Markus Schindler knows how to work. He is German, a former scientist for the United Nations, and now the Program Director of Pangea, a California-based company advocating for every person to create his or her own thriving life.
Work is a big part of a satisfying and meaningful life, and ultimately, we all want to work better. But to figure out how to do that, the first question to ask is: What does better even mean? Which brings us to point number one – arguably the most important one.
Know Your Values
We use values to make every decision in our lives; it’s how we make sure we are honest and true to ourselves. Markus says, “Our values define what’s important to us and how we prioritize the options we have. Without an awareness of our values, we have no direction – and we’ll just end up following the priorities of others instead.”
The challenge many of us face here is that values are inherently subjective. There are no better or worse, right or wrong values. There are only the values that make sense to you, and those that don’t. So, don’t look to others to define your values for you. Identify them yourself and use each one as a guiding principle to direct your work.
Yes, nap – as in the brief afternoon slumber to refresh your body and mind in a strenuous working environment. Are you getting enough sleep? Markus suggests this test: “On a typical day, if you didn’t drink any coffee, could you easily fall back asleep at around 11am? If the answer is yes, you are sleep deprived. There are no two ways about it.”
For the best results, nap at around 2 PM everyday for 90 minutes. Naps are proven to reduce stress levels and anxiety, increase productivity, enhance your memory, help you cope with complex social situations, boost your creativity, perceptual processing, associative thinking, alertness, perception…the list goes on. It can be tricky to sneak in the full 90 all the time but give it a try!
“Our brain is simply not built for it. We are all trying it, we all think we are getting the hang of it, but we really can’t do it. Even if it works for you, you would still be a lot more efficient if you focused on one task at a time, rather than trying to do them all at once,” says Markus.
Tackling the one thing right in front of you will not only help you solve it quicker but also help you to be more grounded in the present moment – thus considerably reducing stress and anxiety. You finish more work, your brain is not lost in a cloud of constant traffic, and your boss is happy. What more can you ask for?
Be in when you’re in, be out when you’re out
You bent over backwards for your job all day. The time after work is for you, your loved ones, for however you want to spend it. Go back to your values. Work will always be there. Learn how to manage it along with everything else in your life around it. Do not make work the center of your universe!
“The important thing here is to define your boundaries and stick to them. Either you are at work, or you aren’t. If you don’t stick to your boundaries, nobody else will, either. Besides, there are so many tools to help you ease your worries. Out-of-office messages, for example. People will know you aren’t there, and chances are, they will respect it. Even be inspired by it to do the same. And your life will be grateful for it,” Markus advises.
Listen to your body
“Your body talks to you, all the time. Just like a life misaligned with your values will lead to neuroses and depression, a life misaligned with your body will lead to disease. Dis-ease. A state where your body is not at ease, blocked and unhappy – the perfect breeding environment for bacteria and tumors,” says Markus.
Listen to your body. If you are constantly tired, experience tightness in your muscles, pain in your organs – that is your body telling you that something needs to change. While work is important, your health takes precedence. The more you look after your body, the better it can work and perform at full capacity for you every day. Give it the love it deserves, and it will reward you with more energy and joy!
Practice these 5 tips and become more efficient and happier at work. Even better, take a break to reconnect with yourself and evaluate your life from time to time. Join the Thriving Life micro-retreat by Flow Retreats and Pangea on 24-25 November 2018 at Green Canyon Eco and Art Resort in Clark, Pampanga. Learn more and sign-up here. See you there!