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Archive for February, 2012

29 Ways to Leap Out of Debt

29 February 2012 Leave a comment

As much as I like sharing my own thoughts on this blog, I often can’t say things better than the experts do, so in those cases, I just want to pass along the great information I’ve discovered.

I wrote a few years ago that, except for our mortgage, we’re debt free.  The hard work was done by my wife and I, but we owe all of the planning and motivation to Dave Ramsey.  I’ve written about him before and I’ll write about him again because he’s a fantastic resource on finances, insurance, and other important disciplines.  I’ve read his first book, attended two of his live shows, and listen to his radio show/free podcast on a regular basis.  He’s funny, straight to the point, and very motivational.

People may disagree with my eating habits, but can’t we agree money is a common problem we all have?  If you’re not out of debt, trust me, it’s the best decision you’ll ever make.  It’s such a relief to not have that burden, plus you can more nimbly handle any financial / life problem that comes up.  There are many excuses out there as to why people can’t get out of debt, but just listen to his radio show and hear all the amazing sacrifices others make to get out of debt.  It’s incredibly encouraging.  And as Dave says, “if you don’t like being debt free, you can go right back into debt if you want to.”

Here’s a link to his 29 Ways to Leap Out of Debt.  My favorite part is that only one of those 29 suggestions would make him any money at all.  He’s not in this make money off of people – he passes on proven ways to win with money.  Check out the list and make yourself more familiar with Dave!

29 Ways to Leap Out of Debt (Dave Ramsey)

Categories: Lifehack Tags: , ,

8 Reasons Why You Eat What You Shouldn’t

27 February 2012 Leave a comment

Our oldest daughter, Bree, isn’t even 4 yet, but she’s getting to the age where her food allergies come into play in social settings and it becomes a great opportunity to teach her about consequences.  We are her parents and we know what is best for her, but soon she’ll be at friends or relatives houses when we’re not and different foods will make themselves available.  Lucky for us, she doesn’t have any anaphylactic allergies, but she has differing levels of intolerances for (at last count) about 30 different foods.

This past weekend she was at a birthday party at Sky Zone where there was pizza and cake.  Jill planned ahead and made a really yummy gluten-free peanut butter and chocolate dessert, so that covered the cake part.  However, when Bree saw everyone was sitting down to have pizza together, she wanted to have some too (can you blame her!?).  We haven’t had many moments like this, so we were curious what would happen too.

Bree ate the pizza and did like it, but within an hour she said she had a stomach ache and later on that night she was in the bathroom a few times.  Everyone likes the taste of yummy foods, but when you eat those that harm you, you start to learn, no matter how young or old you may be.

This situation reminded me of a very apt and accurate article written by the Paleo stud, Mark Sisson.  Below is a quick summary of the article, but I highly recommend you read the whole thing here in order to understand the details:

8 Reasons Why You Act Against Your Own Better Judgment

  1. You’re missing something from your diet and your ancient genes are misinterpreting the modern cravings
  2. You’re missing something from your diet and your modern self is misinterpreting the ancient cravings.
  3. You’re addicted to wheat
  4. You’re addicted to sugar
  5. You’re stressed out
  6. You’re training too much without adequate fueling
  7. You’re not getting enough sleep
  8. You fear being socially isolated due to your food choices

I think #1 and #2 are really fascinating, biologically.  Most people would deny #3 as being crazy, but the biology behind that supports it too.  In fact, I think all of them are fascinating from one perspective or another.  #8 is what Bree has to deal with at parties, but I know I deal with it at work too.  I’ve heard comments that Paleo as “interesting”, but I’ve met very few (bordering zero) people who are willing to take the leap and find out how much it really helps them.  My only hope is if I keep writing about our successes that it will encourage others to give it a shot.

Categories: Paleo Tags: , , ,

Upcoming Webinars on Fueling Energy and Engagement

23 February 2012 Leave a comment

I’m a huge fan of webinars.  Presenters are able to give a lot of information in a short amount of time (normally only an hour).  Plus, there is such a wide range of topics available, you can take that opportunity to learn about leadership, management, technology, organization, self-improvement, and so on – all for free (I seek out the free ones, at least).

I just got an e-mail notification about 3 upcoming webinars from a company whom I really like.  I discovered them a few months back when I watched another one of their webinars called How Regular Renewal Fuels Great Performance.  It focused on breaking up your workday with walking or exercising or simply relaxing your mind and how much of an improvement you’ll see in your performance.  It also hit on eating and sleep and many other factors that affect your energy throughout the day.

Here’s their summary of the aforementioned webinar:

Top tips for managing your energy throughout the day

  1. Whenever possible, do one thing at a time. Multitasking increases the time it takes to finish any given task by 25%
  2. Take a break every 90 minutes to stay most focused and productive. You can get real renewal with just a minute or two of deep breathing
  3. Define clear stopping points at the end of the day, so when you’re with your family and friends, you’re really with them

Another topic discussed was how you can change your day by simply taking a deep, relaxing breath.  Try it!

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Upcoming Webinars by The Energy Project

  • Autonomy @ Work:  Reward Value, Not Face Time  (Thurs,  March 1 12pm)
  • Purpose @ Work:  The Most Important Question You Can Ask  (Wed, April 4 at 1pm)
  • Apprecation @ Work:  Why It Matters So Much  (Thurs, May 3 at 1pm)

Sign up for any of them here.

I’ll be curious to hear what people think if they attend!

Categories: Lifehack Tags: , , ,

Left Padding Zeros in Excel

14 February 2012 9 comments

Here’s a quick equation to use in Excel if you’re trying to pad a number out to the left.  For instance, you have “427″ and you really want it to be “0000427″:

=TEXT(A1,"0000000")

=TEXT(A1,"0000000")

 

 

 

The TEXT function has a few more tricks up it’s sleeve.  Here’s a link to more details on it:  http://www.techonthenet.com/excel/formulas/text.php

Categories: Excel Tags: , ,

Minimalist Shoes

7 February 2012 3 comments

As I’ve written on this blog numerous times, we are a different type of family for many reasons. Well, tonight we made a purchase that many other Paleo people have made (as well as many other people who aren’t afraid to be different) that makes us even more weird.

I am pumped about this new purchase because I read a very interesting (and very long) article about them on the New York Times. I’ve heard so many people say that once you go down this path, it’s hard to go back. Only time will tell.

My wife got a pair and I got a pair and we’re looking at a few more because they’re currently on a great sale on ems.com. Without further adieu, here are my new Vibram Five Finger shoes:

20120207-230929.jpg

Standing While I Work

7 February 2012 1 comment

So for the past few months I’ve been experimenting with standing while I work.  Yes, I feel like I bit of an odd-ball, but then again I also feel good.  Sitting all day drains me and I feel really lethargic because of it.  Not to mention, standing while working seems to keep the blood flowing better and I swear I am more productive and have  better ideas when I do so.

Granted, I didn’t come up with this out of thin air.  I’d heard rumblings of people standing at their computers for a while now.  Famous tech-blogger, Gina Trapani, was the one I heard talk about it first.  She wrote about it on Lifehacker and since then they’ve had a number of posts regarding it.  For instance: How Sitting All Day Is Damaging Your Body and How You Can Counteract It.  Gina recently blogged how she’d reached the One Year point of standing at her desk.

Converting to standing isn’t the easiest thing in the world.  Obviously most offices aren’t equipped for it and most people think you’re crazy (probably because it’s not “what everyone else does”).  But, you need to find boxes or books or something to raise your keyboard, mouse, and monitors.  Otherwise, there’s no point in standing if you’re going to kill your neck and back trying to hunch over or look down.  Also, you’ll either want to invest in a mat to stand on like Gina did, or just take the easy route like I did and just throw on some more comfortable shoes (eg. Crocs).  Also, I only stand a few hours at a time, otherwise it’s hard on the back.  From what I’ve read, standing all day is just as bad as sitting all day, so it’s good to mix it up.

Finally, to further motivate myself, I printed out this 5-page infographic and have it posted at work.  It’s nice to point to when people look at me funny and ask why I’m standing too!  Or, they may be looking at me funny because, in order to stand, I need to jury rig my desk with an Amazon box:

Make-shift standing desk

Categories: Health Tags: , ,

My Review of Roku 2 XS Streaming Player

1 February 2012 Leave a comment

Originally submitted at Roku

Adds an enhanced remote for playing games, plus extra connectivity options.

Helped me painlessly cut the cable cord!

By Hurls from Buffalo, NY on 2/1/2012
5out of 5

Pros: Great value, High quality picture, Easy to use, Compact, Reliability, Easy to set up, Built in Wi-Fi

Cons: Best to have great router, Need fast internet service

Best Uses: Secondary TV, Primary TV, Kids Play Room, Living room, Bedroom

Describe Yourself: Early adopter, Home entertainment enthusiast, Technophile, Power User, Family man

The viewing options on the Roku are fantastic! So many shows and movies, plus now they’re adding games so it’s becoming even more addicting! I know they’ll continue to add channels and content, so it’s going to continue to grow. Hopefully someday they get YouTube and some kind of NFL or NCAA football, then the device may be nearly perfect!

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