Monday, 19 November 2012

How to optimize all you can eat buffets

Here's a tip I picked up early in life. When it comes to all you can eat buffets, it stands to reason that the more you eat, the more value you've obtained. The further your dollar has gone and the more worthit it's been. As a kid I always had a big appetite so buffets were never a problem for me.

However, I've since learnt that the usual strategy that most people adopt is hardly the most efficient one. Usually people will just line up, put whatever looks good on their plate, in amounts that are almost regular amounts for that dish. If it's pasta, they'll need at least a scoopful. If it's fried chicken, they might have 2. Alas, approaching it this way usually ends up with the plate being full before they've viewed all the dishes available. Another thing that usually happens is that they realize that not all the dishes they took were as good as they hoped.

During the first round, people are usually hungry enough to finish food they find okay. There's also the unspoken need to at least make a decent attempt of finishing your plate. So then by the time they consider round 2, they're already getting full and that usually marks the end of their adventure. A fair dose of regret accompanies that approach.

What I recommend is to first of all, get a full view of exactly how many dishes are on offer. If the variety is truly staggering, it may be a fair call to sample the food in halves. Next, you should aim to try everything. In order to do this, you need to take miniscule amounts. Even when it comes to foods you know you love, avoid temptation and take just enough so you can taste it. There’s every chance the cooks at the buffet don’t make your favourite dish well at all. Ideally you want to end up with tiny morsels all over your plate. This lets you sample everything and know exactly what you like without wasting food you didn’t like.

Now for round 2, pick your favourites. One word of advice here is to try and fill no more than half your plate. This gives you the best chance of finishing round 2 with room for round 3. This approach can easily take you into 3 or 4 rounds. By anyone’s standards, having tried everything once, and having 3, 4 or more rounds, will leave the patron feeling very satisfied with a much lower chance of regret. It’s been my methodology ever since I discovered it and I’m always happy I use it.

Friday, 2 November 2012

How to avoid lockouts

You may have been in a similar situation before. You've got one set of keys to either your car or house and by some accident, you've left them inside or perhaps just lost them. Stuck outside your home, you then start to think of ways and means to get into the house.

"What if I just climbed over the fence?", "Did I leave the back door open?", "Are there any windows open that I might climb into?".... the list of questions goes on. This is the point of regret. The point where you usually wish you had come up with some backup plan in case you ended up in this situation. It usually feels even worse if you'd thought about coming up with a plan but ended up procrastinating until it was too late.

So the moral of the story here is to expect that one day, sooner or later, this could happen and make a plan to deal with it now. For example you could get a copy of your key and hide it in a hard to reach spot. This keeps the spare key safe and if you've ever wished you'd hidden a key somewhere, you'll know exactly what I mean when I say "you'd be willing to jump through a few hoops" to get that key.

You'd be willing to climb your fence if you could, you'd be willing to dig beneath the soil if it would help, you'd be willing to lay on the floor and reach underneath something that's hard to get to. In fact you might actually be thankful to be able to solve the problem so "easily" when the situation occurs.

Worse instances include being out in your PJs or even underwear and be the victim of a cruel breeze that decided to shut your door. Add the fact that you have no phone, it may be night time, and throw in the fact that it could be winter,.. and you'd be in serious trouble.

So just imagine you've lost your key and get creative. I'm sure you'll find a spot that works best and you'll be glad you took the time to do so.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

How to get people to read your emails

Here's a simple tip that's proven to be very effective for some reason. Whatever your reason or purpose, there are times when you want to type up an email and really hope it gets read. Usually when applying for a job, submitting a demo, or sending an email to a place where you know they get LOTS of email. You'll want to do as much as you can to make your email stand out.

One of the clearest ways to do this is to ensure that your email's subject stands out. I actually picked this one up from my spam mail. I'm one of those people who regularly scans and clears his spam since sometimes you get mail intended for you that accidentally ends up there.

The simple trick is to put your subject line as follows:

"RE: The dog that barks near my window"


"RE: Admin Assistant position"

Whatever the topic is, add RE: before it.

Usually this makes people sit up and notice because they assume that you're someone who's REPLYING to them. Reason being when you don't bother adjusting the subject in a reply, that's what automatically happens. This puts you way above the pile in terms of importance.

It's actually a little bit subconscious but hey, you want every bit of attention you can get if you want to ensure your email gets read. As a means of covering your bum, so to speak, if you worry that this is cheating as it's not really a reply here's an idea.

In formal letters, people are meant to write " RE: " just before the letter starts.

It actually means "regarding". So it's completely legitimate. We're just taking advantage of the fact
that most people seem to feel that RE means reply due to how it automatically seems to get put there by most mail providers when you reply. Also, RE seems a fitting abbreviation for REPLY.

Hope this works well for you

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The joys of being lazy

Few things in life can compare to the joys of being lazy. When I say being lazy, I’m not even coming close to talking about the guilt that most people associate laziness with. You often hear phrases like, “oh I’m being lazy I know, I really shouldn’t” or some other similar variety. Nope, today I’m talking about proud laziness. Like the lyrics of the lazy song by Bruno mars. 

When you truly allow yourself to revel in laziness, whether or not you realize it, what you’re really basking in is freedom. From the life you’re used to where there’s always things that need to be done, most of them with some sort of deadline, being lazy is a luxury that yells freedom. The freedom to choose to do nothing. To choose to recharge, relax, rest. Once you’ve had enough of a rest, there’s the freedom to do something simple and fun. Something you enjoy. Something that doesn’t have the pressure of needing to be done perfectly or be productive.

For most people, just taking a minute or two to imagine what it would be like to be lazy can put them in a state of bliss. Unless of course they’ve been thoroughly brainwashed that it’s a cardinal sin to want to be lazy; there’s no relating to those people without some form of intense therapy first.

For most folks, throwing in the concept of a “holiday” or a “beach” helps to throw away residual guilt about truly enjoying the experience of lazing around and thoroughly enjoying it. This simple demonstration shows how bad the social stigma is against lazy people and also probably why so few people actually admit that they would love to be lazy if they had things their way.

So after basking in the joys of laziness, be them imagined or experienced, the next question that comes to my mind is: how do we get to do more of it? Every day if possible?

The answer to that’s simple but not necessarily easy, depending on where you are in life. But in plain English: you need to find a way to replace your income with a passive one. That will let you do anything you like, even if it’s just vegging out as if it were a Saturday afternoon.  Being efficient about how you earn your money is a good place to start. However I think it’s important not to let the fact that you don’t know exactly how you’re going to do something, come in the way of you actually trying to do it. We’ve all heard the saying: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Why you need to plan for early retirement

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Beuller’s day off.

Whether it’s the way society is, what everyone else is doing or just the way things are, people have forgotten that there is something inherently wrong with the concept of going to work most days a week, for most of the day, practically all year round. There’s a reason children’s school hours are less than work hours. Children simply wouldn’t have it. Yet the grand plan has been to slowly accustom these children to be more and more submissive until they just give up and accept the drudgery of the rat race.

Even worse, although you may find yourself battling the alarm clock in the land of snooze, cursing the traffic you get stuck in, and otherwise having a “ball of a time” at work, most people do something else that’s completely unproductive. They get sold on the concept that they’re making however many thousand dollars a year they are making. By that I mean if they know that they earn say $50,000 a year, they feel entitled to the lifestyle someone who earns that kind of money deserves.

So they take car loans on nice cars, move to better apartments and so on, all the while operating on the flawed premise that most only seem to realize in the mornings, and on Sunday nights when their “weekend” is over.

The basis is that this income is permanently theirs. Truth is, it's not. It's only theirs as long as they are willing, or able to do the manual labor required every day. Even desk jobs can feel like slave work due to the neverending task lists and rules regarding what you can or cannot do, along with how long you're supposed to be doing something each day.The day they stop, their income stops, and they're in a whole heap of trouble with bills and basic living expenses that need to be met.

Needing to work full time is much like an addiction. It’s really not possible to stop straightaway. My hope is that people do not forget that life is meant to be lived. Sleep should be allowed until you feel you are done. All the hopes and dreams that we had as children should not be abandoned. Travelling to exotic locations, casual trips to the beach, hobbies, activities should make up the bulk of our lives.

It begins with accepting that a full time job usually isn’t the way to go. Even the most fulfilling job in the world becomes a chore when one is expected to do it day in day out for several hours each day. Now there are many ways to plan your exit from the rat race. The best ways would probably involve starting a project that’s small and allocating some time to it each week. Ideally you want to establish a passive income that lets you do what you like, without having to slog it out day in day out. However the main point is that people need to realize that if they don’t try and come up with an alternative, they’re going to end up like everyone else. The way everyone else usually ends up is reaching age 60, and discovering they may or may not have enough money to retire on.

When you’re 60, it’s safe to say you’re not young anymore. When looking back on such a life, I would find it hard to justify the waste of it. So it doesn’t matter if you don’t know exactly how to get going, the point is you should intend to. When we start to look for something, that’s when we’re likely to find it.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

How to avoid having to collect your mail

Here’s a quick tip based on my personal experiences with regards to ordering stuff from the internet. In case you’ve never done that before, I’d suggest looking into that as you can usually get things for much cheaper than if you got them from stores.

Anyway, one of the problems I’ve always had was the fact that I’d never be around when the delivery guy came around. As a result, I’d always end up with that little slip that told me to go to the Post office at such and such a time to collect my parcel. It also doesn’t help that Post offices never seem to be open when you’d like them to be open.

So what happens is a product that I’ve ordered off the internet, which might have been something I’d been really looking forward to getting, gets delayed by an unnecessary day. It can get worse if there’s a weekend in between the business days. It’s times like those that made me think, IF ONLY, they just left it at my front door.

As it turns, just about any internet delivery has the option where you can write comments about the delivery. That’s the place where you can write “please leave at front door” or “please throw over fence”. For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume we’re talking about the “leave at front door” option.

The biggest reason people don’t choose that is because they worry that someone will come along and steal their stuff. Now although that IS possible, and if it’s something you wouldn’t be able to bear losing (as in your world would come crumbling down), then that’s valid.

However, most of the time, NOBODY CARES enough to wait for a parcel at someone else’s front door and steal it, WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING what’s in it, let alone if it’s valuable. On top of that, there’s the risk that they may be spotted doing it (this is actually much more imagined than likely, but if a would be thief gets nervous about it, that’s only a good thing for us). Also, people themselves hate the idea of losing their mail to thieves and that makes it more likely they wouldn't want to act in a hypocritical manner.

So when you really sit to think about it, and try and assign percentages to how safe it is, and how likely it is that someone will run away with your goods, a reasonable person would probably see that the chances of that happening are very very low.
I’ve done it lots of times, in lots of houses and it’s never been a problem. The only problem I DO face is that sometimes they don’t listen to that instruction and end up giving me that Postal Slip.

So that’s just one way to get the stuff you ordered into your hands quicker, with less hassle.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Why you should have exercise options

By options, I don’t just mean contingencies such as “if it’s raining outside I could do zumba at home instead of going for a run”. Naturally that’s a clever idea and I support having Plan B’s since life usually never lets you have your way entirely with Plan A.

No, the options I’m talking about are with regards to the variables: frequency, duration and intensity. For simplicity’s sake, today’s post will assume that ANY exercise counts as exercise. Whichever you like, whichever you think is effective, whichever type or program you want to do. Let’s just call it EXERCISE. Its purpose may be to build strength, tone up, de-stress, power-up your household generator, amuse your cat,... whatever it is. That’s not the relevant point here.

When I say options, I mean having different ways you can do your chosen style of EXERCISE. For example:

1)      Exercise for half an hour every day except Sunday
2)      Exercise for 1 hour, 3 times a week
3)      Exercise for 1.5 hours 3 times in 2 weeks
4)      Exercise for 20 minutes at higher intensity, 4 times week.
5)      Exercise at low intensity for 1.5 hours, 6 days a week

You get the idea.

This is what I recommend people do. Come up with your ideal plan or style of exercise and then get as creative as you can regarding how many different ways you can modify the plan by varying these 3 variables: FREQUENCY, INTENSITY and DURATION.

The reason I suggest this is because this simple exercise (pun intended) of PLANNING out the options and possible ways you could exercise will quickly make you realize the following:

1)      There are easier ways to do it,... ways that might feel like barely a burden on your current lifestyle
2)      There are harder ways to do it,... ways that will seriously test you but probably get you more results
3)      There are some ways that are more efficient, saving you time as well as providing results

And so you can then mix and match these options to come up with the best plan for you. Ideally, it would be one that you could see yourself doing long term as exercise routines only really benefit people who can keep them up. At the same time, if you feel you’re willing to put in a few more yards for a bit more reward, you can adjust it accordingly. Perhaps you're the type who prefers to have more off days, so you wouldn't mind working more on the days you do workout. Alternatively you might be the type who would like a regular schedule so it can become more of a habit for you. By coming up with options for your exercise plans, you get to discover this for yourself.

 I would recommend coming up with at least 4 ways to vary your plans. This would give you the best chance of finding what the most EFFICIENT way to use exercise to reach your goals is, for YOU. And in my opinion, that is no bad thing.