1. Product Highlights
2. Brainpower tip
|Better Homes and
Gardens Magazine is interviewing me for an article on time
management for families. We've had some preliminary exchanges, but the
big interview is coming up--I do these kinds of interviews all the time,
and they typically take several stages for completion.
They aren't going to use my #1 tip, which is don't watch television. They say the average woman has her brain washed by this method for 4 hours a day. If this is true, and these women are in charge of rearing our next generation, we are in big trouble. I would hope that every magazine would hop on this issue and help save us from the insanity. Oh, well.
Note: Yes, we rear children--we do not raise them. I used to correct people on this and say, "We raise livestock and vegetables." But after observing their children, I decided they were using the right word after all. :)
Here are half a dozen other tips the magazine might use.
1. Children need places for their coats, schoolbooks, etc. Saves a lot of time, especially in the morning.
2. Combine trips. Go to library, bank, hardware store, then grocery store. Not separate trips.
3. Scope out jobs--get all the tools you'll need, before you climb that ladder. Screwdriver, wrench, etc.
4. Clean one room at a time. Bring all you need, work your way around the room.
5. Pick any task, and you can probably find ways to eliminate steps. For example, look at how you have your kitchen arranged. You are probably doing a great deal of extra walking. Simply moving where you store your stove utensils could save you time. If you walk an extra 5 minutes a day, due a poor kitchen layout, you can typically save at least 5 hours per year. Start with one task each week, and look for ways to improve it. At the end of 52 weeks of this process, you can easily have added an entire extra day you did not have before.
6. Many parents spend time fighting with their kids to do chores, do homework, get ready for school, get ready for bed, and so on. All of this time is wasted, and the waste is avoidable. To avoid this waste, make your expectations clear. Set goals that are reasonable, consistent with each other, measurable, and achievable. One reason children act up is they want attention from their parents. Rather than give negative attention--which simply drains your energy--make a consistent effort to show your children your appreciation for their contributions. Show them they are important to you and are part of your team, and you will seldom see misbehavior from a normal child.
|I recently read an
article extolling the virtues of coupon clipping and how this can save
you so much money per year. An example was using a double coupon
technique to save "X dollars" on soft drinks each year.
This entire article was based on false economics, false assumptions, and gross stupidity.
First of all, you never save money on soft drinks no matter what the price. I can't understand how anyone can think they are getting a bargain on "osteoporosis in a can." This is like looking for a bargain for someone to break your arm or take a sledgehammer to your hip. Incidentally, that kind of bone breakage is what you are likely to encounter in your later years if you drink this stuff.
Now, let's look at the larger issues rather than the specific example of "saving money" on a toxic "beverage" such as Pepsi or Coke--both of which would be inordinately expensive even if you were paid thousands of dollars a year to drink them.
Here's what I want you to do, if you are clipping coupons or considering doing so in the future:
Now, you may find coupons that are good for something that is a good purchase. Examples include:
It is unlikely you will find coupons that are good for basic food items, which are the only ones you should be buying if your health matters at all to you. These kinds of items almost never come in a package. Exceptions include beans, frozen veggies, and frozen fruit. And, of course, your free range eggs come in a carton unless you picking them up are getting them directly from the farm.
The point here is nearly anything that has a coupon is overpriced and/or not fit for human consumption. There's a reason why this stuff needs coupons to move it off the shelves--it's bad stuff!
Yes, there are some reasons to clip coupons and you will find some good items that coupons save you money on. But, you aren't going to cut your grocery bill appreciably with coupons. What cuts your grocery bill is buying real food to begin with. This costs far less at the register than the processed poisons, and it can shave a few hundred thousand a year off your medical costs--for example, if you end up needing a kidney transplant due to eating the processed grains or if you need surgery and a colostomy bag to save you from the cancer you got eating hydrogenated oil.
For most of us, the annual medical savings will be less dramatic--take a look at your own medical costs to see where you've spent money on medicines for colds and other things. But, even without the cost-savings, you have the advantage of a better quality of life with less pain and suffering. That, to me, is where the real bargain is.
|Recently, I've been
struck by the sheer number of "rob me please" outgoing phone
messages that greet me when I call people. Don't ever
leave a message that says, "We're not home right now."
Burglars case homes by calling the numbers and finding out the pattern
of such messages. If they call your home and consistently get that
message during the day, they know they can simply park a moving van in
front of your place and relieve you of your possessions. They know you
are "not home right now."
Don't think you might be a target? Think again. The GAO has discovered a huge number of scams where IRS employees sell tax return information to known criminals (and they know who these folks are, because they have their tax returns). So, your name, phone number, and place of employment could easily wind up in the database of Joe Burglar.
Ol' J.B. can sort by area code and nail several homes in an afternoon--relieving them of various items over time. And he can keep coming back for small items here and there, amassing a wealth due to the scale of the operation (stealing a little bit from a lot of people). This can go on for months before the homeowner is aware there's a problem. "Honey, have you seen my....?"
But, you throw them off when your phone rolls over to your mobile or your answering machine refuses to confirm you're not there.
Leave a simple message. You don't need to say where you are or what you are doing. Nobody cares. Simply ask the caller to leave a message.
Security extends to your work phone, as well. Nobody needs to know that you are away on business for the next two weeks or whatever.
Here's one phone message that says, "I am an idiot." If you have such a message, I'm not calling you an idiot--I'm just saying your message says that about you. Here's the message, "I'm away from my desk or on the other line."
According to this message:
Again, just leave a simple message. That's the best policy for security, efficiency, and relationships.
|A reader wrote to ask how much he
should stretch before working out. My answer was, "Zero. Don't
stretch before working out."
What? Is that heresy? We've heard for years about the value of stretching. Well, as someone who used to start each day doing the splits, I am not saying don't stretch. I am saying don't do it before working out.
When you stretch, you (temporarily) weaken the muscle. You weaken the attachment points. You increase instability in your joints and connective tissues. Submitting your joints to the stress of a workout under those conditions increases the likelihood of injury. In fact, you will pretty well be guaranteed microtears in the muscle. These will heal into scar tissue, and you will--over time--reduce your potential for flexibility.
You reduce something else, as well. Because you reduce the strength of the muscle, you reduce the intensity of the workout. To maximize the benefits of your workout, don't stretch beforehand.
When you work out, you compress your muscles. This is true, regardless of what kind of workout you do. So, all the stretching you did before the workout must now be reversed. When you're done, it's as though you never stretched at all. Except for the injuries.
What about warming up? There's a huge difference between stretching and warming up. The way professional boxers, weightlifters, and other serious athletes warm up is by doing a light version of the movements they are going to do. For example, a boxer may do some light bagwork prior to a match. A weightlifter might use a very light weight to pump some blood through those muscles. A runner might walk the length of the track. And so on. Some experts are saying that a modified stretch--one where you don't go to the limits of your flexibility and you don't really feel like you are stretching--is also helpful, with none of the side effects.
When you do stretch, take the movement slow and easy. Never force a stretch--when you do this, you gain movement by simply tearing away at healthy tissue. What you want to do, instead, is gently move into position and hold it for about 60 seconds. Then, relax in an unstretched position for another 60.
Another reader wrote to ask if you can stretch too much. The answer is yes. There's a trade-off between joint stability and flexibility. The more you have of the latter, the less you will have of the former. The right balance depends on what you want to do.
Don't fear stretching. There's nothing wrong with it. Just don't overdo it, don't force it, and don't do it before working out.
How clearly do you communicate? Is your speech sloppy? If you say things like "original copy," do you mean an original or a copy? Most of us simply do not think about how we say what we say, then we wonder why others have misunderstood us.
Aim for clarity. It's never too late to learn the rules of grammar. Less than 5% of the American population can pass a grammar competency test, which is why so many people are misunderstood. Language is an agreement on how to exchange ideas and information.
Even if you didn't understand grammar in school, you are likely to find doing so relatively easy, today. Your maturity is what will make the difference. Grammar is logical, and therefore not hard to learn. You just have to decide to do it, and you have to decide that communicating clearly with other people is worth the effort.
You can get tutorial books for free from your local library. Or, enjoy meeting new people by taking an adult education class. You will make new contacts, but you will also come across as being a more substantive person.
Wishing you the best,
Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.
Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).
The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).
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