The last week has been crazy, confusing and very uncertain for most of us. COVID-19 is creating a unique situation and it is forcing us to embrace new working styles and changing our routines. Many people are working from home, others are displaced from work and even more worrying many businesses have decided to close (temporarily).
These are unprecedented times which call for an extraordinary approach. None of us could have planned for such a situation, hence I urge you all to maintain calm, accommodate the change, coordinate, and collaborate with each other even more closely. I need all of your support and good intention to ensure that we ride this wave and emerge even stronger than today.
To achieve this - co-operation, integrity, goodwill, and ownership are paramount.
Let's take this opportunity to improve our business processes, to better understand our fields of expertise, augment, iterate, and improve the way we have "done" things in the past. We are going to highly automate every business process. We are going to have to use a lot of self-motivation in the absence of a physical structure to keep us productive and efficient.
Stay conscious and keep safe...
By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. Plastic pollution injures more than
100,000 marine animals every single year. It takes almost 450 years for one plastic bottle to decompose.
Back in 1950, at the dawn of the plastics era, the world made just two million metric tons of the stuff per year. By the seventies, we were up to 50 million metric tons a year, and by the nineties, 150 million metric tons. Then production exploded as the Asian economies took off: 213 million metric tons in 2000, then 313 million metric tons in 2010, and now more than 400 million metric tons per year!
About half of this is single-use plastic—the bags, bottles, spoons, straws, sachets, and wrappers that make modern life uber-convenient and utterly disposable—and most of it has nowhere to go.
Human beings do a terrible job of making sure those products are reused or otherwise disposed of: About a third of all plastics produced escape collection systems, only to wind up floating in the sea or the stomach of some unsuspecting bird
Recycling is a joke. For all our careful sorting, less than 5 percent of plastic in the world gets recycled.
Around 80% of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Waste runs or is dumped into drains and rivers and hence the seas. Oil, fertilisers, sewage, plastics and toxic chemicals are all part of the mix.
The World Bank expects the planet’s solid waste to double within 15 years, much of this in the form of single-use plastic items. Bottles, bags, balloons, packaging, shoes – all take decades to break down. This waste is ingested by pretty much every marine animal including fish, dolphins, seals and turtles. So far, plastic has been found to be blocking the digestive tracts of at least 267 different species.
The UN has included as its 14th Sustainable Development Goal the ambition to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.” A core 2025 objective is to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, especially land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.
Unfortunately, much of the world’s oceans are not part of any one country’s territorial waters. More than 40 per cent of the planet’s surface (80 million square miles – seven times the area of the whole African Continent) is ocean that belongs to everyone and no one – and hence is largely unregulated, hence, No one is setting the global rules and few are agreeing on a better way.
Wisdom/ What I am reading...
The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100
Bestselling author, Dan Buettner, has written a cookbook for anyone who is interested in health and longevity.
In summary, there are eleven Blue Zones guidelines to help you lead a longer and better life and some of these include retreating from meat, cutting down on eggs and fish to eating beans and whole grains on a daily basis. Buettner also instructs the reader to eat sourdough bread, fill up on nuts, and drink mostly water.
Chronic diseases are becoming more and more common.
While genetics somewhat determine your lifespan and susceptibility to these diseases, your lifestyle probably has a greater impact.
A few places in the world are called “Blue Zones.” The term refers to geographic areas in which people have low rates of chronic disease and live longer than anywhere else.
“Blue Zone” is a non-scientific term given to geographic regions that are home to some of the world’s oldest people.
Five known Blue Zones:
Icaria (Greece): Icaria is an island in Greece where people eat a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, red wine and homegrown vegetables.
Ogliastra, Sardinia (Italy): The Ogliastra region of Sardinia is home to some of the oldest men in the world. They live in mountainous regions where they typically work on farms and drink lots of red wine.
Okinawa (Japan): Okinawa is home to the world’s oldest women, who eat a lot of soy-based foods and practice tai chi, a meditative form of exercise.
Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica): The Nicoyan diet is based around beans and corn tortillas. The people of this area regularly perform physical jobs into old age and have a sense of life purpose known as “plan de vida.”
The Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California (USA): The Seventh-day Adventists are a very religious group of people. They’re strict vegetarians and live in tight-knit communities.
environmental influences, including diet and lifestyle, play a huge role in determining your lifespan
People Who Live in Blue Zones Eat a Diet Full of Whole Plant Foods
One thing common to Blue Zones is that those who live there primarily eat a 95% plant-based diet.
Although most groups are not strict vegetarians, they seldom eat meat
diets in the Blue Zones are typically rich in the following:
Vegetables: They’re a great source of fiber and many different vitamins and minerals. Eating more than five servings of fruits and vegetables a day can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and death
Legumes: Legumes include beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas, and they are all rich in fiber and protein. A number of studies have shown that eating legumes is associated with lower mortality
Whole grains: Whole grains are also rich in fiber. A high intake of whole grains can reduce blood pressure and is associated with reduced colorectal cancer and death from heart disease.
Nuts: are great sources of fiber, protein and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Combined with a healthy diet, they’re associated with reduced mortality and may even help reverse metabolic syndrome.
Besides diet, other traits and habits of “Blue Zone” inhabitants include:
They practice fasting, and generally a calorie restrictive diet (intermittent fasting)
The exercise regularly, more through the routine of daily lifestyle (walking long distances and farming) than going to gym.
They get enough sleep. Don’t necessarily have to get up to an alarm clock and rush out to work.
They are highly spiritual. (Studies show a higher level of spirituality leads to longer lives, maybe due to a sense of belonging and lower rates of depression).
They lead a life of purpose. Known as “Ikigai” in Okinawa or “plan de vida” in Nicoya. This is associated with a reduced risk of death, possibly through psychological well-being
They exhibit a healthy social life. Your social network, called “moai” in Okinawa, can affect your health. You often resemble the company you keep.
You often resemble the company you keep.
The Bottom Line
The Blue Zone regions are home to some of the oldest and healthiest people in the world.
Although their lifestyles differ slightly, they mostly eat a plant-based diet, exercise regularly, drink moderate amounts of alcohol, get enough sleep and have good spiritual, family and social networks.
Each of these lifestyle factors has been shown to be associated with a longer life.
By incorporating them into your lifestyle, it may be possible for you to add a few years to your life.
Remote work, a phrase we frowned upon until last week, is on the rise. Advancements in technology and cloud-based tools have made this incredible feat possible—you can work, communicate, and collaborate virtually from anywhere. You no longer have to be confined within the four walls of a traditional office. What works best for remote workers will vary from person to person. I have found a routine, works for me. I think the most important thing to remember is to find what helps you stay focused, while keeping your work separate from your home life.
Have a separate workspace
A separate workspace doesn’t have to be a dedicated office with a door that closes. It should be an area that mentally prepares you for work mode, whether it’s a separate room, a small desk set up in a corner of the living room, or a laptop at the end of the kitchen table. Ideally, it would be a place you don’t go to relax, like your bedroom or your sofa, and a place that other members of your household know is designated for work. If you find you’re most productive with a laptop on the sofa, then by all means, set up shop there. It may take a bit of trial and error to figure out what area of your home is most conducive to getting work done.
Establish a routine, including non-working hours
Try to start work around the same time every day if you can, and schedule breaks (including meals) around the same time if possible. I would also advise not eating in your work area. Working remotely can feel isolating at times, so as part of your routine, try to interact with your co-workers regularly (yes, introverts, even you). Chatting over messaging apps like Basecamp (even just saying “Hello!” when you sign on in the morning) and holding meetings over Avaya Spaces are two quick and easy ways to stay in the loop. However you connect, don’t let email be the only way you interact with colleagues.
Dress the Part
Look, one of the biggest selling points of working from home is that you can wear what you want. This is true, and some days, especially if it’s miserable weather or you’re not feeling 100 percent, indulge a little and wear sweats and comfy socks. But to keep a sense of routine, try to get dressed and do it around the same time every day. This might sound a little odd, but I find that in addition to jeans and a comfortable shirt, wearing shoes (instead of slippers or just socks) helps me keep that sense of work vs. relaxation. I’m not talking about the most expensive shoes in your closet; sneakers, flip flops, or other comfortable footwear are just fine.
Know your body
I splurged on a good desk chair when I first started working from home, and you may find that’s a worthwhile expense; it’s hard to work if your back is bothering you or you’re not comfortable. Definitely make time to get up and walk away from your desk at regular intervals to stretch your legs and make sure your work area is well-lit so you don’t strain your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away from your screen and focus your eyes on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Managing a team remotely: reducing friction, reusing tools, and recycling knowledge
Work isn’t always homogeneous. It can come in various levels of complexity and difficulty. A good chunk of my work is spent on my own deliverables. There’s also the work where I collaborate with the people I manage, review their work, get them to review some of my work, ideate on projects, and so on. On top of that, there’s the work of collaborating with people outside my team, from different parts of the company, and even people outside the organisation. At least two-thirds of all of that used to happen in person.
Here’s what we try to do: Brainstorm with the group: Every time we begin a new project, we typically spend time writing down ideas on different pages of a single document. If nothing else, this helps revisit one’s own ideas of clarity, purpose, and viability. Create rapport: In the absence of in-person interaction, video works best for creating rapport. This is crucial when we work with people from other teams. For every project we work on, we connect, and at the end of a brainstorming session, we spend time over video to evaluate ideas and arrive at basic conclusions for building further.
Receive clarifications: Any number of questions can arise as we start working out the details of a project. Did they mean this when they wrote that? Did they assume this detail for the sake of discussion? Most of the time, these questions don’t have a simple yes or no answer. They require a short explanation, which is often more efficiently accomplished through voice.
Reminders and quick decisions: In an office setting, people remember projects when they see a teammate who runs that project. While working remotely, these little reminders are often out of sight and out of mind. Group chats help address this challenge. They’re also useful for getting feedback from teammates on early stages of work, and voting quickly on smaller decisions. It is better to avoid having long-winded discussions on group chats, as they can tend to go on and on without a firm conclusion. Getting on a video call will help address these issues.
Widgets that impress me...
Read Faster. Work Smarter. Think Better.
Jim Kwik, Is a world expert in speed reading, memory improvement, brain performance and accelerated learning. After a childhood brain injury left him learning challenged, Jim created strategies to dramatically enhance his mental performance.
Jim Kwik (his real name), is the brain & memory trainer to elite mental performers, including many of the world’s leading CEO’s and celebrities. In this easy to digest bite-sized podcast, you will discover Kwik’s favourite shortcuts to read faster, remember more, and ‘supercharge’ your greatest wealth-building asset: your brain.
If knowledge is power, then learning is your super power!
We are taught what to learn but have never been taught how to learn! Jim made this his life mission and as he tried and succeeded at techniques, he began to teach others how to unleash their true brilliance.
We have all accepted limitations in our life…
You’re a slow learner.
You can’t read fast enough to keep up with everything you need to know.
Problem-solving is difficult. You’re just no good at it.
You can’t deliver a presentation without having a script in front of you.
You’re awful at math (or writing or something else)?
The Belief that you are limited might be holding you back from your biggest dreams.
Kwik is launching his book - limitless pre-order here.
Give a listen - Podcasts
“Jim Kwik is just amazing. In my new book 'Use Your Brain to Change Your Age’ I wrote a whole Chapter about him, because one of the strategies to reverse brain ageing and to prevent Alzheimer's disease is to work on your brain. And there is no one that I trust more than Jim Kwik and his programs to optimise brain functioning."
Dr. Daniel Amen | Clinical Neuroscientist, New York Times Bestselling Author