How To Be More Human At Work

How many days have you spent sitting still, staring at a screen, typing methodically, and only moving to visit the kitchen and bathroom? Most professionals would say quite a few. Modern offices can lead to unhealthy work habits that are incompatible with being human. This way of working, like programmed robots, removes us far from our original human selves, and most of us are unaware that this is happening.

Tony Riddle wants you to be more human, for your health and happiness. As an ultra-endurance barefoot athlete and natural lifestyle coach, Riddle is known as a natural life stylist. His book Be More Human was published in 2022 and in 2020 he ran the three highest mountains in England, Wales and Scotland, covering nearly 450 miles in nine days, seven hours and 19 minutes and breaking the men’s barefoot running record. Riddle dedicates his life to helping people become more human, including adopting healthier work habits. He offers one-on-one coaching and hosts courses, workshops and retreats on the subject to share his knowledge and improve the lives of his clients.

I interviewed Riddle about how he works and how everyone in business can be more human. Here are four ways to think about your work accordingly.

Review your schedule and set limits for work

Riddle is a father of four who gets up “before the tribe wakes up”. He spends his mornings doing 20 minutes of mindful mobility, 100 cycles of nasal breathing, setting intentions, a plant-based protein smoothie, and immersing himself in nature. He sometimes “takes a dip in an ice bath to practice staying calm in the freezing water.” Riddle can use that same calm state for any stressful phone calls or emails that might crop up throughout the day.

Next it’s time to get to work. “I have coaching sessions in the mornings and afternoons, I have meetings or podcast recordings.” He spends the evenings with his family, down-regulating. After a full day of exercise and nature, Riddle is in bed by 9pm. Sleep matters and you don’t have to compromise.

“I take eight hours of sleep in the bedroom, which gives me a whopping 16 hours to be a successful person.” He said, “When you look at your journal this way, you quickly see how subjective time can be.” Complaining about not enough time is a myth. Reviewing your schedule and focusing on what matters most will give you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do, including appreciating your family and friends, exercise, rest, meditation, food, community, and creativity. “If I stay focused, I can get most of my work done in six to eight hours,” Riddle said. The key is to stay focused.

Get up more and sit on the floor

“We have become domesticated beings, spending 90% of our lives indoors and 83% of us living in urban environments. You spend most of your time sitting.” Sitting is not good. Dubbed “modern smoking” by health experts, “prolonged sitting leads to stagnation and promotes sedentary lifestyles.”

Standing all the time isn’t necessarily what you want either. As Riddle said, “It is just as harmful to stand for long periods of time with poor posture as it is to sit with poor posture.” floor is furnished. He alternates between “floor sitting positions to help loosen up, stay supple and stay strong. They maintain my posture and athleticism and keep me grounded and in my body.”

Equipment? A large dining table with legs cut off to accommodate its floor experience. More importantly, Riddle adds, is getting proper exercise on a regular basis: “Get away from your desk and crouch every 25 minutes.” He said this helps “reset our posture from C-shaped primates to more capable upright beings .”

Choose Sky Time instead of Screen Time

How many days has the sun risen and set just to wonder where the time has gone? Back-to-back Zoom calls and heads down plowing through tasks can turn the workday into a habit of non-stop grinding. Riddle practices a different method. “I prefer sky time to screen time, so try to spend as little time in front of my computer as possible. I prefer arranging meetings outside or talking on the phone in nature.”

Living more in tune with your natural human biology doesn’t mean booking call after call and not moving in between. It doesn’t mean staring at a screen. A better strategy is to think like a lion. Rest, play, sharpen your claws, then lunge in one swift movement before continuing the relaxation. Chances are, you’re working far more effectively than grazing like a cow all day.

Blue light is another killer, and Riddle calls it “garbage light” because it can affect your natural circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. He wears amber glasses in the evenings when looking at a screen to minimize interference. “Rewild yourself,” Riddle advised. Take a look at your home and office living spaces to see where you can make small changes.

Go outside or bring nature inside

We now know the positive health benefits of being outdoors. An increase in cardiovascular health, immunity, reduced inflammation and faster recovery times, not to mention a reduction in stress by down-regulating the nervous system. Everything sounds great for an entrepreneur on a mission. Mental health benefits top this list, and people who spend more time outdoors are generally happier. It makes sense when you consider how narrow-minded walls and ceilings can make us.

Riddle is a fan. “Getting out into nature as much as possible keeps me sane, connected, and on my A-game.” Fresh air, fresh landscapes, and fresh perspectives keep us from focusing on small things concentrate that keep us small.

If going outside is out of the question, bring the outside to enjoy some of the benefits. Riddle recommends surrounding yourself with plants. “They purify the air and help lower your cortisol levels, which keeps you in a state of rest and digestion.” Rest and digest to conserve your energy for the things that really matter to you.

To be more human, re-imagine certain parts of your world. Rethink your schedule, seating arrangements, daily habits, and relationship with nature. Within a 24-hour day, there is plenty of time for work that matters, relaxation that matters, and anything else that stirs your soul. Strive to be more human in everything you do, not a machine with a mission to be achieved at all costs.

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