Ask how well that last feature you developed for them is working. Tell them about some of the new things that came out in the last major Salesforce release and gauge their interest. Schedule times to show them (at their desk) cool things in Salesforce, like new features or report coaching.
Before long, you'll develop a reputation for being helpful, proactive, and a boon to the company. You may not be getting quite as much done, but you'd be amazed how much that you'll be forgiven for that when you just become more there than you were before.
3. Get to a User Group
When you sit back down in your chair, the first thing you should do is head on over to the master list of all of the Salesforce User Groups and find the one nearest you. If you aren't in one already, these are invaluable get-togethers where multiple admins meet to discuss Salesforce problems and technologies. They usually meet once every month or two, and usually free food is provided. Speakers will come to talk about products and generally to educate on various subjects such as Trailhead or Flow, and some even bring giveaways!
One way or another, the amount of value in meeting and talking with fellow admins should never be underestimated. You'll have the opportunity to network with your fellows, partners who may be able to provide services for your org, and other Salesforce roles such as developers and managers. Besides, you never know where your next job will come from, eh?
If there isn't a user group in your area, you can always start one! You can reach out to Holly Goldin to inquire about getting one started and all of the assistance you can get to do so. If you build it, they will come...
4. Get to an Event
Of course, there's more than just User Groups; Salesforce puts on events as well. If you haven't been to a Dreamforce yet, I HIGHLY recommend that you get to at least one in your Salesforce life. Everyone needs to experience drinking from the knowledge firehose at least once.
But there's more than just Dreamforce. Salesforce puts on free mini-Dreamforces throughout the year called "Salesforce World Tour" events, such as the one I mentioned earlier. It's a day of sessions, with staff and volunteers available for Q&A, showcases on new Salesforce tech, and vendors to show their Salesforce add-ons. You can't beat that price tag, so if you can get to one, do so.
Lastly, there are actually community-sponsored events as well. They're basically officially-unofficial mini-Dreamforces in their own right, but usually with a much stronger community presence, as is their nature. It's like a shorter, friendlier, less-insane Dreamforce. So far in 2016, there are four in the US scheduled: Tahoe Dreamin', SnowForce, Southeast Dreamin', and Midwest Dreamin'. Check them out!
UPDATED: Also, for those on the other side of the pond, there is now London's Calling in February!