Small Habit Shifts

New Year – New Habits

As the sunrises on the first days of the New Year, I am grateful first for the teachings of the past year, and next, for the opportunities that lie ahead. I have focused a good amount of my professional career on spotlighting that work is not where you go, its what you do. I have also spent at least 4-6 weeks of the past six years of my personal time in nature. Most of those weeks were spent in a wilderness environment, although in 2016 I did spend an additional 5 weeks walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.  

The combination (and conflict) between my professional career and the outdoor adventure I crave caused me to think there has to be a better way to integrate how I earn a living with how I love to live. This is where I insert the cliché “necessity being the mother of invention.” With all the advances in technology, the ability for many to stay connected has expanded, and so has the range of where many of us can work.  

When I look back at circumstances that forced me to integrate business with pleasure, I realize that I have been doing it for many years.  

I have negotiated the sale of a home while on a ski slope in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have negotiated the purchase of a property while on the beaches of Hawaii.  I closed a very last minute, but very profitable, construction contract while in a tree on a wildlife refuge.  These are some of the success stories that I had without even realizing how I was integrating my work with my outdoor adventures.

I also have personal examples where the results didn’t turn out as well.

A few years back, I started working for a company that focused on helping other companies increase the use of video collaboration. As I had recently started working with this company, I hadn’t accumulated vacation days, yet had a week planned in Cabo San Lucas over the Thanksgiving holiday. I figured if I found a place at the hotel to work during the first half of the week, I would be able to enjoy the rest of the holiday on the beach. This sounded like a great idea, except the results did not turn out so great.  I couldn’t find a co-working site anywhere near the hotel.  I had to use an office in the hotel which did not have bandwidth connectivity that I needed to have my virtual meetings. I also did not inform my manager of where I was and thus found out I was working from Cabo when she was frustrated with the inconsistency of my audio and video during meetings. She was not pleased. Even though I was working during my stay in another country, the quality of the connectivity that I needed to do my work effectively was negatively impacted.

As my focus is on guiding others how to better integrate nature into their everyday work routines, I realize I will have to consistently articulate that the goal is not about working all the time or working while on vacation.  The thesis I am proposing is that a little more nature built into the work routine will produce happier, less stressed, and more effective results in the work you already do.  I fully understand that many people do not have jobs that are flexible in where their work can be done, but for those growing number jobs (and tasks) that can be accomplished from anywhere, why not doing in an environment that regenerates the mind, body and spirit.  If you are reading this article, more than likely that place is outdoors and/or in a natural setting.  

The new attitude I am promoting this year is one of being happier and more fulfilled with the work I do and the environment I do it in.  

Small Habit Shifts

All it takes is 15-30 minutes each day to start your path to being healthier, less stressed and more productive at work.  The Finnish Forest Research Institute, found that people began to feel psychologically restored after just 15 minutes of sitting outside in both the park and forest.

I encourage making small habit changes in your work routine by:

1) Start including two intentional 15 minute breaks every day to get out of your desk and walk, stand or sit in a nature setting.  Best to do this without a cellphone, just be with and experience nature.

2) Document how you feel after those breaks and keep a log of your results

3) Share the impact it has after one or two weeks with colleagues and your communities

I know it is winter in the northern hemisphere and going outside my not be that inviting.  If this is the case, find a window with a view of nature or look at a picture or video of nature. More indoor tips available at

Who’s with me?  Tell us the results of your new working with nature habit or share one thing you will do to integrate nature with your work.  

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It’s time for the nature of work to be Working with Nature.

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Be the movement that changes the way the world works!