“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love—is the sum of what you focus on.”

- Cal Newport in Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.

Wellness Tip

Nurture Your Relationships

Harvard scientists started a study back in 1938. Their goal? To find out what leads to a healthy and happy life. Nearly 80 years later, we got the results.

“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, director of the study. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”

Let’s repeat that. Tending to your relationships is a form of self-care.

Research shows a bunch of ways that relationships impact our wellbeing. Strengthen your social ties and you’ll strengthen your immune system. Bond with family and boost your mental health.

So how to nurture your relationships in 2020, the year of ‘social distancing’?

Start with small changes. Work on being more present when spending time with your loved ones. Incorporate them into your daily routine – even if it’s something as simple as making sure you give your partner or kids a hug every night before bed.

And for those you can’t see in person, aim to make your connections more meaningful than a passing ‘like’ on social media – whether it’s sending your grandma a letter, or having a coffee date with a friend via video call.

And if you’re feeling lonely or have nobody to talk to, do get help. Here’s a great list of resources to reach out to.

What will you do to nurture your relationships today? Let us know!

Productivity Tip

Schedule Your Intentions

Having the motivation to pursue our goals is a start. But let’s be honest: it’s rarely enough. Knowing we should do our taxes or quit smoking or create a daily meditation habit doesn’t mean we’ll actually do it.

So what if we told you there’s a simple yet powerful strategy that can help you buckle down on your goals?

In a 2001 study, researchers looked at how to get people to exercise more. Here’s what they found: Participants who created a specific plan and schedule for their workouts did more than twice as much exercise.

They wrote down their intentions like this:

“During the next week, I will partake in at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise on [DAY] at [TIME] in [PLACE].”

Notice how clear and specific this is? That’s the key.

Why not try it for yourself? Rather than just set a goal (e.g. keep my desk tidy) schedule your intentions daily using your Panda Planner (e.g. Today at 9 am I will spend 15 minutes tidying my desk). You really will notice the difference.

Routine Breakdown

Nir Eyal, Author, Speaker & Investor

“I’ve learned through personal experimentation that sticking to a morning routine improves the work I do and the life I live,” says Nir Eyal, best-selling author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Here’s what his routine looks like:

Cooks a protein-rich breakfast for himself and his family.
Sits down to write, using the app Freedom to block internet access for 120 minutes.
Takes a break by going for a run or to the gym.
Meditates for 10-15 minutes before finally going online and checking email.

Why it works:

  • Breakfasting with family is a simple way to nurture relationships daily (see above!)
  • Multitasking does more harm than good. Blocking internet access gets rid of distractions and keeps him focused on a single task (writing).
  • Exercise is a great way to break up your workday as it renews focus and gives immediate cognitive benefits.
  • 10 minutes of meditation is enough to alleviate stress, improve blood pressure, reduce pain, and more.

We love Nir’s idea of working distraction-free for his most productive two hours (note that he does take a stretching break halfway). If you’ve never tried ditching the digital distractions, why not give it a shot tomorrow? Here’s a list of apps you can try!