NEW FOODS that I’m totally in to!

There are ~7500 varieties of apple and over 50,000 varieties of peppers estimated…I only know a few of each off the top of my head…digging deeper, there are millions of varieties of food and beverages and other nutrients used to nourish the human body….of which our spectrum of experience…regardless of where we live…is very limited. The american palate is technically historically one of the newest and for that matter has many limitations….compounded by our geography (ie. tons of foods and beverages have been shared between Asia, Europe, and Africa for thousands of years…the Americas remained relatively disconnected for at least another 1000+ years)…and due to society, only have we recently begun to expand our palates through diversity and exposure.

Certain foods can provide specific and unique nutritious value, specialized nutrition/flavor combinations, and even medicinal remedies from all different corners of the world…but until recently you couldn’t access them….now we have amazon and various niche specialty and world markets have popped up that carry some of the world’s greatest forms of nourishment!  Here’s a list of foods and beverages I have recently discovered, how I consume them, and WHY I’M OBSESSED WITH THEM?

  • Raw Pumpkin Seeds – these tasty green snacks are ranked as having the highest protein content next to almonds….plus they have tons of antioxidants, high fiber, and are good for your heart!
  • Turmeric – the orange cousin of ginger…with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidants qualities…is not as sharp a flavor as ginger and easy to add to smoothies or spice mixes…careful it will turn everything orange…also good for the brain!
  • Szechuan Peppercorn (Sichuan Pepper) – not actually a pepper nor a peppercorn…a staple in Szechuan Chinese Cuisine (characterized by garlic, chili peppers and this anesthetic floral pinkish dried seed pod from the citrus family)…is a unique ingredient that can be added as a ground powder (or added whole in an oil or hot pot broth) to create a mouth-numbing sensation that can relieve the heat from the chili peppers and open the taste buds to appreciate the chili’s intense, fruity flavor.
  • Sorghum -an ancient grain originally from Africa that as a whole grain cooks like rice or large couscous…it’s gluten-free and packed with nutrients, high fiber, and antioxidants….PLUS…you can pop it like popcorn!
  • Red Quinoa – not much flavor but this is certainly a superfood…I like the red kind because the color looks great on a plate (and the Incas ate it for strength)…high fiber, minerals, and all 9 essential amino acids….one of the healthiest foods on the planet….just needs some spice…try sumac…
  • Sumac Bran – not related to poison sumac…a traditional spice from India…red in color, earthy citrus in flavor…great addition to any Middle Eastern/Asian flavor profile….also goes great with garlic and olive oil…not overly powerful…antioxidant powerhouse!
  • Fresno Pepper – this is a great color substitute for jalapeno’s with it’s bright red color and only lands slightly spicier on the Scoville Scale… sometimes tough to find in the market but I have seen them popping up on menus.
  • TEA/HERBALS – I’ve started combining some of these for nutrient and flavor balance using my iced-tea maker
    • Green Matcha – finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves….antioxidants, fiber, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
    • Hibiscus – great fruity taste…lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, antidepressant.
    • Rose Hips – not related to the flower…variety of nutrients…digestion and antioxidants…lowers cholesterol.
    • Rooibos – naturally caffeine free…good for pretty much everything…comes from a South African tree…can taste a little weird.
  • BONUS – Imperfect Produce – a subscription produce delivery service that can cost less than $17 per delivery (I get mine bi-weekly) that delivers fresh “imperfect” produce (everything from misshapen to discolored to abnormally sized to simply surplus)…all while eliminating food waste in the world!

I’m always trying new things and adding to the list…there’s a whole slew of foreign cuisines that combine all types of unique foods, spices and flavors that will be for another blog post…exploring the world through taste…what “NEW” foods are you in to?

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My NEW Morning Routine…What’s Yours?

Humans are creatures of habits….said many people a million times…and over the last few months I have realized that over the last few years I had formed some good and bad habits…and in some cases no habits at all!  In general, I think that good habits can help us be efficient and do things more quickly through repetition…and thus do more things…ie. knowing the order of cleaning yourself in the shower helps you move from one to the next without thinking in between and also helps make sure you don’t miss a spot…sounds obsessive but certainly helps the process…save 5 minutes in the shower…gain 5 more minutes to read an article before work.

So I have tried a few things to help form new habits…first was a weekly evernote checklist of all the things I wanted to do (see blog on my Tech Assistant Evernote)….but I ended up doing many things on one day and nothing on others…then I tried a daily Evernote checklist that I created at the end of each day for the next day…that was annoying to have to add things I wanted to do every day…every day…now I am working off of a “Morning Routine” checklist….its working better…still need to tighten it up because it can range anywhere from 1h30min to 2hrs…which, though important, I simply don’t have that much time in the morning….here is my NEW Morning Routine…and some explanation to go with it…what’s yours?

MY MORNING ROUTINE (as of 7/25/18)

  • Morning Prayers – Combination of My Dad’s Summer Camp Morning Prayer, The Shehecheyanu, and a “Thank You” prayer that I wrote for myself
  • Gratitude Journal – List 1-3 Things I’m grateful for in My Gratitude Journal (hint: its an Evernote)
  • Glass of Lemon Water – This Ladders Article says its a good idea to drink a full glass of lemon water because its “chock full of nutrients”…I think its a great way to start off the day hydrated.
  • Read Positive Attitude – easy ~5-10min…currently reading Attitude 101: What Every Leader Needs to Know by John C. Maxwell…starting off positive!
  • Nutritious Breakfast – usually some good carbs and protein (eggs and wheat toast, greek yogurt, fruit smoothie, etc)…if I can eat a half a grapefruit before the meal that helps suppress hunger for over eating and provides additional nutrients.
  • Multi-Vitamin + Probiotic + Omega-3 Fish Oil + Biotin (may or may not help retain any of my last remaining strands of hair…it’s the thought that counts right!?!?!)…best when taken with a meal!
  • Bergamot Essential Oil – a few drops in my palm….deep breaths with my hands cupped over my nose and rub the excess over my belly…has many benefits…calming, digestion, blood circulation, anti-anxiety/depression…see here for full explanation…overall just a nice bright aroma that is a good transition from eating to breathing/meditating.
  • Full Body Yawn in to Sigh of Relief – Imagine the Lion/Dog/Cat opening wide, stretching, and breathing life into all parts of my face, lungs and body then resting in to a fuller relaxation to prepare for some breathwork and meditation.
  • Breathwork – 10min….set the timer and practice…im still new to this (see my Blog on Breathing) …practice makes perfect…taking time to try different styles and tactics and strengthen my breathing muscles (fyi this is also a form of meditation)
  • Meditation – 10min of guided meditation ideally (ie. Headspace) …but other forms of meditation work as well (see my other Blog on Cooking as Meditation)
  • Review Daily Plan – now that I am finished nourishing my mind and body, I am ready to review what goals I have for the day and what my plan of tasks are to accomplish those goals…this is an opportunity to prioritize, edit, re-order, add-to, etc
  • Smiling Shower – this is a new concept I’m experimenting with…but makes sense…just the act of smiling can make you happy and can positively impact your attitude (subject for another blog)…walking around smiling can feel foolish at first so what better place to practice than in the shower…smile the whole time…come out and smile in the mirror…and get real in to it….even profess in to the mirror “I LOVE YOU”…it will make you smile even more…quoth Buddy the Elf “I just like to smile…smiling’s my favorite!”
  • GET TO WORK

This is just my latest morning routine…always evolving…and currently having the most positive impact on my daily activities and how good I feel at any given moment every day….what works for you…anything I can steal or incorporate in to my routine…and even better…next on the docket….what is your evening routine???

Cooking is Meditation

Mindfulness, on wikipedia, is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which can be developed through the practice of meditation and other training…

Meditation, on wikipedia, can be defined as a practice where an individual uses a technique, such as focusing their mind on a particular object , thought, or activity, to achieve a mentally clean and emotionally calm state.

I might have 3 pans going and 2 trays in the oven while I’m whisking…but when I’m in the groove…I’m certainly mentally clean and emotionally calm…not thinking about that financial, work or relationship stress that often clogs our thoughts….when I’m cooking (usually best classified as practicing cooking for me), I’m totally focused on the technique and tend to ignore other thoughts and emotions…mainly so the dish doesn’t burn.

Cooking for me = mindfulness = meditation

Caught up in the moment = mindfulness = meditation

Living in the NOW = mindfulness = meditation

…and many more…depending on what you do that keeps your mind on…or off the thinking and emotions of daily life…

It’s no wonder that after a good workout, playing a sport, fixing our fence, gardening, grooming, etc we feel more mentally clear and emotionally calm…we are being mindful….we are meditating…(caveat being that we stay present and mindful during the practice, ie. playing soccer and imagining the ball is your ex-girlfriends face every time you kick would not be an example of mindfulness).

Meditate more…be more mindful…or even better…recognize some of your daily practices and activities as mindful meditations and seek them out for practice when you need a clear mind and calm emotions….here are some additional tools for extra credit!

Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra are hosting a FREE 21-day Audio Meditation Seminar HERE…it’s a great way to explore mediation for beginners and a source of great free guided meditations for more advanced practices (there is a complimentary app).

Headspace is a great meditation app that starts with a FREE 10 Day Trial that starts with basic meditation practices.

Stop, Breathe & Think is another great meditation app that has a FREE TRIAL and a little bit of a different approach and more self analysis than Headspace…but I love the voice on Headspace!!!

AMOR FATI…don’t just accept it…LOVE IT!

AMOR FATI – defined most simply in Wikipedia as “Love of Fate” or “Love of One’s Fate”.

I came across this phrase recently and have now made it part of my morning mantras…ie. “Today will be great in all it’s success and failure…and I will love every moment…AMOR FATI”. The concept employs a philosophy of positive attitude and acceptance for all the twists and turns of life and kicks it up a notch…cranks it up to 11 (for that extra push over the cliff!)…to the point where not only do you accept the suffering and loss that is inevitable in life…YOU LOVE IT! This is a concept that dates back to Ancient Greek Philosophers and run valid through to more modern philosophers like Nietzsche…here are some other thoughts to ponder on this concept:

There is no good or bad in life…there is only life

We need the bad to have the good by comparison

There is no universal right nor universal best

Fall in love with the challenge of change

Nothing beautiful comes without some suffering…the suffering will help us appreciate the joy

In order to understand the reason behind fate we would have to unravel all of the history of time and future of existence…love is easier

Love the process, love the journey….LOVE THE FATE!

…as tomorrow some may not have the opportunity.

If You Don’t Have a Dream…THEN GO TO SLEEP!

I developed this saying as a mantra for myself over the years feeling privileged enough to know my dream while interacting with co-workers, friends and interns who often seemed lost in their direction.  Its easy to go to college for something and enter the real world and not know exactly how that college education translates in to a real job that pays real money…or having lost a job or lost your direction at any other time in your career…being a dreamer for me has been a blessing that has helped me accomplish some of my greatest moments…marrying my wife, sharing my proudest work with my mom and dad (a kick-ass fireworks show and festival)…and of course photographing Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam in front of the guard rail with a photo pass in Cincinnati!…but dreaming can be hard work and takes commitment…who would have thought!?!? Let me explain

IF YOU DON’T HAVE A DREAM…THEN GO TO SLEEP!  In so many words…what I mean here is…if you don’t know what you want in life on a very grand scale…as well as on a very specific scale (the more specific the better)…then that is the one most important thing to figure out and the one thing that you should spend as much time as possible on…ie. wake up…try to figure out your dream…eat…try to figure out your dream…handle any required life necessities and work to survive and be healthy…try to figure out your dream…eat…try to figure out your dream…and if you don’t have it yet…then go to sleep….and do it all again tomorrow!…and if you are lucky maybe it will even come to you in your sleep by way of a dream (smiley face emoji goes here)!

LETS UNPACK THAT…

List of things that typically WON’T help you figure out your dream: (as long as these somehow don’t relate to your potential dream…be honest with yourself)

  • Scrolling through social media
  • Watching TV
  • Reading/Watching/Listening to the News
  • Video Games
  • Sports and Entertainment
  • Gossip
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Negative Attitude

List of things that typically WILL help you figure out your dream:

  • Thinking BIG and LONG TERM and WORK YOUR WAY BACKWARDS….ie.  When you are in your adult life career between the ages of 40-80yrs old what does your life look like? What do you do every day? Profession/work are you excited to get up and go to every day? What does your family/friends/environment look like?….and what is the step before that…and before that…to get there….want to have a big family with many kids, that can be expensive so you will need a money making solution….do you want to enjoy that money making solution?
  • VOLUNTEER A LOT – if you enjoy doing it for free…than getting paid for it will be a bonus
  • Try different jobs, industries, locations while you can…. internships in college, travel to different states/countries, help a friend or family member at their office or for an odd job
  • Talk to people in industries and professions that you may be interested in…ask them what it takes…the pros and cons…how they got interested
  • Talk to people that you know and trust (friends/family/mentors) and ask them what they think you are good at and what they see you doing for a career
  • Have a POSITIVE ATTITUDE
  • Use the LAW OF ATTRACTION
  • READ A LOT on Self-Development, Business, and topics you are interested in (Check out MY BOOK LIST for suggestions)

In the grand scheme of things, the sooner you know what you are chasing, the sooner you can point all of your energy in that direction on a regular daily basis.  If you know that you want to be an Astronaut with a big family living on the beach somewhere…then you will notice the guy at the diner with a NASA patch on his jacket and may introduce yourself…or decide to start exploring different beach towns for your annual spring break vacations…and pay more attention/ask more questions about friends and relatives as they build and grow their families….

So check where you are now…it’s never too late to have a dream…and IF YOU DON’T HAVE A DREAM…THEN GO TO SLEEP!!!

Eddie Vedder with Pearl Jam, Cincinnati, October 2014 by Justin Tabas

The 5 C’s of Satisfied Employment…ARE YOU SATISFIED?

I have loved my job…hated my boss…hated my staff…loved the pay…loved my company…loved the work…and hated my job…all at the same time! I have searched for a new job when I had one…been laid off and needed one…been offered one when I didn’t…struggling with every part of satisfaction in my career every step of the way!
I decided to break it all down in to a more simplified formula that I could use to analyze my current situation (to see if I should even start looking for another situation)…or to use to compare to possible employment situations if/whenever I happen to come to that fork in the road….I call it “The 5 C’s of Satisfied Employment” (not trademarked). This formula helps narrow down satisfaction at work to 5 main factors of employment for easy comparison and analysis…details on each category and tips/applications for the formula are below.
The 5 C’s of Satisfied Employment:
  1. COMPANY – overall company and industry morals, ways of doing things, CEOs, CFOs and how they interact with the marketplace, competitors, red tape, outside forces and standards…the stuff you can rarely influence.
  2. CAPTAIN – the person you directly report to and how much you like or dislike working with that person, their management style, their work, and how much they impact your daily life…or don’t.
  3. CO-WORKERS – the people…the ones you work with on a daily basis, this includes clients, employees, superiors, contractors, freelancers, partners…basically anyone that you interact with that isn’t your boss.
  4. COMPENSATION – Pay + benefits, raises or commisions, earned experience, resume building, skills, trainings, certifications, credibility, “cool” factor, networking opportunities…also includes consideration of how much time you commit to earn that compensation and if there is any room for residual income…and if there is job security.
  5. CAREER – sometimes this is most important…what you do day in day out, what is your job/profession, are you passionate about this work…are you excited to go to work today and DO WORK?
HOW IT WORKS:
Option 1 “Do I need to look for a new Job?”: Mark your satisfaction in each category as “Satisfied” or “Unsatisfied”…add up your points = 3 out 5 ain’t half bad….IT’S ACTUALLY MORE THAN HALF GOOD!!!…Could you guarantee a better score at your next opportunity?…maybe worth looking?
Option 2 “Which job do I choose?”: Rank your satisfaction on a scale of 1-10 for each “C” element and add up the scores for an apples to apples comparison…what elements could you guarantee at each opportunity?
PRO TIPS:
  • Try to keep all categories ranked equal in importance and priority…we often underestimate how much a bad boss or bad coworker can impact our satisfaction at work…if you absolutely have to, scale the rankings.
  • If you are a 3 or 4 out of 5…focus on soaring with your strengths and really appreciate the 3 or 4 things that are working at work….even try to spend more time there and expand their impact! (minimize the impact of the elements you aren’t satisfied with secondarily)
  • It’s not perfect…just a guide…Like your earned 3 weeks of vacation? = (Compensation)…Like that the company gives everyone 3 weeks of vacation rookies and vets? = (maybe Compensation and Company)
  • For job opportunities, it’s difficult to analyze satisfaction with a “Captain” or “Co-Workers” you haven’t worked with before…do your best…maybe an average 5 ranking…ask deep questions in interviews to get as clear a picture before you decide.
  • City and Location can come in to play when making decisions about employment….if that is impacting your decision, put it in the “Company” category as the City/Location is where the Company is located.
  • Some things don’t apply but still fit the equation…ie. you don’t have co-workers…if you are satisfied with that then rank the “Co-Workers” element accordingly…you have multiple captains…are you satisfied with that? etc.
  • REMEMBER…3 OUT OF 5 AIN’T HALF BAD….IT’S ACTUALLY MORE THAN HALF GOOD!!!!

FIRST FOLLOWER is just as important as the LEADER!

In honor of my FIRST FOLLOWER…thank you Equipping… I wanted to share one of my favorite marketing and leadership videos of all time!!!  This video is pretty self explanatory (literally the audio explains) and makes me want to go dance like a wild man at the next music festival I go to.  It always reminds me of the importance of standing up, standing out, being ok with being vulnerable and leading…even if you are leading a bunch of people to follow someone else…aka the FIRST FOLLOWER…ENJOY!!!

Also thank you Derek Sivers for creating this video.

The Struggle is REAL…and THAT’S OK!

“The Struggle is REAL…and THAT’S OK!” is my latest mantra…it’s more than a mantra…it’s a new lifestyle of self compassion and acceptance recognizing that we all struggle and we all just want to be happy…and we can feel comfort in all of the human emotions that come along with these struggles on the path to happiness because everyone feels them…the priest to the prisoner…monk to the manic…bum to the billionaire…this is living, this is being human, this is the most natural thing in life…and how could that not be OK!?!?!

Guatama Buddha attained enlightenment through the 4 Noble Truths

  1. Suffering is a part of existence = “The Struggle is REAL”
  2. The origin of suffering is craving = “We all just want to be happy”
  3. That suffering can be ended = “…and that’s OK”
  4. Following the 8 Fold Path is the means to end the suffering = ***This was Buddha’s way to be OK with the struggle…find your own path or follow someone else’s…it’s all OK!!!

HERE ARE MY TOP 5 BIGGEST STRUGGLES…and how I am learning to be OK with them:

  • Vulnerability…recognize the feeling…lean in to the feeling…accept myself…it’s ok…and liberating
  • Failure…recognize the feeling…is this my ego telling me how I “should” feel…accept myself…it’s ok
  • Worthiness…recognize the feeling of “not enough”…not being enough or doing enough…know that just being born makes me worthy of life…be grateful for that…and that’s ok
  • Judgement…recognize when I feel judged or am judging others…ask why?…accept myself and others…everyone struggles…everything is ok
  • Perfection…recognize the need to be perfect…recognize the vulnerability, failure, worthiness, judgement and struggle it brings…and that’s ok

FURTHER READING:

  • Brene Brown – initially famous for her TED Talk on Shame, hours of research later she has a library of books on shame, vulnerability, worthiness, and belonging.
  • Pema Chodron – American Tibetan Buddhist, countless seminars and stories about integrating buddhist practices in to american society and struggles.
  • The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World – a book that chronicles a 2015 meeting between South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a series of moderated interviews about how to find joy in the face of life’s inevitable suffering.

Do you know HOW TO BREATHE?…I’m working on it.

MY JOURNEY in to discovering “Breathwork” began about 2 years ago at a Chiropractors office in Cincinnati…since then I have read multiple books and blogs, attended breathing sessions and seminars, and practiced all types of techniques…

THE RESULTS = I have lowered my stress levels, lowered my temper and reactive emotions, earned more patience, and am able to benefit from different tactics daily to control my physical and mental health…its worth it…and its easy…in the end its just breathing!

HERE’S MY STORY…I went to a Chiropractor for mid-low back pain, hip and leg pain…his analysis was that I had weak core strength and “intra-abdominal pressure” (optimal way to stabilize your torso for movements) as a result of and causing further bad posture habits…including the all too common bad desk posture at the office. His solution was to practice abdominal breathing (diaphragmatic breathing) for 10 minutes per day…starting simple, laying down, working towards other practices.

THE REVELATION…I didn’t know how to breath…it was such a challenge to breathe with my stomach…and even more of a challenge to commit only 10 measly minutes per day in my busy corporate job clogged and societally stuffed day…I did not have enough patience and discipline to sit and do nothing but practice breathing for 10 minutes…so I stopped seeing the Chiropractor and figured I needed to start at the basics…ENTER BREATHWORK!

BEGINNING BREATHWORK…this revelation led me to listen to my first audio book on breathwork on audible – Dan Brule’s Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love, Business and Beyond…now a staple on MY BOOK LIST…which was a great overview on breathwork with a bunch of different research and techniques to explore…there was a lot of mention of meditation and yoga which led to further exploration in to both of those practices as well…as Dan Brule once said in a seminar I attended “…Breathwork is Meditation…anytime you are focusing on your breath only essentially you are meditating…”…but to me breathwork is and can functionally be so much more…and I have just scratched the surface of learning, exploring and practicing this overlooked natural tool.

QUICK LEARNINGS

  • Breathing is the only human function that is both voluntary and autonomic (ie. you can decide when and how to breathe…and also you will breathe automatically if you don’t think about it)…thus if you control your breath you can in fact control your autonomic nervous system in many ways (ie. lower your heart rate, stress levels, encourage digestion, etc.)
  • Controlling your parasympathetic nervous system (ie. controlling your breath) allows you to impact your sympathetic nervous system (ie. your fight or flight response)…feeling ready to fight or flee…engage breathing techniques.
  • Most people are chest breathers and don’t know how to breathe diapragmatically
  • It’s challenging and can be embarrassing, humiliating, and shaming to realize, admit and accept that you don’t know how to properly breathe and/or control your breath…something so simple that we have done automatically since we were born…and that’s ok.
  • Like all things in life…nothing worth working for comes without work…training your mind and body is necessary

QUICK PRACTICES

  • Breath Watching – first step to overcome addiction (addicted to not breathing correctly) is to recognize the problem…spend time observing your breath throughout the day…even better take 5-10min sessions throughout the day to just breathe without trying to influence your breath.
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) – equalizing and calming…hold left nostril…inhale through the right…hold right nostril…exhale through left nostril…hold right…inhale through left nostril…exhale through right and repeat 5-10 cycles
  • Box Breathing – easy and steadying, heightens performance and concentration…inhale 4 counts, hold breath 4 counts, exhale 4 counts, hold out 4 counts
  • Full Body Yawn – its a stretch and a deep breath that opens up parts of your head and body with interesting pops and clicks and often makes you cry…a tear that actually has a different chemical composition than tears of sadness…and it feels great…and we all know how to force a yawn (remember that boring conversation last week you wanted to cue the speaker to stop)…cue your own yawns…regularly…its not rude, its healthy!
  • Sigh of Relief – technically this is taking 2x as large of inhale as your exhale..it helps us release anxiety and tension when we do it naturally…so try to do it on purpose, in real time, when you need it…do this multiple times in a row to release deeper build up.
  • PRO TIP – if you can Full Body Yawn in to a Sigh of Relief in a fluid cycle for 5-10 minutes this may look weird but it can release deep tension and stress and provide health and rejuvenation…this is Dan Brule’s latest and greatest breathwork practice.

FURTHER READINGS/PRACTICES

Just Breathe: Mastering Breathwork for Success in Life, Love, Business, and Beyond by Dan Brule

GET THIS BOOK!

Do you have a DIGITAL PERSONAL ASSISTANT?…I have a few!

Technology can rule our worlds or we can rule it and use it to our benefit…I have been using some of the latest apps and technological advances to help improve my business and personal life…it’s so easy I feel bad for the cavemen….and my parents! (NOTE: I have tried to introduce friends and family to some of these and…we’ll just like me…I already know everything so don’t try to teach me anything…I guess this blog can be a passive introduction for whomever cares…your choice).

TIPS AND TOOLS FROM MY EXPERIENCE…and their functional uses:

  1. EVERNOTE APP – Evernote is a free mobile app that is designed for note taking, organizing and task lists.  Its easy to use, available online at a computer but also readily accessible while on the go on your mobile phone and saves all of your information on the cloud so you can access it from anywhere anytime. You can save photos, links, link between notes and set reminders on specific notes.  Here are some specific notes that I use on a regular basis…and some on a less frequent basis…I have a total of 50+ different notes!
    • Morning Routine Checklist – checkbox feature allows you to check off items as you complete them and then clear the recurring check boxes for the next day
    • Daily Priority Task List – checkbox feature used here as well…provides a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day
    • Monthly Bills Paid – this one is good for quickly referencing which bills have already been deducted from your debt account in a given month to know how much more money you can spend before overdrafting (I state the amount of the bill, the date it typically draws, and the bank account ie. Car Insurance (Geico) – 13th PNC $75)
    • Gratitude List – I’m working on practicing gratitude daily by writing down a few things i’m grateful for at the beginning or end of the day…having a running list is also great to review anytime you’re feeling down as it can give you a quick attitude boost and remind you of all the things you are grateful for.
    • Morning and Evening Prayers – I have written my own prayers and this is where I read them until I memorize them
    • Date Night Ideas – I read an article, see a cool place to go, or have an idea as to where I want to take my wife for a night out…but we don’t have time this week…i’m forming a list for future adventures!
    • Chicago/Cincinnati/Philadelphia Food Lists – maybe my favorite use…I use check boxes here as well…restaurants are categorized by neighborhoods and checked off once i’ve experienced each one…if it’s a place I want to go back to i’ll check and * it…otherwise its great for when i’m hungry and in a new neighborhood…check the list and go somewhere i’ve always wanted to check out! (NOTE: I compliment this list with saved stars on my google map so I can also check my map and see if any stars are close)
    • Gift List – I see something I want…or something that’s a good gift for a friend or family member…but it’s not the holidays or birthday time…add it to the list
    • Festival/Camping/Travel Checklists – these are actually different notes but similar concept, a checklist of all the items I need to pack and all the prep I need to do prior to departure and when I return….takes a usually stressful situation and removes some thinking.
    • Important #s – this is a list of miscellaneous important numbers…everything from the lock code to my storage unit, Vehicle License Plate and VIN #, to my dress shirt and pants size…you never know when you are going to need one of these random numbers…now you have it on you at all times.
    • Business Ideas – this is where I stash my latest and wildest creative beasts!
    • Addresses – of course you can do this on your phone contact list, but lets be honest, there are only a handful of people you ever actually mail things to…quick and easy…go to your addresses note while you are in line at the post office.
    • Media List – this is a list of books, authors, movies, website links, and other forms of media that I want to consume in the future…finish a book…I know where to find my next read.
    • Recipes/Menu Ideas – chef and hosts welcome
    • Chicago/Cincinnati/Philadelphia TO DO & Visitor Guides – Checklist of activities you want to explore in your city…if you enjoy it and would suggest it to a friend or family member or think it would be a good adventure for when the in-laws are in town…then move it to the Visitor Guide.
    • Vacation Ideas – don’t overthink your next vacation…go to your list and pick the one you’ve been wanting for years…now you’ll never forget regardless of how long it takes to get away
    • Comedy/Poetry/Lyrics/Sayings – anything you think of and need to write down…whether you are an artist, comedian, philosopher, or wordsmith!
    • Prospecting List – this is great for people in the sales industry
    • Work/Co-Worker/Boss/Relationship Issues – sometimes its good to track interactions and dates…other times its good to just get things off of your chest so you don’t explode.
    • Speech/Project Notes – working on something…need to take a note while at dinner during a bathroom break…do it!
    • ….and a whole slew of other things that will help you empty your mind but not forget…and you don’t have to carry around a moleskin, pen, and/or 3 ring binder!
  2. GOOGLE MAPS – I star and/or label everything (restaurants, friends houses, museums, points of interest)…it makes it easier to find later and in google it will automatically pop up when I start typing “Dad’s Hou..” . The key with this one is taking the time to star and label when you are there and when you think of it…take an extra second now to save a bunch of time later.
  3. BUSINESS CALENDAR APP – There are tons of apps for this but I like this one because it can merge all of your different calendars and has a widget that can be 4×4 on your phone and show you a quick glance of your calendar agenda for the next few days that is scroll-able, clickable, and completely customizable.  I have tested out using the calendar function for daily reminders…like scheduling a “Relax…your almost done” recurring event for Monday-Friday at 2pm when I usually start loosing steam….or a “SMILE” recurring event for 7am so the first thing I see when I wake up is a reminder to smile and that can get my day started off on the right foot
  4. AUDIBLE APP – Listening to audiobooks while on the train or treadmill….i’ve read (listened to) more books in the past 2 years than I have in the prior 30 years…See my other blog on how I consume content with Audible CLICK HERE
  5. GOOGLE HOME – blog forthcoming on this….stay tuned!

Technology is our friend…i’m sure i’m missing some of the additional apps and technological advances I use daily that have just become such a part of my life….do you have any that I might be missing???