WLP168: Teaching TaiChi Online, and Finding Balance in All Things

Welcome to our new format, magazine-style podcast.  We really look forward to hearing what you think of it - so do let us know, tweet @virtualteamw0rk with your thoughts or contact us through this website.

Today’s episode is all about staying healthily well-balanced, whilst remote working:

03.40: Feature interview: Paul Read, the Teapot Monk


Paul teaches tai chi online, at learntaichi.online and Teapotmonk.com

Perhaps this proves you really can learn and teach pretty much any skill online, and for Paul - who has taught classes in tai chi in the UK and Spain since the 1980s - there are a great many advantages to using 21st century technology to spread the love of an ancient martial art.

Online, classes are available on demand, affordably and accessibly, and anything you potentially sacrifice in losing “hands on” teaching is becoming exceeded by innovative technology, allowing video to be paused and even rotated to explore forms and postures in detail. He also brings together students from all over the world via social media, to support and learn from one another outside of the classroom.


Offering classes in this way has enabled Paul to develop and extend his own practice to reach new audiences worldwide, and develop personalised styles and techniques - rather than teach the same beginners classes over and over again.

His latest specialist course on Udemy specifically tackles the challenges of working from home, and looks at balance in the physical and spiritual sense - from ‘text neck’ to lifestyle advice. Check it out here: https://www.udemy.com/a-beginners-guide-to-managing-stress-with-tai-chi/

We have some vouchers for Paul's new class to give away to podcast listeners, so check out the interview to find out how to claim yours.

27.15 “Oh no, my team's gone remote!” and I’m starting to feel like I never switch off

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In this segment of the show we look at some typical challenges in the leadership of remote teams, and “switching off” can definitely be a problem. When we are liberated from an office with walls, how do we maintain our boundaries? Particularly in a world of push notifications and 24/7 connectivity across multiple devices, when we’ve already taken our work home with us.

As managers of others we need to lead by example, and also find ways to manage our own need to ‘be there’ for people and support our team. Agreements and explicit understandings can help us communicate and respond with appropriate levels of urgency, in the absence of the visual cues we get in a colocated workspace.  And only by creating the space for deep work and switching off entirely for downtime, can we gain the perspective to be our best selves both in and out of the office - or wherever we are working.

33.30 Today's Recommended tool: Trello


Pilar’s favourite tool is in use all day every day - including in the management of this podcast, and other creative work for Virtual not Distant.

Trello is based on the Kanban workflow, and has boards, within which are lists, each of which contains cards (there’s even a higher level of teams and organisations, to organise your boards). Cards can contain a range of items including checklists, due dates, owners and attachments, and the app is very versatile and flexible.

It runs in perfect sync on multiple devices, and works beautifully for dragging and dropping on mobile screens.  It’s simplicity is deceptive, and it’s very easy to learn and get started with - and can be used in lots of different ways to manage different kinds of projects or activities
Before Trello existed Pilar relied on post-it notes, but they’re not nearly as powerful and effective as the virtual version.

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A little peek at how we work on the 21st Century Work Life podcast

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