Archive for March, 2006

Do more with less!

Friday, March 24th, 2006

Do you want to have more time to do the things that you want to do in life, but find that you just can’t seem to find even an extra hour in a week?

Here’s one way that you can try to claw back some time for yourself.

How much time do you spend in a week carrying out tasks that you either don’t need to do or that you don’t need to do as often as you do them?  You probably think that you don’t waste time on any such tasks but if you look closely at what you do (and that’s the trick with time management, try to free up small parcels of time, a few minutes here and there, rather than looking for chucks of several hours).  Here are a few examples:

  • Do you always go to the Post Office to pick up a stamp when you need one rather then buy a good handful?
  • Do you go on erratic shopping errands as opposed to planning them in advance?
  • Do you find yourself wondering what to do next?

At the heart of clawing back seconds and minutes (which come together to make hours that you can use for more productive work) is a little bit of forward planning.  If you want a stamp today and you wanted one last week and the week before, it’s likely that you are going to want more and so it makes sense to stock up.  One properly planned out shopping trip will take a lot less time than several erratic trips and knowing what you have to do in a day or week will mean that you can spend your working time actually working and not sitting around wondering what to do next.

The planning required to save considerable chunks of time isn’t at all significant – ten minutes spent planning can easily free up an hour or two – a worthwhile return on investment.

So why not whip out a pen and paper and start making a few simple plans – plan out what you want to achieve in a day or week or what your goals are for a shopping trip or business meeting.  Knowing what you want in advance means that you work at a higher level of efficiency and get more done in less time!

And once you have freed up some time, remember to plan out what you intend to do with it – don’t waste it!

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Eight glasses of water a day or not?

Monday, March 20th, 2006

I keep coming across people debating whether or not the human body actually needs to have 8 glasses of water a day to maintain health and vitality.  A lot of people (including health care professionals) recommend 8 glasses or water a day, claiming that if you drink less than this you are running the risk of becoming dehydrated.  Others claim that this number is nonsense and an overestimate and that you should drink based on whether you are thirsty or not.

Note:  Here a glass is considered to be 8 fluid ounce (US), so eight glasses would be 4 pints (US) or roughly 2 liters.

I’ve carried out some research and it seems that there isn’t any real scientific basis for the claim that eight glasses a day are needed to maintain a healthy body.  To begin with, this number doesn’t take into account the climate (the hotter it is, the more water you need) or exertion levels (the more you do, the more water you need).  It seems to be at best a guess and at worse a total shot in the dark.

However, living in a society where people wouldn’t think anything of drinking that much liquid in the form of coffee, cola or alcohol, it does seem strange to be debating whether 8 glasses or water is enough, too much, or not enough.  These things certainly don’t contribute to health and well-being (the opposite in fact, they actually harm your health) and in light on the levels of consumption of these kinds of fluids (I can’t bring myself to call them drinks) it seems odd to be worrying about whether 8 glasses or water is too much.

I’ve found that for me, about 2 liters of water a day is about right.  I tend to go through a good quarter of that while exercising and the rest I sip throughout the day as needed.  There are days when I drink more (because it’s hot or because I’ve exercised more) and I haven’t noticed any ill effects.  On the days when I’ve not drunk as much I can honestly say that I’ve felt more lethargic than usual and once I actually start to feel thirsty I’m aware of the fact that my concentration levels and quantity and quality of my work are lower.

Your mileage may vary but for me the “8 a day” advice seems about right.  I don’t drink cola or coffee so that might means I get less water from other sources (back when I did drink cola and coffee I didn’t drink this much water) but even if I am overestimating by a glass or so I can’t see the harm in it.

I suggest you experiment – if you are the kind of person that doesn’t drink much water then try adding a glass or two a day to your diet and see how you feel after a week or so.  If you feel better (more energy, improved concentration, etc) then why not see how you feel if you add another glass.  Keep going until you feel you’re not seeing any benefit from the extra.

Don’t, however, jump straight to drinking 8 or more glasses a day – not only will this feel like a huge chore but you will experience a few side-effects, such as frequent urination and a bloated feeling in your stomach.

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Quote of the Day – Positive Thinking

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

“Left undirected and uncontrolled, positive thinking can quickly degenerate into positive wishing and positive hoping.”

Brian Tracy

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