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Friday, February 20, 2009

How to Eat your Snack Slowly and Make it Last

Too many times I take out the 10am snack only to find that it has disappeared by 10:05 and I can't even place exactly what it tasted like.. This has happened to you, no doubt? Here's a list of tips to help you slow down, enjoy, appreciate, and actually make your snacks last. Eating one snack more slowly will help you avoid or at least postpone your cravings. (See questions to ask yourself when cravings hit )

1. Reward yourself - Use food only as a reward for being productive or accomplishing something. Don't go crazy though, you don't deserve a reward for everything , you know..

2. Keep busy - If you're simply busier, hypothetically, you won't have as much time to be snacking. Read my post on how to stay motivated and on task at work .

3. Clean out your mouth - Between each bite make sure your mouth is clean. Get all the extra goodies out from between your teeth and from all of the little places where food gets stuck. Take a sip of water if you want.

4. Portion control - Bring only as much food as you think you need to eat. Only buy the small bag of chips this time; only pack one handful of pretzels instead of three. Note that this is probably less that you would want to eat, but not more than you need to eat to stay content.

5. Bring a variety - Something like trail mix (it's good for you!) And eat only one thing at a time. One peanut, one raisin.. Take your time deciding which piece it will be next. Consult your taste buds and consider all of your options before making the BIG DECISION! Too much of the same thing can make you complacent and your appreciation for each bite will be reduced.

6. Exploit your own discomfort - Put your snack just out of your reach so that you are required to lean over or get out of your chair or otherwise inconvenience yourself in order to grab a bite.

7. Appreciation - Notice how much different a peanut tastes when you eat one (or one half) at a time as opposed to a handful. How many different flavors do you notice? What do you notice from the shape? How is one peanut different from another? How does the flavor change as you slowly eat your way through the peanut?

8. Include all senses - Smell your snack or look at it closely before putting a piece in your mouth. This goes along with appreciation. Chinese and Tibetan monks have even been known to listen to their food before consuming it. The idea here is that it makes each bite feel larger and more important.

9. No one can eat just one? - Take the challenge.

10. Set a timer - Say you want your one little bag of peanuts to last for 3 hours. Estimate how many peanuts are in the bag, divide that number by two. Divide 3 hours by the previous number you got, and that means at that interval you are allowing yourself to eat 2 peanuts. IE, if I had 24 peanuts (a handful) I could eat 2 of them every 5 minutes and they would last for an hour. Use a timer on your watch, phone, computer, etc.

As I wrote this list I made a couple handfuls of trailmix last for an excess of 3 hours. And I can still taste every bite! It was great. I challenge you to give it a try. And let me know how it went!

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Leia Mais…

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

10 Tips on How to Stay Motivated at Work


You've had the "oh-man, I-don't-feel-like-I'm-doing-anything-meaningful-at-work-and-can't-bring-myself-to-stay-on-task-for-the-life-of-me" blues. I know, so have I.

No matter what your job is, it is most likely important that you have it, if not for the community or the planet, at least for the survival of you and your family. So whether or not you actually find the immediate task at hand entertaining or otherwise captivating, you must convince yourself that it is worth the battle if not for the sole purpose of your own survival.

Oh yeah, and if you really don't like your job and think you could do better, have more fun, contribute more to society at another job, by all means, QUIT and get another job! But that's a topic for another post...

If you do, in fact, enjoy your job (as I do) and feel that it is the right place for you to be right now, but sometimes have trouble staying on task or motivating yourself, I've come up with a list of little tricks I've tried to keep up a good work flow and avoid the bosses raised eyebrow that says: "Really, what is your purpose here?"

1. Make a to-do list. Write all of your tasks down on a piece of PAPER; not on the computer or in your PDA. Something that will remain right in front of your face no matter what you are doing.

2. Listen to music. But not just any music, and certainly not your favorite music (that can be distracting) find the right music to motivate you. I find that I work best to fast music with no lyrics. I also find Japanese drums to be invigorating, and there's always the old stand-by: Iron Maiden. Great for productivity.

3. Play games with yourself. Get in touch with your inner child and make believe that it is your duty to save the world and the only way to do it is to press a button at the bottom of your stack of papers (or something else relevant to your tasks).

4. Compete with peers. Maybe not outwardly, not if it would be awkward, but play a game where at the weekly meeting you have 2 more things to report than everyone else in the room. Or maybe you have assembled more product, or stocked more boxes than anyone else.

5. Stretch. Take a few minutes a few times a day and do some stretching. Feeling relaxed and avoiding fatigue is critical to getting good work done. Read this article on Eye Exercises that can be done at your desk. And here is a link to some stretching you can do without leaving your desk. (and here )

6. Try standing up. Stand up at your desk for a new perspective and a better posture. Read Try Standing up at your Desk for more info on how this can be beneficial.

7. Include yourself in more tasks - Force yourself to partake. Take on a challenge and give people something to expect from you. If there are short term results that people are expecting, it will be much more difficult to slack off.

8. Offer your services in other areas - Carry water jugs, refill the soap in the bathroom, fix someone else's computer, etc. IE: Take on some task that is not technically yours. This will give you a little variety and should make it easier to come back to your position with a new perspective.

9. Take a "Dry Bath". This is a technique that originated in ancient Chinese Kung-Fu. Rub your hands together vigorously until the palms heat up. Immediately rub your arms, shoulders, head, torso and legs. This is said to be good for blood flow, metabolism and internal organs. I find that it is also useful in waking yourself up or bringing you into the present moment.

10. Take a "Brain Bath". Also a concept from ancient China, a "brain bath" is removing yourself from an arduous environment and giving your senses something more soothing to experience. This can be listening to birds or a stream, looking at artwork or flowers, petting an animal or otherwise giving pleasure to your senses. This is good for invigorating the functions of the brain. Upon returning to work you may find that a portion of the dullness of your tasks has been eradicated.

There may be another list a little later since this was kind of fun. But for now, let me know if you use any of these or if I missed any big ones for you.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


After a few months of writing this blog, and some pretty good success and encouragement from reviewers, comments and other bloggers, I've decided to up the stakes and go for the domain name:

That seems to be the popular thing to do and I can see why. I'll be using WordPress from now on, and I'm extremely impressed with the system so far. I was able to import all of the existing articles from Blogger over to my new domain so all of the archived articles will be available for you.

If you are subscribed to MiniLifeHacks in a reader or by email you should not have to change anything. You will automatically be transferred over to the new domain.

Update your Bookmarks!
If you prefer to access the site to read the blog then you will need to update your bookmarks or favorites with the new web address:

New Stuff!
Not only do we have a new domain, we've got:
  • A new look - Enjoy easier reading, commenting, browsing etc. with our new layout.
  • Better search function - find the articles you're looking for with a search bar in the top right of the site.
  • Widgets - That's right, we'll be offering an array of nifty widgets to add to your homepage or blog. So check them out!
  • Closer contact - There is now a contact page where you can contact me directly without having to leave a comment. I like to encourage readers to ask about things they would like to see me post about.
Enough blabbering!! Check it out!!

Leia Mais…

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Avoid Over-Eating: 8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Cravings Hit

Chinese New Year candy trayImage by hale_popoki via Flickr

Try asking yourself some of these questions next time you get those cravings for sweets or fatty foods. Asking questions of yourself in general, is a good way to ensure you're actually conscious of what you're doing, and not acting on impulse.

Will it be more wasteful for me to drop this into the trash, or to store it in the fat cells in my body and then have to use my own energy to burn them up?

2. How does my stomach feel right now? Is it full?

3. If I could extract only the fat/calories in this food and put it in a cup, would I want to slurp it down?

4. Am I craving this because I actually want it, or because it is a physiological attraction of my senses to it? (A physiological desire would be a natural occurrence of which only the senses are in control, whereas an actual wanting is consciously controlled by rational thoughts in the brain. The rational thinking of the brain, despite popular belief, does have the power to trump the senses.)

5. How important is it that I eat this food? How important is it that I do not?

6. How different would my life be if I ate this junk food everyday, compared to if I did not eat this junk food at all?

7. Do my senses really have more control over my actions than my brain does?

8. How will I benefit from eating this, or will I?

Leave a comment and add to the list.
What do you ask yourself when cravings hit? What helps you? What hurts you?

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Leia Mais…