Walking is one of the few forms of exercise that is accessible to most, and low intensity enough that you can focus your mind on other things at the same time. It is one of natures great two-for-one deals that we have been gifted.
How I get more walking into my work day:
- The walking one on one. If there isn’t something that needs to be referred to on a computer, take the meeting on foot. I do this with my manager for our monthly huddle, and for my direct reports. The key is to have an agenda set beforehand, and to bring a notebook to capture any action items.
- The thinking walk. Sometimes you need to step away from the computer and focus on a problem through a different lens. This strategy will be torpedoed, however, if you bring your phone and/or headphones on your thinking walk. It needs to be slightly boring for you to focus your attention on the problem you are thinking through. Bring a notebook to capture any ideas.
- The walking “townhall”. Assuming you have a virtual townhall or large group meeting every so often. As I wrote about in “6 opinions on meetings, hiring, and following“, sitting there with your camera off half listening half doing other work is the worst approach. Either call in and take a stroll, truly listening, or don’t call in and ask for takeaways from someone else.
- The productive commute (if you don’t have a “real” commute), try making a walk the bookend to your work day. Use it as a time to decompress and switch your state of mind from work to home life.
Life is a path, we have to walk it
“In a beautiful letter to his sister in law, who was often bedridden, and depressed as a result, Kierkegaard wrote of the importance of walking. ‘Above all,’ he told her in 1847,’ do not lose your desire to walk: Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thoughts so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.’ Kierkegaard believed that sitting still was a kind of breeding ground for illness. But walking, movement, to him was almost sacred. It cleansed the soul and cleared the mind in a way that primed his explorations as a philosopher. Life is a path, he liked to say, we have to walk it.“Stillness Is The Key, Ryan Holiday
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