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Why it’s important to be aware of your i/o ratio

What is an I/O ratio I hear you ask?

Simply put, it’s the ratio of how much time you spend inside versus the outside. And for many of us living in the fast-paced nature of modern cities, this ratio tends to be skewed far too heavily to the inside.

In fact, recent statistics seem to indicate that the average city dweller in western countries, will spend over 70% of their week inside, with the percentage considerably higher amongst children.

What I found particularly fascinating, was this Harvard Health Letter, which mentions that ‘the average American spends 90% of his or her life indoors’!

By creating more balance in your I/O ratio, or better yet, reversing it so that the skew is towards the outside, you will raise your mind’s clarity, discover greater sources of inspiration and elevate your level of consciousness by seeing things from whole new perspectives (the sort of feeling you get when going on holiday to places for the first time).

However, there’s an important distinction – in my view – to be made between “going outside” and “being outside”.

You see, we all go outside in order to get to where we need to be – rushing to get on that train, make that meeting or to get on with our daily routine. But few of us actually spend time being outside, taking a step back to immerse ourselves in what’s going on around us and being aware of nature in all its glory.

Make the ordinary come alive…and the extraordinary will take care of itself.

We need to slow down to speed up success. When we do, we create space for ourselves, allowing for miracles to occur and opportunities for that sense of both awe and wonder to be felt.

Here are some of the things I’m currently playing with to keep my I/O ratio skewed towards the O:

  • Going for a short stroll outside after every meal, especially after dinner. Easy to implement and has the added benefit of working off some of those calories.
  • Working outside where possible. I’m actually writing this under a clear blue sky from the roof terrace of my local pub! You’ll find more inspiration working outside and you never know who you might meet.
  • People watching. Something so many of us do while on holiday observing the daily lives of local people, but rarely do in the city/town we live in. For me, there’s no better way to do this than sitting upstairs on London’s buses observing the scenery and walking through unfamiliar territory.
  • Exploring something new each week. This will give you a sense of adventure and you’ll soon become the go to person for what’s going on where you live! From uncovering hidden gems to learning a new skill and connecting with new people.
  • There is more to exercise than just the gym. Tennis, outdoor swimming, running in your local park and climbing to name just a few. You’ll get a healthy dose of fresh air while saving money – great health and financial benefit right there.

And here’s some questions to get you thinking about your ratio:

  1. What is your I/O ratio over a typical week?
  2. What does that tell you?
  3. What could you do to move it more in favour to where you want it?
  4. How would that feel when it’s where you would like to have it?
  5. What will you do today that will have you spending time being outside?

Remember, if you’re looking for better health and to feel happier, consider going alfresco! By spending more time outside, you access something that is free for all, calming and often very precious – nature and all the beauty around us.


Blog courtesy of Simon Alexander Ong

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