A Taoist monk who believes we are ‘sleepwalking through life’ has shared the secrets he swears by for a productive and fulfilling life.
Pedram Shojai, who is originally from Lake Forest but is currently teaching in London, swears by four core principles when it comes to organising time effectively.
From his clever ‘flower trick’ that helps you prioritise, to the power of saying ‘no’, Pedram shared his hacks with Balance Magazine.
Look at your heart: Pedram insists that learning to stop time is all about focusing on your breathing. Pedram’s top tip for slowing down and living in the moment? Watch your heart and concentrate on its beats. By doing this, he says you’ll take back control in your life. He maintains that the best gift anyone can give themselves is time and the ability to control how we spend it.
The flower trick: If you struggle to prioritise, Pedram’s clever hack may come in handy. He believes that you should consider your life like a garden and assign six ‘flowers’ to the most important things in your life.
The flowers, he says, could be family, friends, career, health and hobbies and you. You must then consider how much water each of those flowers needs and think of the water in terms of time, energy and attention.
‘Ask yourself which of these flowers are withering – and which are the ones you are watering too much?,’ he said. ‘Then the way you allocate your time becomes a conscious decision, so you’re not burdened by guilt, feeling like there’s something else you should really be doing.’
The power of saying no: Pedram insists we should stop being ‘people pleasers’ and just learn to say no. If we say yes to drinks with a colleague, we have to then sacrifice sleep and exercise, which creates stress. He suggests telling your friend that you love them and would love to do something but need to pick a date organised well in advance so you have a plan to look forward to and can structure the rest of your life around that.
Keep moving: Pedram says one of the most effective ways of boosting efficiency is by exercising. ‘We’re not designed to sit on office chairs under artificial lights for eight hours or more every day,’ he said. He suggests getting up every 25 minutes to take a walk, stretch or even do jumping jacks.
‘Movement sends oxygen to the brain which not only makes you more productive but also less likely to become anxious or depressed,’ he added.