Saturday, August 07, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
From the DLM Blog:
Posted: 19 Jul 2010 09:55 AM PDT
A third of Americans are obese – and another third are overweight. The global picture isn't much rosier.
Many of us, even if we're not exactly "fat", know that we could do with using a few pounds. Whether it's for our health, to improve our confidence, or just because we want to get back into those jeans, we'd like to diet successfully. But so often, our diets end up starting on a Monday and ending before Tuesday.
There are all sorts of diet tips – some useful and some crazy – but these are five big ones which actually work and make a big difference to your chances of success. They're all very simple (which doesn't necessarily mean "easy"!)
1. Keep a Food Diary
Studies have shown that simply writing down what we eat helps us to cut back. Keeping a food diary – which simply involves noting down everything you eat each day – works because:
- You're more likely to resist that cookie if you know you'll have to record it in black and white
- You can easily identify patterns using your diary (e.g. maybe you always end up snacking mid-morning when you don't eat enough breakfast)
- You'll become more conscious about your eating: if you snack without even thinking (perhaps when friends are passing round chocolate or chips), then you'll start to become more aware of your habits.
2. Don't Crash Diet
Crash dieting – drastically cutting what you eat in the hopes of losing lots of weight fast – is a big no-no. Your body needs enough food in order to function well: it's the fuel which keeps you going. Plus, if you're eating very little, you won't even be getting enough nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc).
We live in a "have it now" culture where we've come to expect instant results. Unfortunately, dieting just doesn't work like that. For real success, it's best to lose weight slowly and steadily. Trying to rush weight loss will just play havoc with your metabolism, and can often lead to a rebound effect where as soon as you start eating "normally" again, you'll put all that weight back on, plus extra.
3. Exercise Regularly
Although exercise alone isn't an especially effective way to lose weight, it's a great addition to any diet plan. Exercise burns up calories – boosting your dieting efforts – but it also has a host of other benefits.
Exercising will help you tone up your body and build muscle (which, even at rest, burns more calories than fat). Being active gets you away from the temptations of the fridge – and it also provides a natural mood boost: much healthier than chocolate! Many dieters also find that exercise provides extra motivation to stick to a healthy eating plan – if you've just been jogging for an hour, you'll be reluctant to undo that hard work by eating junk.
4. Don't Ban Foods
Some people think that if you're on a diet, you "shouldn't" eat any chocolate, cookies, chips, cheese, or any other "bad" foods you enjoy. The truth is, in moderation, you can eat what you like. Of course your diet is going to be unsuccessful if you're scoffing dozens of cookies each day – but one cookie or one small candy bar isn't going to have much impact.
If you tell yourself that certain foods are banned, it tends to make you crave them more. Instead, just cut back on how often you have those foods. You may find that you appreciate them even more when they're an occasional event rather than a daily habit.
One good tip if you do find yourself eating too much chocolate (or whatever) – tell yourself "I won't have any chocolate today". It's much easier to focus on cutting out a bad habit for one day than trying to resist forever!
5. Try New Recipes
Finally, dieting is actually a great time to start eating some new foods. There are loads of super-healthy and super-tasty options that you might never have tried. Start experimenting! Vegetable-based dishes, or recipes from a low-fat cookbook, will give you loads of ideas. You may find some delicious and light alternatives to your usual repertoire.
If you're not very confident about cooking, how about simply trying some different fruits and veggies? It might be as simple as a different type of salad leaf, or a new variety of apple. Rather than seeing your diet as a time where you need to give things up, look at it as a great opportunity to try out some new things and potentially find some new favorites.
If you're on a diet, or have dieted successfully in the past, what are your tips? If you're not dieting but would like to, what's holding you back?
|Written on 7/19/2010 by Ali Hale. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.||Photo Credit: Brymo|
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Posted: 29 Jun 2010 05:27 PM PDT
You might dream of quitting your day job. Perhaps you want to be an artist, or a musician, or travel the world, or do volunteer work, or any number of other things. You might have a particular passion or keen interest – but the catch is, you still need to pay the rent.
Books like The 4 Hour Workweek aside, most of us do have to stick with a day job while pursuing other interests on the side. It might not be forever ... but it's where you're at right now.
(And even if you don't have a day job, keep reading. You've probably got plenty of other commitments in your life to balance against one another.)
How can you find the energy to keep up with everything that you want to do?
Your physical energy makes a big difference to how much you can get done. Taking care of your body and your health will help you stay on track with all your goals, and keep all the balls in the air. To keep your physical energy high, you'll want to focus on sleep, diet and exercise.
Too many of us start cutting sleep whenever we want to get more done – only to end up feeling like zombies the next day, groggily pushing ourselves onwards. If you're struggling to sleep because you're too wired when you go to bed, or because you wake up with things on your mind, try 10 Foolproof Tips for Better Sleep.
Yes, it's tempting to rely on caffeine and sugar to get through the day. These won't do your energy levels (or your long-term health) any good. You know the basics of healthy eating: plenty of fruits and veggies, plenty of water, lean protein, high fiber foods, and not too much sugar or fat. If you're really not sure where to begin, check out The 11 Most Important Rules for Healthy Eating.
You don't need to be hitting the gym every day to get the benefits of exercise. A twenty minute brisk walk can be a great boost to your energy levels. If you're feeling tired, don't use that as an excuse not to exercise – it'll give you more energy, not less. You can find the time, too; here's 5 Easy Ways to Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Schedule.
Mental and Emotional
Having the physical energy to get stuck into project outside your day job is half the trick – but however alert and awake you feel, you may find yourself fed up, down, or just not in the mood to do anything but watch television.
It's crucial that you take care of your mental and emotional energy levels. That means:
Don't Bring Your Work Home With You
If you're literally bringing work home (or staying late at work), that's obviously going to eat into the time which you have available to get everything else done. But even if you're not checking emails from home or writing reports after dinner, you can still be bringing your work home in an emotional sense.
Some artists (writers, painters, photographers) and other creative types choose to take day jobs which are fairly routine and which they can "switch off" from in the evenings. If you're choosing between different jobs, keep in mind how emotionally or mentally involving they'll be.
Take Time to Recharge
If you're working on your home business every evening and all weekend, you're going to find your productivity – and your enjoyment – going rapidly downhill. We all need to take time off to simply rest and relax. Don't keep pushing yourself onwards day after day; make sure you're getting enough down time. It's not a sign of weakness, it's good sense – and it'll make you much more productive in the long term.
If you're juggling a day job with lots of other commitments, how do you manage it all? Share your best tips in the comments!
|Written on 6/29/2010 by Ali Hale. Ali writes a blog, Aliventures, about leading a productive and purposeful life (get the RSS feed here). As well as blogging, she writes fiction, and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing.||Photo Credit: Valerie Everett|
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
But what do you do next?
Some ideas from the DLM Blog:
Posted: 27 Jul 2010 08:34 AM PDT
When it comes to the work you do every day, what are the things that truly only you can do because they are an extension of your unique gifts and abilities? These are the things worth organizing your day - and your life— around.
Beyond these genuinely unique contributions, daily work-related tasks and responsibilities generally fall into the four categories described below. The key to discovering your productivity patterns is to identify what tasks you spend your time on and then organize and plan them in a way that allows you to make the most of your time. When you do, you’ll find that you are able to get more work done in a shorter amount of time, and your sense of accomplishment and satisfaction of a job well done will grow.
Time Sensitive Tasks
These are things that have to be taken care of at a specified day and time. For example, if you scheduled a visit for your annual checkup six months ago, this is an appointment you need to keep. Likewise, if you have a meeting with your accountant, be sure you are available and ready to meet at the agreed upon time.
The time to ‘take control’ of your appointments is when you make them. Rather than accept the first appointment time offered or the first meeting date suggested, make sure that the proposed date and time is convenient for you before you commit.
You can even plan ahead to batch some of these necessary appointments. Those of you who know me and read my blog know how extremely important I think this is. For example, if you have to meet with a client on site (across town), what else can you schedule ahead of time to do before or after the meeting while you’re in the area?
These are things that require and benefit from the participation of others. From team conference calls and strategy sessions to performance reviews and mentoring sessions, collaborative tasks involve you interacting with other people. In a larger work environment, you might already know that these people-friendly tasks can burn up the clock like nobody’s business. On the flip side, if your business is primarily you and you alone, you might be tempted to gloss over this category, but don’t forget about client meetings, client calls, and oh, did I mention meeting with clients?
You can do your part when you’re involved in the milieu of group scheduling to be clear about when you are available. Be specific and be bold. For example, if you know that a 2:00 pm call on Wednesday would be best for you, go ahead and throw it out there and ask if that works for those who are an essential part of the meeting.
Believe it or not, many of those endless scheduling marathons are simply the result on no one proposing a specific day and time! Your time and the time of those you are meeting with is precious—use it wisely.
Today’s competitive marketplace requires everyone to be creative and think original thoughts. Effectively scheduling this category of tasks involves not only knowing when and how you are most creative, it involves respecting that knowledge enough to use it.
To illustrate this point, an acquaintance of mine who happens to be a writer knows that there is predictably one particular week of the month when she is at the top of her game in terms of creativity. Ideas come easily, words flow like lava, and her energy level greatly surpasses any other average week for her. She admits that when she’s smart, she keeps this in mind when creating deadlines for herself and her clients. Of course, this doesn’t mean she’s off the hook the other three weeks of the month, it simply means that she knows she should reserve particularly challenging creative tasks for that week whenever possible.
Would Rather Get a Root Canal Tasks
Even after you’ve delegated and you’ve shucked and you’ve procrastinated, there are tasks you need to do, but simply don’t enjoy very much. It’s perfectly normal, but you still need to get them done. If you haven’t already, figure out what works to motivate you to accomplish the tasks you don’t look forward to. For some people, it’s the satisfaction of being able to cross them off a written list. For others, it’s a modest reward (an iced coffee, etc.). For me, it’s a ‘V’ in my Victory Column. Hey, whatever works!
Ready to Put Your Productivity Patterns into Practice?
Begin by keeping a simple task log for the next 3 days. Write down the things you spend your time on. You can use the categories just described as a starting point. Depending on your work, you may readily identify others. If not, keep jotting down tasks and then look for patterns.
Once you’ve captured your tasks and categorized them accordingly, consider how you can batch them for efficiency. For example, if you’re not a morning person, make sure to reserve afternoons for your collaborative tasks. If you know you are restless in your normal work setting on a particular day of the week, consider making that day your appointment day. The possibilities are endless, as is your potential when you focus on the little things that matter.
Todd Smith is the creator and author of Little Things Matter—daily lessons to help you become the person you need to be in order to achieve your goals and live the life you want.
|Written on 7/27/2010 by Todd Smith. Todd is the creator and author of Little Things Matter—daily lessons to help you become the person you need to be in order to achieve your goals and live the life you want.||Photo Credit: Ingorrr|
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Up until last month, all of my computer and social media work was done on my laptop. Now that I have a smartphone, I have more options for checking my email and other apps.
However last year I attended a LinkedIn discussion and first heard about a really cool program that helps you connect Social Media and Microsoft Outlook. It's called Xobni. And it's free.
Xobni displays the social media connections the folks you are emailing have. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the three that I pay attention to. There's a free version which I started with before upgrading.
Since my radio station emails are being sent to my Microsoft Outlook program, it has helped me build stronger relationships with the folks I do business with.
Go here to try it yourself.
Monday, August 02, 2010
This used to be a term used for a conspiracy theory leading to a unified, one world government.
However I'm applying it to a new way of doing things that didn't exist in my parents lifetime.
Seth Godin posted this on his blog:
New times demand new words, because the old words don't help us see the world differently.
Along the way, I've invented a few, and it occurs to me that sometimes I use them as if you know what I'm talking about. Here, with plenty of links, are 26 of my favorite neologisms (the longest post of the year, probably):
A is for Artist: An artist is someone who brings humanity to a problem, who changes someone else for the better, who does work that can't be written down in a manual. Art is not about oil painting, it's about bringing creativity and insight to work, instead of choosing to be a compliant cog. (from Linchpin).
B is for Bootstrapper: A bootstrapper is someone who starts a business with no money and funds growth through growth. The internet has made bootstrapping much easier than ever, because the costs of creating and marketing remarkable things are cheaper than ever. It's really important not to act like you're well-funded if you're intent on bootstrapping (and vice versa). You can read the Bootstrapper's Bible for free.
C is for Choice: I didn't coin the term the Long Tail, but I wish I had. It describes a simple law: given the choice, people will take the choice. That means that digital commerce enables niches. Aggregating and enabling the long tail accounts for the success of eBay, iTunes, Amazon, Craigslist, Google and even match.com.D is for Darwin: Things evolve. But evolution is speeding up (and yes, evolving). While it used to take a hundred thousand years for significant changes to happen to our physical culture, the nature of information and a connected society means that 'everything' might change in just a few months. Ideas that spread, win and organizations that learn from their mistakes lead the rest of us. (from Survival is Not Enough)
E is for Edgecraft: Brainstorming doesn't work so well, because most people are bad at it. They're bad at it because their lizard brain takes over moments before a big idea is uttered. "Oh no!" it says, "I better not say that because if I do, then I'll have to do it." And so brainstorming quickly becomes clever stalling and timewasting. Far better is to practice edgegraft. Someone announces a direction ("we'll be really convenient, we'll offer our menu by fax,") and then the next person goes closer to that edge, topping it, ("we'll offer it by email!") and so on, each topping the other in any particular direction. (from the book Free Prize Inside)
F is for the Free Prize: People often don't buy the obvious or measured solution to their problem, they buy the extra, the bonus, the feeling and the story. The free prize is the layout of Google--the search results are the same, but the way the search feels is why you choose to search there. If engineers thought more about the free prize, we'd need fewer marketers.G is for Go go go™: I just trademarked this one, but you have my permission to use it all you like. Go go go is the mantra of someone who has committed to defeating their anxiety and ignoring their lizard brain. Not a good strategy for airline pilots, but for the rest of us, a little Go go go might be just the ticket.
H is for broken: Isn't it just like a marketer to compromise when he should have organized better in the first place? There's a lot in our consumer society that's broken, but try to avoid getting obsessed with it. Far better to ship your own stuff that's not broken instead.
I is for Ideavirus: A decade ago a wrote a book that was free. It still is. It argues that ideas that spread win, and you can architect and arrange and manipulate your ideas to make them more likely to spread. Note that I'm not saying you can add gimmicks and spam and networking to spread your idea. I'm saying the idea itself is more or less likely to spread based on how you design it.
J is for just looking: When there's plenty of choice and everything is a click away, I'm very unlikely to take action, certainly unlikely to actually buy something from you. I'll do it tomorrow. Or the day after. Which means the only way you create action is to produce an emergency. Why now? Why not later...
K is for kindle: No, not the ebook reader. Kindle as in patiently starting a fire. The TV era demanded blockbuster launches of blockbuster products aimed at the masses. The internet responds better to bonfires that are kindled over time, to ideas that spread because the idea itself is the engine, not the hype or the promotion. First, ten.
L is for Lizard Brain: This is a huge impediment to getting what you want, finding your calling and satisfying your customers. The lizard brain is near your brain stem, including your amygdala. It's the part of your brain responsible for anger, revenge, fear, anxiety and reproduction. It's the original brain, the one that wild animals possess. Steve Pressfield has named the voice of the lizard: it's the resistance. The resistance rationalizes, hides and sabotages your best work.
M is for Meatball Sundae: This is the unfortunate combination of traditional products and services (designed for low price and good quality) with the high-growth nature of the idea-driven internet. When your boss tells you to build a viral campaign about some lame product gathering dust in the warehouse, she's asking you to build a meatball sundae and you should flee.
N is for NOBS: Otherwise known as the new order business school. My rant about this points out that for most people, a traditional MBA is a waste of both time and money. The two biggest benefits--the selection process of getting in, and the social process of networking--could be accomplished, in a Swiftian fashion, without any classes at all.
O is for Orangutan: I could have used the word 'monkey', but I already had an M listing, plus I love the way you spell Orangutan. Anyway, the primate is the best way to think about how people interact with websites. They're like monkeys in a psychology experiment, looking for the banana. Where's the banana, they ask? Of course, I don't know the monkey word for banana, so I'm paraphrasing. If your website offers a banana, people are going to click on it. If they don't, they'll leave. My argument for banana design is in The Big Red Fez.
P is for Permission: Anticipated, personal and relevant messages will always outperform spam. Obvious, but true. So then why do you persist in spamming people? Billboards, TV ads, phone calls--they all are defeated soundly by delivering your offers with permission. In fact, the biggest asset a company can build online is this privilege, the list of people who would miss you if you didn't show up. Here's the original interview (12 years ago!) in Fast Company.
Q is for Quitting: Sticking things out is overrated, particularly if you stick out the wrong things. In fact, I think you'd be much better off quitting most of what you do so you have the resources to get through the hard slog I call the Dip... The challenge, then is to not quit in the Dip, but instead to quit everything else so you have the focus to get through the slog of what matters.
R is for Remarkable: A purple cow is remarkable, because it's worth talking about. Not because you, the marketer said it was, but because I the consumer did. And in a world without effective, scalable advertising, remarkable products and services are the single best way to succeed. Here's a long essay from seven years ago.
S is for Sneezer: What do we call someone who spreads an idea the way some people spread a virus? Seek them out, cater to them, organize them.
T is for Tribe: Human beings evolved to be attracted to tribes. Groups of like-minded people who share a culture, a connection and perhaps a goal. And each of these tribes seeks leadership. The opportunity for marketers today isn't to sell more average stuff to more average people. The opportunity is to find and connect and lead tribes of people, taking them somewhere they want to go.
U is for Ululate: Not because it's relevant, just because it's the single best word in the English language. Can I sneak an extra C? The cliff business.V is for Very good: No one cares about very good. I can get very good from just about anyone, and certainly cheaper than I can get it from you. We don't have a competence shortage, not any more. No, I'm only going to pay extra for the personal, the magical, the artistic and the work of the linchpin.
W is for Worldview: I first encountered this term via George Lakoff. Your worldview is the set of expectations and biases you bring to a situation before any new data appears. Some people hear a politician say something and hate it, while others are thrilled by it. Is it the thing that was said or the person who said it? Some people hear that Apple is about to launch a new product and they get out their wallets, others flee--before they even know what it is. If you don't understand the worldview of the people you're selling to, you will fail.
X is for Xebec: I hate it when A-to-Z listmakers cheap out on the X. Hey, a xebec is a three-masted schooner. And they're obsolete. Just like CDs, newspapers and a whole host of interesting but dated business models. Sorry. Imagine someone saying: "He's a nice guy, but that company he works for is a xebec."
Y is for You. You the artist. You the one who makes a difference. You the one who stands for something and now has the leverage (and access to the market) to actually ship. Go go go.™Z is for Zoometry: Originally a term from zoology (pronounced zo-ology, in case you were curious), zoometry is the science of instigating and learning from change. This is the revolution of our time, the biggest one in history, and it's not just about silly videos on Youtube. One by one, industry by industry, the world is being remade again and again, and the agents of change are the winners.
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Check this out from business guru Harvey Mackay:
Then she challenged me to come up with the ABCs of team-building, a topic that seems particularly popular in this era of reorganizations, layoffs and downsizing. The following concepts are what I consider the fundamentals of team-building:
A is for action. No team can function without a plan of action, even when the final outcome is to take no action at all.
B is for brainpower. If two heads are better than one, I would submit that a cohesive, well-assembled team should have enough brainpower to attack any project.
C is for cooperation and communication. Team members need to cooperate, even if they don't necessarily agree. Clear communication is the roadmap to cooperation.
D is for dedication. As members of a team, you must be dedicated to the goals of the team, or you are on the wrong team.
E is for ears. Use your ears more than your mouth because listening skills are critical for team success.
F is for fun. Work should be fun, and working together is usually a lot more fun than working alone.
G is for the group effort. The motto needs to be "all for one and one for all" in order to be a real team.
H is for help. Ask for it if you need it, and offer it if someone else needs yours.
I is for the ideas that come from brainstorming and picking each others' brains. Let the ideas flow and then choose those which hold the most potential.
J is for juggling. Combining all the company's needs and desired results will often require a juggling act, but a competent team will be able to achieve that balance.
K is for kinetic -- energetic, dynamic team members keep things moving.
L is for leadership. Every team needs a leader, and every leader needs to be able to depend on the team.
M is for motivation. Nothing motivates a team like trust placed in them by management to solve a problem.
N is for negotiate. Give and take is as important within a team as it is with outside clients.
O is for open mind. Team members need to be open to options they may not have considered, and willing to expand their perspectives to find the best answers.
P is for planning. A plan doesn't need to be rigid to be effective, but it must provide enough direction to keep the team on course.
Q is for questions. Asking questions is the best path to finding solutions. Don't be afraid of asking any question. If you don't understand something, chances are others don't either.
R is for results. The whole point of forming a team is to achieve results. The only variation on that theme is that the results may not be what had been originally anticipated.
S is for solutions, which differ from results in that there may be more than one solution to any given problem. Then the team can implement the best choice.
T is for time management. A well-managed team uses their meeting and planning time efficiently, and understands when it is time to finish the project.
U is for unity. Once a decision is made, the team needs to be unified to implement the plans. If the team can't act as a unit, then it may be necessary to reconfigure the team.
V is for voice. Every team member has to have a voice in the proceedings, and it is up to the team leader to insure that all voices are heard.
W is for work ethic. Each member needs to complete the given assignments and should have confidence that others will demonstrate the same commitment.
X is the X factor -- the chemistry that makes a team productive because all members are committed to the same goal.
Y is for yes -- say it as often as you can. "Yes, I can help. Yes, that's a good idea. Yes, let's move ahead. Yes, we did it!"
Z is for zeal. Passion, eagerness and enthusiasm are contagious; share your zeal with the rest of your team.
Mackay's Moral: The team you build will determine the business you build.