Archive for the ‘Lists’ Category

50 Easy Ways To Lose Weight

I recently came across a Readers Digest article on 50 Easy Ways To Lose Weight. (Actually, they gave us almost sixty.) Some are a little out there, some a little mundane, but a few were really interesting. Here are some of my favorites.

4. Carry a palm-size notebook everywhere you go for one week. Write down every single morsel that enters your lips — even water. (Ed- I actually plan on doing this soon.)

12. Downsize your dinner plates. Studies find that the less food put in front of you, the less food you’ll eat.

17. Eat one less cookie a day.

22. Pare your portions. Whether you eat at home or in a restaurant, immediately remove one-third of the food on your plate. (Ed- This is to counter-act the trend towards larger servings. For fast food, step down a size.)

26. Eat only when you hear your stomach growling.

35. Wash something thoroughly once a week — a 150-pound person who dons rubber gloves and exerts some elbow grease will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning, says Blake.

52. Serve individual courses rather than piling everything on one plate. Make the first two courses soup or vegetables (such as a green salad). By the time you get to the more calorie-dense foods, like meat and dessert, you’ll be eating less or may already be full.

What other easy ways do you have to help lose the weight?


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Making lists is an easy, effective way to get organized, and one of the oldest is the simple to-do list. Here are a few things you can do to really get the most out of them.

Subdivide into Smaller Lists
Splitting your list into smaller lists can help you prioritize work. Date is a good way to approach it, but breaking into sections like Home, Work, Pleasure, etc. can be helpful too. A to-do list stops being helpful if it is too long or confusing to effectively remind you of your responsibilities.

Keep it Short
Maybe you need two lists; one can cover the most important things that must be done today, and other can cover the less important stuff. Maybe you can just be critical of what goes on the list. The important thing is not to let “pay electricity bill” get buried beneath “rent the first season of CSI.”

Use Check Boxes
This is one of my favorite and 95% psychological. True, check boxes are useful for quickly recognizing what’s done and what’s undone, but the emotional boost you get from checking off each thing is much more important. It’s a great feeling that will keep you working.

Account for Other People
Most likely, something on your to-do list involves someone else’s participation. If so, it’s important to remember that other people aren’t always reliable. Attack these early, and if that contact in LA takes four hours (or four days) to respond to you, you wont be sunk.

Go Digital
I am still fond of my paper to-do list, but there is a lot to be said for digital versions. They’re often easier to restructure (so that you can move that new assignment to the top priority), but the real gem is that many digital lists can be active about reminding you. Whether on your phone or your computer, a digital alarm tied to a to-do list can be a life saver when it comes to time or date sensitive tasks.

Keep it With You
A to-do list is no good if you can’t see it. If it’s only for work, maybe you can get away with keeping it on that dry-erase board over your desk. However, for most uses, a to-do list will only be helpful if you can carry it with you easily. Mine stays in a little Moleskine notebook that fits neatly in a pocket or book bag, so that it’s never far away when I get my next appointment or assignment.

Check it Often (But not too often)
A list is only as helpful as the number of times you check it. If you never see your list, it can’t help you. However, checking it too often can keep you distracted. If you’re really trying to get things done, the best way to go is to sit down with your list, pick the most important task to work on next, and then go back to your list only when you’re ready to check off the first task and see what’s coming next.

Schedule for Fun
We’re all really busy, but it’s important to kick back occasionally. So while you shouldn’t flood your to-do list with recreation, including a few things can help. Again, this is partly psychological. Every time you look at that long to-do list and groan, you’ll remember that at least some of what’s coming up is fun. Avoiding feeling discouraged is important to staying productive.

This is just a small sampling of ways you can improve your productivity with the simple to-do list. What other ways do you make them more useful?

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The other day, I was walking back from the art building in a terrible mood. One of my art projects was in the dumps and the other class had been simply tiring. I was acutely feeling a sense of envy about all the couples on campus, and yet my roommate’s sudden break-up had me thinking that love never lasts. I’d been sore for no good reason for a few days so trudging back to the dorm in a cold rain wasn’t exactly ideal either.

That was when it hit me: While it had been pouring all day, the rain had cleared just long enough for me to walk home. I’m not religious by any means, but I smiled and thought to myself, “Thank God for small miracles.” (Which in turn reminded me of the origin of the phrase “this too shall pass” which actually made me laugh, particularly in reference to all those couples.)

It’s a difficult thing to do, especially when everything seems to be going wrong, but it’s important not to forget to be thankful for the good things that come your way. Everyone has a dose of bad in their life, and probably always will. The hard part (I do this plenty) is not to feel like you’re owed something good. You probably are, and in our society, forgetting to demand your debts be paid is a good way to get screwed over. However, when you look life that way, then good things only make you even. Sure, you got a nice bonus, but that just about makes up for that weekend you had to come in to work. You have dealt with so many snotty cashiers that the polite one only pays you what you are due.

“Now that we’re even, world, what will you do to make me happy?”

The problem is, anytime you think that way, odds are something else bad will come your way and mess you up. You’ll be owed something again, and you’ll never really enjoy it.

It’s important to remember that life doesn’t tally pros and cons. Good things happen and bad things happen and quite often you can only do so much about it. One thing you can always do, though, is appreciate good things for what they are: good moments in your life. Not payback, not what you are due, just something good to be happy about.

A great way to practice this is to take a few minutes every day to write down something (or a few things) you’re thankful for. Some days the list will be long, other days it may read “I’m still breathing.” Thats okay. Life is that way sometimes. The important thing is to train yourself to look for good things, without tallying and spreadsheets and calculating what you’re owed. (Besides, breathing is a pretty good thing, right?)

Who knows? You might find you have more small miracles to be thankful for then you think.

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Sister Corita Kent was a nun at the Immaculate Heart Convent in Los Angeles, as well as a teacher in the art department at the Immaculate Heart College. She was part of the counter culture, which, considering that she was a nun, makes her pretty interesting on it’s own. However, she also left us this set of rules, intended for her art students, but useful for many of us.

  1. Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.
  2. General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher, pull everything out of your fellow students.
  3. General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.
  4. Consider everything an experiment.
  5. Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.
  6. Nothing is a mistake. There is no win and no fail. There is only make.
  7. The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.
  8. Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. They’re different processes.
  9. Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
  10. “We’re breaking all of the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” – John Cage.

Helpful hints: Always be around. Come or go to everything always. Go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully often. Save everything, it might come in handy later.

I’m particularly fond of 1, 4, 9, and the helpful hints at the end. If you’re an art student, artist, or just a creative person, they all seem pretty good.

(Also available, what looks like an original typed copy of the rules.)

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This idea comes to us via Get Rich Slowly, a really incredible blog all around for anyone who wants to get their finances under control.

The idea is pretty straightforward, and yet profoundly difficult. Write a list of 101 goals – concrete, simple, well defined and achievable goals – and then give yourself 1001 days (about 2.75 years) to complete them. It’s a bit like New Years Resolutions, only bigger.

Why so long? The idea is that a single year is not long enough to complete some projects. Maybe they’re seasonal, or maybe they’re just really complicated. If you want to finally go on that month-long tour of Europe you’ve always dreamed about, odds are you can’t save, plan for, and take the trip in one year.

Why so many? Presumable because there is so much to do! In the lists I’ve seen, the goals cover everything from the life altering (that Europe trip, publishing a book, etc.) to the mundane (clean the gutters every fall, paint the kid’s room, switch banks, etc.).

It still is a very long list, and part of it’s charm will be that it forces you to think almost three years down the line. Unlike the usual “Where do you want to be in five years?” question, though, this one forces you to put down in writing the steps you must take to get there. Maybe it’s more accurate to say this is a way to answer the question “What do I want to have done in three years?”

I tried to start this, and was able to stretch myself to come up with around 80, many of them things I had only a questionable desire to do. I’m not sure where to put the blame for that, but another friend of mine (I’m sure she’ll be around in the comments, going by the name Moi) couldn’t find 101 things either. To be fair, I think this is a project which is most effective at a certain time in your life. We’re both in our sophomore year at college, so there is a lot of uncertainty ahead. I’m not sure where I’m going to live next year, let alone what I may be studying or doing, so its difficult to plan that far ahead.

JD of Get Rich Slowly has a pretty good list on his personal blog, though. He’s well accustomed to thinking about what he wants to change in his life and has a good notion of where he’s going. You can read about the origin of the idea here, or see a bunch of people’s lists here. Most likely, my list will be the basis for a (pretty ambitious, hopefully) list of resolutions for this year. I’m sure I’ll share that list with you in the coming weeks, and I encourage anyone who takes up this project to share their list as well. Even if you come up short of the 101 goals target, it’s a great way to itemize the things you want to accomplish. Good luck!

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