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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How to KEEP your New Year's Resolution

The number one New Year's resolution in the US is to lose weight. Especially after a big holiday season of fruit cakes and chocolates. So you resolve to lose weight, but didn’t you do that last year? And did it work?

We all have off-days, when we just don’t feel like working out. But what happens when that day falls on a day you’re scheduled to go to the gym? (oh yeah, you need a schedule too) Well here’s a simple trick to get yourself motivated to go to the gym when you really don’t feel like it:

Just change into your gym clothes!

And here’s why:

The clothes that we are wearing at any given time become part of our self-image. If you are wearing boots your feet will feel heavier, your gait will be different and your self-image will be different than if you are wearing sneakers. If you change into your sneakers or gym shoes, your feet will feel much lighter and you will inherently feel more agile and able to run, jump, exercise, etc..

You’ll also guilt yourself into going to the gym because you’ll be sitting around the house in your gym clothes.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Leave your Comfort Zone - Get to Know Yourself

A zen koan (short story) tells of a boy who was training under his father as a burglar:

The boy followed his father on a burglary one night and once inside the house, his father intentionally made a ruckus and fled the house. The boy darted to the nearest closet and his heart began to pound furiously as the home owners rose to see who was in their house. The boy had been given very little training, but the adrenaline of this moment was all he needed to be able to do anything he needed to do to prevent being caught. Eventually he made it out of the house undetected, and while he was not pleased with what his father had done, he had learned many lessons that night.
Often times it is important to leave your comfort zone and throw yourself into new situations where, if you think about it, you might not be entirely sure of yourself, but if you just do it you will find a way to get through it. This doesn't necessarily have to involve adrenaline - it can apply to cooking a new meal, changing careers, taking up a new sport, or virtually anything else.

Don't forget - this also offers a great way to observe yourself. Once you are thrown into a new situation, take a little time to observe your actions, your words and your feelings. You never know what you will learn about yourself.
"Observe all men; thy self most." - Benjamin Franklin

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Last-Minute Christmas Gift Idea - Easy, Cheap, Great gift.

Magazines to readImage by Longzero via FlickrIt's getting close to that time of year when people will be scrounging for gifts at the last minute, I know, I do it too. One idea I often overlook is magazine subscriptions.

Reasons that magazine subscriptions make great gifts, especially if you already subscribe to the magazine:

  1. Like-minded people tend to enjoy the same type of magazines.
  2. If it is a subscription that you have now, chances are there will be 2-for-1 gift offers for renewing your subscription, so you can probably call that a $2-5 gift.
  3. Also, if it's something you subscribe to you can just grab one of your back issues from the end table, throw a ribbon around it and call it good! You can even send in the subscription card AFTER Christmas if you do that.
  4. They last for a whole year, sometimes two, so that's a good value.
  5. Generally speaking, people can LEARN from magazines, which is more than can be said about most other Christmas presents.
Happy shopping! Merry Christmas from Mini Life Hacks!

If you have a great last-minute gift idea, leave a comment!
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Monday, December 15, 2008

How to keep warm without electricity - Stones on the BBQ!

Besides disrupting transportation, heavy ice a...Image via WikipediaThe "Ice Storm of 2008" had wiped out power to over 1,000,000 homes and businesses. Over the past few days many people have been forced to leave their homes and seek refuge at nearby shelters. Other people have tried to stay in their houses and brave the cold. Others have tried to warm their houses by blasting their gas stoves or using un-vented kerosene heaters. These are BAD ideas. Don't try them at home.

If you're one of those people who, like me, stubbornly wants to brave the cold and be independent, try this:

  1. Fire up your gas grill or charcoal grill. OUTSIDE!
  2. Throw some big rocks (5-10 pounds each) on indirect high heat.
  3. Cook for approximately 1 -2 hours with the cover closed.
  4. Let them cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. Check the temperature of the rocks carefully with your hand.
  6. Wrap them in towels or blankets if you don't think they will burn the towels.
  7. Enjoy the heat! It should stay very warm for around 8-10 hours.
This is not fool proof.. obviously dealing with hot rocks is not the safest thing either, just be smart about it and don't come to me if you burn a hole through your mattress. Even if you let the rocks cool for quite a while they will still retain a lot of heat. The trick is to allow the outer layer to cool so that you can touch it easily, but the center of the rock will still be hot and it will emanate heat slowly over the course of the night.

Bricks, patio blocks, or ceramic tiles will work too, although the bigger the object is, the longer it will retain it's heat. Similarly, it will take longer to bring a larger object up to temperature.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Improve coordination by improving awareness - Understand the objects around you.

Samurai SwordImage by Amin Tabrizi via FlickrIt’s aggravating to drop things you’re carrying or to spill your briefcase or book bag all over the floor because you were in a hurry. Do you think a samurai would ever drop his sword if he was in a hurry? Do you think a ninja would drop... anything... ever? The likelihood is that they would not. The trick here is that they have a level of understanding of these objects that allows them to know exactly how they will react under any given circumstance.

For example, a Samurai would know the following about his Katana:

  1. How is it weighted?
  2. What is the exact physical size in all three dimensions?
  3. How much weight can it support?
  4. How fast can he wield it with two hands? One hand?
  5. What will it cut through and how easily will it cut?
  6. Etc…
Know your book bag / briefcase

By understanding how your object (book bag or briefcase in this example) will react to certain circumstances will help to give you a fundamental understanding of what you will, or will not be able to do with it. For example:
  1. What happens when you hold it in a different place? Different handle? From the side? From a hanging strap? Does everything fall out? Will it break or tear when you hold it this way? Are there any other dangers you should know about if you’re holding it funny? Sharp edges, etc?
  2. How many fingers are required to hold its weight?
  3. Is there any way you can hold it with something else, like your elbow, or your foot?
  4. How much friction is there between your hand and the material it is made from?
Ask these questions, and ask any other question you can dream to ask. Ask these questions about any object you may encounter.

Be Prepared. Know all your utilities.

Make observations about your cell phone, wallet, pen, keychain, etc..
Your awareness for things around you will increase as will your fundamental understanding for these things with respect to how they function and react in this world. You will slowly be able to piece together the results from the physical tests and be able to infer other bits of useful information. You will probably be surprised at how you can use this information and how much it can benefit you.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Over-indulgence tip: The first bite tastes the same as the last.

Food is good. There aren’t too many people that don’t appreciate certain foods. During this season it’s especially easy to happen upon some decadence and improperly indulge.

I think it’s important to appreciate this privilege and accept indulgence once in a while, but one thing to keep in mind while doing so, which may change the amount you eat, is that: The first bite tastes the same as the last.

What I mean to say is that if you take time and adequately appreciate whatever food you’re eating (sourdough bread & spinach dip for example…) you’ll notice that this appreciation can be taken away from only one bite. All subsequent bites of the same thing will taste remarkably similar and you’ll begin to realize that it is not necessary to continue eating once you have gotten what you were after: An appreciation of the taste of the food. So make it a good bite, take it very slowly, move it around in your mouth, try to concentrate on every atom in the food and ENJOY IT!

This concept pulls influence from an ancient Buddhist meditation called the “Raisin meditation”. Buddhist monks were known to concentrate on a raisin, study it, smell it, feel it, listen to it, and fully appreciate its entire existence to the point that they got so much sincere appreciation and substance out of the raisin that it could sustain them for an entire day.

More about the raisin meditation

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cross Shifting: A new driving technique to free up your right hand.

SteeringImage by Paul Moons via FlickrSo I'm driving down the road, and I've got a tasty snapple in my hand and my cup holder is chock full of yesterday's snapple bottle, but I've got to shift from first to second gear. How do I do it?

I've perfected a technique that comes in very handy for this scenario:

  1. Steering with your left hand, position your hand so that it is somewhere between 3 & 6 o'clock on the wheel.
  2. Release your grip from the wheel, but keep the back of your forearm against the wheel. You'll now be steering using friction between your forearm / elbow and the steering wheel.
  3. Slide your arm against the wheel and reach down to the shift knob to change gears.
This technique requires a bit of coordination and focus. I find that shifting from first to second is the easiest, because it is the closest move to the steering wheel, but that all other gears are reachable, at least in my '04 Honda Civic. This may be difficult for some at first, but with practice it can be fine tuned and actually obtain a good level of comfort. I have used this many times when I'm also making a fairly sharp turn.

C.Y.A. NOTE: The above is not actually recommended, for safety and liability reasons. Try this exercise at your own risk.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Follow your gut. Get to know yourself.

The first instinct is very often the best action.

When you act on your gut reaction without hesitation or inhibition, this is to truly be yourself. The little things you do that come into this world directly from your thoughts is a way of showing the world, but more importantly youself who you really are.

The more you come to obey these gut reactions the better you will begin to know yourself. The better you know yourself, the more honestly and effectively you will contribute to those around you.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Spidey Senses are Tingling

Daredevil (Marvel Comics)Image via Wikipedia Try closing you eyes and walking through your house or around you office. It's hard but it's good for your senses and kind of fun (as long as no one gets hurt).

Now switch from trying to use your eyes, and turn your ear sensitivity to 11. Listen carefully to your footsteps or the sound of your clothes swishing against each other and you can actually start to hear sound patterns as this noise bounces off nearby objects and start to recognize telephone poles, buildings, and even doors from their sound patterns. These sound patterns are just simple changes in the reverberant qualities around you that are inherent to the immediate environment.

It's the same as when you drive by fence posts or telephone poles in your car; you can hear them whoosh by, but they're really not making any sound, it's just the sound of the car that you hear reflecting off of them.

This is a great way to increase your awareness of the things around you as well as your own sensory perception. And yes, it's kind of like a primitive form of radar, just like what bats use. But it's only primitive because we never learned to use it!

Check out this article on learning how to use echolocation

Take a look at my new blog on my meandering experience in learning echolocation

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Truth About Meditation - Do I really have to just sit?

Meditation has been used for thousands of years by many different cultures and religions. It is being introduced into the U.S. now, but it's still portrayed as something that might be a bit intimidating for some. There are many reasons people might meditate, but I think one of the main reasons is just as a tool to ease the mind and take your thoughts away from the everyday details of life and get some intrinsic relaxation.

If this is the goal, classical "meditation" can do the trick, but if you don't have the desire to understand it or the time to sit with yourself, there are other ways of clearing your mind and becoming relaxed and at peace with yourself. Any time you are doing something just for you and it is something you enjoy doing and you can be yourself doing it; in my opinion, this is a form of meditation.

  • If you play a musical instrument and can lose yourself in a song or focus on the notes that you are playing so hard that you don't notice anything going on around you, this is meditation.
  • If you play basketball and can get a good game of 1-on-zero going, and all of your attention is on the ball, or the hoop, this is meditation.
  • If you practice martial arts and can focus your mind on every atom in your body and the control you have over them, this is meditation.
  • If you lift weights and can be aware of the physics of your muscles, and concentrate on which muscle fibers are doing what, this is meditation.
If you can do anything at all, generally by yourself, that requires a great deal of attention and does not allow your mind to wander to other things, this will be very healthy for you and you will come to understand yourself better and better over time. Many of the same benefits from meditation will be gained from doing things like this.

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Only make lunch every other day

A lunch sits on a blue tablecloth with a brown...Image via WikipediaMaking your own lunch to bring with you to work is a great way to save some money when compared to buying a lunch every day. Buying even a cheap lunch everyday can add up to $2000 a year. Whereas if you make a lunch, it's pretty easy to keep it as low as $600 a year.

The only trouble is that you've got to make a sandwich or bag some carrots, and carry it around with you. To avoid having to make lunch every day, try making two lunches one day and then leaving one in the fridge at work so that the next day you're all set and don't have to make lunch. It won't take you twice as long to make two lunches since most of the lunch-making-time is spent taking things out of the fridge or cupboard and putting them away.

Also, if you eat a granola bar every day, or a yogurt, why not just take a whole weeks worth with you on Monday so that you have a stockpile at work and don't have to keep toting them one by one every day.

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Wake up on the right side of the bed

A basic digital clock radio with analog tuningImage via WikipediaThe first few seconds of your day, as you probably know, are of the utmost importance to setting your mood. Whether you wake up to a jack-hammer or to something more peaceful like chirping birds, or the voice of a loved one will make a big difference in the ambition you have to get started.

I would encourage you to use a music alarm clock where you can control the songs played. Wake up to something you like. Whether that is soothing meditation music, chimes, or something like Dragonforce or Billy Joel. As long as it's something that makes you happy and makes you eager to get our of bed and start your day.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Energy Saving Tips - At the Stove

Photo by Quadell. Woodcarving by Donald Ellis ...Image via WikipediaWhen cooking a meal in your oven, it will have a vent in order to give the hot air a place to go when it expands. On my stove, this vent is right underneath one of the electric range burners.

Use this excess heat to keep food warm well after the oven has been turned off.

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Energy Saving Tips - In the shower

ShowerheadImage via WikipediaYour shower has a certain maximum "volumetric flow rate". This is the speed at which the water comes out of the shower head in Gallons per Minute (GPM). Usually this is between 3-5 GPM. If you use a hot/cold ratio of 90/10 and your shower head has a max of 3 GPM then you're using 2.7 GPM of hot water.

It is easy to turn on the water and max out the flow rate, however, if you dial it back so that the shower head is not running to it's full flow rate, say you're at 2/3 maximum pressure, and if you still use the same ratio (90/10) then you're now only using 1.8 GPM of hot water. This will allow you to use as little cold water as possible which is good because in effect you don't really want any cold water, and by adding any cold at all, you are merely cooling down the water you have already paid to heat up.

1.5 GPM shower heads also exist. Here is a link to the "Jet-Stream"

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Optimizing your Night's Sleep - Unwind First

Don't try to fall asleep directly after or while your brain is still cranking away. Do something that relaxes you in order to calm the internal chatter and slow the thought rate. Do some reading, write, meditate, whatever floats your boat; whatever is relaxing to you. If you are having trouble finding something relaxing here are a few things to try:

  1. Breathe deeply. Breathe in as much air as you can, hold it, then breathe in just a little bit more. Hold this for a few seconds and then let it out slowly, steadily, all the way, until there is no air left in your lungs. Hold it, then breathe out just a little bit more. Hold this for a few seconds. Do this 5-10 times a day.
  2. Breathe slowly. Inhale through the nose, taking in just a small stream of air, filling the lungs completely from the bottom all the way to the top. Breathe as slowly as possible and try to make the breath last as long as you can. Breathe out through the mouth and again, try to make this breath last as long as possible. Practice this 5-10 times.
  3. Be aware. Lie in a comfortable position and focus on your toes, feel what your toes feel think about what is going on inside of them. You should be able to feel them start to tingle if you focus hard enough. Do this for a few minutes, and then move onto your feet. Focus on the feet for a few minutes and then the ankles, lower legs, knees.. etc. All the way up the body.
  4. Stretch. Do some basic stretches to loosen up your muscles.

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Always Challenge Your Limits

What does it mean to challenge yourself, and what is the benefit?

To challenge yourself is to set a goal to do something that will not be easily accomplished. A challenge can be anything large or small. Sometimes it is easier to identify the larger challenges (bench press your weight, finish your school paper a week early, don't eat that chocolate, etc.), but it can be more difficult and require more creativity to exploit the smaller challenges, such as opening the door with your foot or optimising the way you close the bottle of milk. I believe that these smaller challenges are extremely important to understanding one's self. All self-challenges are great, I just think the small ones are underestimated.

If you challenge yourself to jump over a trash can, or to walk up the stairs only on your toes, or grab a bug out of mid-air with a pair of chopsticks, these are all intrinsic tasks that are performed by the fundamental "you"; they are not composite tasks based on reliance of others or your surroundings. Every time you complete a self-challenge, you've further defined another self-limitation. It would be great to find all of you physical limits via small challenges and know them all fully. This would give you a good picture of who you are and what you can accomplish (at least physically) and this will, in turn, allow you to get to know yourself even better.

There is no limit to the amount of information you can find out about yourself, so keep being creative and continue to find out your limits. As you test your limits, you will, at the same time be expanding your limits. Therefore, once you know your limit, try it again (and again and again and again), you may surprise yourself.

The below image set depicts the limit test, acquisition and challenge sequence. The solid circle represents your physical limit (for example, the absolute maximum distance you can jump), and the dotted circle represents what you interpret to be your limit via challenging yourself:

Fig.1: You have tested your limit and were easily able to complete the task. You are too far within your personal limits and are underestimating yourself. This is all too common in humans.
Fig.2: You have not properly tested your limit, and for some reason you have an altered perception that you can do more than you think you can. This is dangerous as it is an overestimation of your own ability.
Fig.3: This indicates "pushing the limits". Continually challenge yourself and dance around the line which dictates your absolute personal limitation. This will allow for an improved familiarity with yourself as well as work to increase your limits.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Optimizing your Night's Sleep - Using the REM cycle

In order to get the best night's sleep, sleep in multiples of your REM cycle. Circadian rhythm is what governs the duration of these cycles and is made up of systems of Nerve Centers, Hormones and Neurotransmitters.

The average person's REM cycle is 90 minutes long. If you control the duration of your sleep so that it is a multiple of this, then when you wake up it is more likely that your body and mind will be ready to wake up. Being "ready" to wake up means that your body has experienced REM sleep, which is said to categorize your thoughts and repair your mind, and also "Deep" sleep which relaxes your muscles and repairs your body.

4.5 hours, 6 hours, or 7.5 hours are all multiples of a REM cycle. Although 7.5 hours may be too much for some. I've managed to get 4.5 hours of sleep over long periods of time without feeling like I'm not getting enough sleep. I find it's generally good to leave about 30 minutes to fall asleep, that is, if you're obeying rules number 1 and 2. And each night before lying down verify that your alarm is set for the correct time -- a multiple of a sleep cycle plus 30 minutes to fall asleep.

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Optimize your Night's Sleep - Set an Alarm

The Hallicrafters AM Alarm ClockImage by Whiskeygonebad via FlickrThis is kind of obvious, but there are a couple important elements I'd like to note when using the dreaded alarm clock.
Anyone can take a reservation. Take take take... It's keeping the reservation... - Seinfeld
The most important thing to do when waking up to an alarm clock is getting up when it goes off and not hitting snooze, not once. (Also see "Wake up on the right side of the bed") A good way to do this, I've found, is by putting the alarm clock on the opposite side of the room, so that you must get out of bed to shut it off. Once you have stood up and shut off the alarm get you bearings, breathe deeply, and get started picking out clothes or whatever it is that you do first thing in the morning. It's good to have this first daily task be consistent so that you know exactly what you should be doing as soon as you shut off your alarm.

To Summarize:
  1. Shut off the alarm clock on the opposite side of the room
  2. Consider your day ahead (See Planning for the next Day)
  3. Take a deep breath and get your balance and bearings.
  4. Begin your consistent daily task.
Once you have adjusted your body to a regular pattern an alarm clock may not be necessary. But it is important in order to get adjusted.
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Optimize your Night's Sleep - Plan for the next day

A mid 1970's analog alarm clock radio using ro...Image via Wikipedia Before you hit the hay think about the day to follow. Are you in the middle of doing something that you'd like to continue? Is there something on your to-do list that you'd be able to get into first thing in the morning? Maybe you just have some cereal that you enjoy, or a new song to listen to. Plan on doing THAT, whatever it is, before you go to bed, and as you're standing at your alarm clock in the morning, waiting for your eyes to focus, think about what you're planning to do and picture yourself doing it and hopefully enjoying it! Take a deep breath, and embark!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Try standing up at your desk

So I've heard of standing up at your desk and have not really tried it until recently. I tried it because I couldn't find a chair that had enough lumbar support and I kept getting a sore back. The three main benefits that you'll probably gain from standing up at your desk are:

Better posture

More energy throughout the day

and Burning more calories!

I brought in a few text books to the office (user boxes or telephone books or whatever you have) and propped up my keyboard so that my arms bend approximately 90 degrees to rest on it. I put my mouse pad on top of my mini-tower and my monitor is on a tall stand, set back about 2 feet in front of me, and angled upward so that my eyes can easily come to rest on it by looking slightly downward. I found some insoles for my shoes that add a nice amount of padding which is important. You might even want a soft rubber mat to stand on.

The setup I have allows me to easily transition from sitting to standing fairly quickly which I think is important because if it's too much of a procedure then you probably won't ever actually do it, especially if you're busy working. So take a few minutes and create a setup that is easy to configure. Maybe a high stool would work instead of moving the desk around. Sometimes I do have to take a seat; right now, after only about a week of trying it, I'm probably sitting for a total of 30 minutes to 1 hour a day. Hopefully I'll be standing all day very soon.

I'm definitely seeing the benefits of it too. The days actually tend to fly by much quicker. I get to move around a bit, too, and I think that is part of what makes it more comfortable.

If you're having trouble try:

  • Shift your weight around
  • Stand on one foot for a while, then the other.
  • Stand with feet together, then apart.
  • Legs bent, and then legs straight.
  • One foot in front of the other, and then switch it around.
  • Move your weight from your toes to your heels to the outside edges of your feet.
  • Turn your body to the side, twisting your torso, and then to the other to move your organs around.
Anyway, it's a lot easier than I thought it would be. 3:00pm does start to present a challenge, but if you keep moving around it's not too bad. Don't forget to walk away from the desk from time to time either. Walking will help you to stand for longer too because it seems to get the blood flowing.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Make your PB & J stay fresh all day long.

HUNTINGTON WOODS, MI -  FEBRUARY 15:  This pho...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Avoid the sticky and undesirable situation where the jelly just wicks into the bread and makes it soggy.
Very simple, just put peanut butter on both slices of bread. This basically waterproofs the bread for you. Now when you put the jelly on, it will stay isolated between the layers of peanut butter all day long!! Enjoy a fresh non-soggy sandwich any time of the day. This does, however tend to make the jelly squeeze out the sides fairly easily, so I find that leaving a half inch of peanut butter around the edge makes a good way to seal the two pieces of bread together using the peanut butter as an adhesive.
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nice Language Flash Cards - Google Gadget

You should check out these awesome, simple yet very powerful flash cards for practicing your French, Italian, Japanese or Spanish vocab.

They can easily be added to your blog or to your homepage from the link below. :)

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Sit comfortably!

Aeron Chair in an office.Image via WikipediaLower back support is very important. Sit up straight and with a nice posture: Back straight, neck straight, shoulders up and back, eyes forward, etc.
Office chairs can be quite nice as far keeping a good posture and you should use them to your advantage. My chair, however is not good on the back. I find that if you don't have a lot of support, you can use one of those padded notebook thingys. (A "pad-folio"?)
They're rigid enough that they keep the back straight and the padding is just enough so that your spine is protected. The other benefit they offer is to remind you to not lean back too hard and sit up straight because you probably don't want to crush your nice black pleather pad-folio.

The article below on "Standing versus Sitting" is very interesting too.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Remove magazine "interference pages"

I got this one from my grandfather. Whenever you sit down to read a magazine, try this. First, take out all of the loose papers, rip out all of the heavy bond order forms and gift forms and everything else they put in there and recycle them. It makes it so much easier to flip through when all of the pages are uniform. This way you're not always flipping to the same pages that you've read a hundred times and don't care about.

This little diligence removes one small aggravation, but if you don't want to do it, that's okay too.

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On a Similar Note...

Sinusoidal waves of various frequencies; the b...Image via Wikipedia My niece is totally deaf, but she can still tell if there is music playing by feeling the sound pressure. Wouldn't it be great if we could all do that?; Use our sense of touch to it's fullest potential?

I've tried to become more aware of the feeling of sounds around me and I've started to pick up on some things that I hadn't noticed before. It's certainly easier to distinguish loud sounds and be aware of their presence, but even in a short time of trying to pick up on the differences in sounds, I've been able to distinguish differences in frequency as well. Basslines in songs are generally easier to follow, but higher notes have a feeling of their own and with practice, I ("I", meaning "you", "we", "humans") could seemingly easily distinguish the differences in frequencies enough to possibly interpret speech or whole songs.

Next time you're listening to loud music, pay attention to the feeling in your stomach, arm hair, the hair on your head and your fingertips. Touch objects around you to see what they're doing. Look around at things that might be visibly moving too, like ripples on a glass of water, hanging string, the rear view mirror in your car, etc.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Open Sesame! Open the door with your foot.

HENDERSON, CO - APRIL 02:  A doorknob of a hom...Image by Getty Images via Daylife With a little practice you can learn to open door knobs with your feet. Quite useful when carrying groceries or luggage etc..

It's a bit easier with a door that is opening away from you. If you have sneakers on or soles with a decent amount of friction you will be able to make one quick downward swipe against the doorknob with your foot. You should be pressing against the doorknob in the direction of the door jam, but slightly forwards so that you will be pushing the door open once the latch disengages. I find it takes about 2-3 inches of dragging along the sole of your shoe.

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Snap-on a twist-on milk cap.

The Milk JugImage by Dan_H via Flickr You know the plastic jugs of milk that have the plastic screw on caps, not the snap on caps? (I prefer those because they actually stay on if you drop the milk and they're just much more durable.) Well, you can easily get the convenience of snapping them on with just one solid smack, however since they're threaded they need to be twisted just a little bit after the smack. This is easy to do with your thumb on the hand that you are holding the milk jug with and can be done simultaneously while putting it back into the fridge.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

What is a "Mini Life Hack"?

Live efficiently, strive to be better. Tips for everyday living. Some more profound than others.. Some not profound at all. The information age is a wonderful thing. Let's all learn from each other and see if we can't speed up this "evolution" thing just a little bit more...

What's a Mini Life Hack?
A "Life Hack" is something that makes life just a little bit easier or more enjoyable. I hope you enjoy these mini life hacks which are short and easy to read, and give you ideas for optimizing or improving on the little things in life that all add up to the big picture.

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