Power naps, power snack, power training: power everything!
In the early 1990’s, as the Western world started to take a closer look at Japanese corporate culture, several things were pointed out as being ‘uncommon’ for the standards of the day. Coordinated gymnastics in the morning, power naps at work, and a cult for the lunchbox seemed to attract more shrugging than admiration. Today, however, we tend to have a Western cult for more physical exercise, balanced diets, and relaxation. This article on the Cozy Cloud blog is meant to show some simple ways in which you can integrate your need for healthy habits in a busy work environment, and how Quantified Self (QS) can help you reach that.
Shush, we’re talking about power naps!
Japanese power naps, also called inemuri are surprisingly seen as the effect of hard work, and are looked upon with respect. Someone will go into a 30-min nap because he or she had previously worked hard, not because they had a hard-knock evening at the bar. inemuri (居眠り) literally means to sleep while being present, and the custom has it, that one has to keep an upright, dignified sitting position while doing it; as if, on waking up, one could immediately start working where they had left off.
Getting to your own routine of power naps may not be as easy as you think. First of all, because unless you work alone, a power nap is a social gesture and you need to test people’s feelings about it. Secondly, because each individual has his or her customized setup for sleep: it’s all in the temperature, colors, smells, and noise that surround you. Last but not least, always fewer people will build up the willpower to simply doze off when they decide to.
If you don’t want to have frustrating experiences with your power naps, then you should definitely take a deep breath, and see what QS can bring to you from this perspective. Many QS devices and apps will be able to identify the best moments of the day to take a power nap, and also will have the ability to wake you up gradually from your light sleep, so that when you wake up, you shall not feel more tired, actually, than before your power nap. Additionally, power naps will be added to your sleep statistics, and you will be able to think back about how more productive you’ve been after a power nap than going without it for days on end. Of course, it is up to you to use it or not, but people who have taken up the habit of power naps, will tell you that it’s more efficient than a(nother) cup of coffee, and that your cognitive powers will benefit from it, not to mention that you will reach a decreased risk of heart failure.
Tell me what’s in your lunchbox, and I’ll tell you who you are.
Being unable to keep regular meal hours is another stumbling block of today’s busy workforce. Not to mention that people who take time to eat at regular hours, to be specific in their diets, and eventually to prioritize food over work, are often ostracized in many work environments. In Japanese culture, however, having a creative design in your well-balanced lunchbox (called bento), is seen as a virtue, rather than a shortcoming.
Let’s say you have always wanted to build the habit of bringing a lunchbox to work, but never mobilized in order to think of a routine to bring one to work. There are questions of logistics that eventually will lead to the fact, that you are not so willing to live better, actually, if you don’t. Preparing a lunchbox means that you will need fresh ingredients in order to cook, so you need to shop responsibly and regularly. It also means that you have to cook, and that means that you should regularly spend active time in the kitchen. Eventually, it means that you have to have a sustainable plan for all the above.
QS allows you to think pragmatically and analytically at the same time. If you want to be more body aware, this means that you will try and find the connections between diet and exercising, for instance, or between body weight and liquid intakes. With QS, you will be able to do connect-the-dots work with your new habits, and complete more targets simultaneously. If you are determined to pursue healthier eating habits, make plans. Walk to a more distant store in order to get your ingredients, thus completing walking routines. Learn about new diets and monitor your results as you further advance into their implementation.
How you can become a walking miracle.
Meeting physical exercise expectations is for most working people today way harsher than meeting a deadline in an intricate business project. Because just like with sleep and food, we are more likely to de-prioritize physical well-being in the face of pressing business assignments, you should make plans on how to achieve better physical training everyday. If needed, you should reconfigure your life entirely, especially if it gravitates around work and nothing else. Moving closer to work (or conversely, getting a job closer to home), at least within walking or biking distance will do the trick. Waking up earlier in order to walk to work, or instead, finding windows in your schedule that could be appointed to physical exercise will again help. Finding a physical training partner among your work colleagues can also help with motivation, and regularity.
On the one hand, QS will of course quantify all your efforts toward more physical practice. With today’s devices, no step will go unnoticed and unrewarded statistically, but also, if you think about it, it will create a new habit. New habits are known to boost your energy, and to impact positively creativity as well. On the other hand, you can actually benefit from QS devices that have idle alerts, which you can customize in order to tell you for instance when you’ve been idle for too long (with customizations as precise as every 30 minutes of inactive time between 09:00am and 05:00pm), so you will know when it’s time to walk to the water cooler, stretch a bit by the photocopier, or even spend 30mins of your break in power exercise in the gym, if available.
Whether we talk about physical exercise, or food intake, or sleep - one thing is clear. None of these will work unless you put your mind to it, and however determined you will be, there will be again many real-life situations in which you will be more likely to pass on them for the sake of pursuing a nobler, and more productive target. However, you should be advised that these basic activities not only ensure momentary satisfaction and well-being, but also long-term endurance, creative boosts, and cognitive clarity - and these, rather than passing satisfaction, are the real target.