Stretching Reminders

Are you having trouble remembering to get up and stretch throughout the day? According to the annual data we receive from our healthcare providers, pains, sprains and other musculoskeletal problems have consistently topped the list as the number one health related issue facing Clackamas County employees and their families. More and more studies are finding that stretching breaks have a number of benefits, to include a decrease in injuries, reduction of pain, increase of flexibility and range of motion, increase of self worth, and a happier and healthier work community.

For those of us stuck in front of a computer, here is a process for setting up a Microsoft Outlook reminder without filling up your Outlook calendar. This will help you remember to get up and stretch.

  • If you do not already have a “To-Do Bar” with “Tasks” available on the right hand side of your Outlook Mailbox, then do the following:
    • Select “View” from the Outlook menu at the top of the page.
    • Scroll down to “To-Do Bar” and make sure all of the following have check marks next to them:
      • “Normal”
      • “Task List”
    • If the above are not already selected, then click on them to select. You may choose to have other options available also, such as “Date Navigator” and “Appointments”.
  • To add a stretching task to your task list:
    • Double-click on the “type a new task” field of the “To-Do Bar”. A new window will pop up for inputting the information for your task.
    • In the subject line, put whatever you like to remind you that this is a task for stretching. I just type “Stretch!”
    • Below the Start Date and Due Date is a field to make this task a reminder. Click on the empty box next to “Reminder”. Leave the date the same to have it start today. In the time field, select the time you would like this reminder to pop up each day. Since I start work at 7:00am, I would select 8:00am as my first reminder.
    • So that you do not need to enter this reminder every single day, select “Recurrence” from the top of the task menu. The “Task Recurrence” window will pop up. Select “Daily”, “Every Weekday”, and “No End Date”. Then click OK. This will cause the reminder to pop up on your screen every weekday at the time you selected.
    • If you want to list specific stretches to do at this time of the day (I like to do this), then name the stretches and how to complete them in the body of the task (This is the big white box at the bottom of the Task Window). For a list of stretching exercises and instructions for them, click here.
    • Select “Save & Close” from the top of the task menu. You now have a repeating task that will remind you when to get up and stretch!
    • Repeat this process for each time of the day you want to be reminded. I do one every hour of the work day, and I like to list different exercises for each of the repeating task times I create.
  • What to do when the task reminder pops up on my screen:
    • When the task first pops up on your screen, it will just come up in a reminder window. If you have named specific exercises for this time of the day, they you will not yet see those exercises. To see the full task, including exercises, double click on the task in the reminder window. Once you are done stretching, you may just “X” out of the task. The reminder window will still be open until you select dismiss.
    • After you have selected dismiss, you will also need to left-click on the red flag next to the task in the “To-Do Bar” on the right. You will know which one you will need to click on because it will no longer have the bell next to it. Once you left-click on the flag, the task will disappear, and tomorrows task for the same time will show up below the others. If you do not click away the task, then tomorrow’s reminder will not pop up.
  • Important to remember:
    • If you do not work on Friday, then you will need to click on Friday’s red flags at the end of the day on Thursday or first thing Monday to get rid of Friday’s tasks. Otherwise, the Monday tasks will not appear.

If you need clarification on this process, contact Michelle Raethke at mraethke@clackamas.us..