Do you travel a lot for business? Do you make this mistake when trying to be time efficient and cost effective?
I travel a lot for my work as a business writing and communication consultant. I used to make lots of business trip “mistakes” – until I started applying advice from Presentation Zen expert Garr Reynolds – especially his suggestions about hara hachi bu.
I’m in Singapore as I write this post and Singapore is famous for its delicious food. I love coming here for work!
In the past, at the hotel breakfast I would pile up my plate. I wanted to get my money’s worth! I would gulp down the huge breakfast thinking that this “forced fuelling up” would save me having to eat lunch and that I could work through lunch. I thought I was being efficient!
The trouble was – it was actually inefficient and highly ineffective. I’d often start the day feeling so bloated and heavy and hard to get moving. I was slow and sluggish – in body and in mind!
These days – inspired by Presentation Zen – I now deliberately eat less.
It was through Presentation Zen that I learned of the Japanese expression hara hachi bu – which means eat until you are 80% full – eat until you are satisfied but without stuffing yourself too full!
I know I keep referring to Presentation Zen – but it really has made a difference. As well as getting great tips about how to improve presentations – Presentation Zen also helps me improve my business travel – and I’m sure my health and well-being.
Garr applies hara hachi bu to show how you can make your presentations more effective by not cramming in too much information. I’ve also been applying the expression literally – in limiting how much I actually eat on trips (and when I am home).
so many tempting treats – hard to resist!
There’s a danger that Business travelers can often over-eat for many reasons.
because they can – there is often a seemingly endless supply of food at hotels
because they feel they want to get their money’s worth
because they think they are being efficient. (As I did – rationalizing that a huge breakfast would saving me having to eat lunch)
I now also eat slower and take time to enjoy the food. I feel lighter and more energised. My days seem to go better.
I try to have a small lunch to re-energise. It’s not just about eating more food at lunch – it’s about having a break from work. This sounds so simple and “obvious” – but it’s hard to resist the urge to just work on through lunch.
I also make sure I have arrive at breakfast earlier to take more time to enjoy breakfast. I eat slower – tasting and enjoying the food rather than just gulping it down. I usually eat lots of Asia food – but this morning I really felt like an omelette.
So I ordered a small(ish) omelette – relishing the crunch of the onion and the full flavor (and texture) of the cheese! It was so satisfying. I could have fitted in more – but I stopped before I got 100% full!
I watched other businessmen piling mountains of food on their plates and gulping down their food in a rush. I know it can be hard for men to resist piles of bacon and it does take discipline – but the results are worth it.
As a result of hara hachi bu – I feel lighter and brighter and enjoying my business trip and my work more too!
Here is a link to Presentation Zen and Garr’s post about Hara Hachi Bu:
(Also, I’d like to let you know that I didn’t copy my dark glasses and dark wardrobe from Garr! I had this look long before I’d even heard of Presentation Zen.)
Garr also likes taking photographs of food especially the beauty of the Bento Box. here is a link to another post about Bento Box Bliss. Do not read this post if you are hungry!
So who is writing this?
Hi I’m Tony – a TV reporter and producer turned international communication trainer and consultant. I love writing – especially about the joys of travel – even business travel. I’m a bit like that George Clooney character in Up In The Air in that I actually enjoy the travelling life.
I love travel- even business travel – what about you? I no longer need the cane in this photo – the cane was just used when I was recovering from a torn Achilles tendon – and when trying to be like Mr Bates from Downton Abbey 😉
I’m also a big fan of retro – like vintage flight bags and luggage from when jet-setting was glamorous.
If you enjoyed this post and if you like travel or retro – Let’s connect:
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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.
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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication etc. I like to help people COPE.