Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

5 Second Rule

I just started Mel Robbin’s book 5 Second Rule and I am enjoying it. It teaches the impossibly simple, but weirdly effective 5 Second Rule, where you count backwards from 5 whenever you want to begin doing something you don’t have the motivation to do. The most common example being to get out of bed when the alarm rings and not hit the snooze button.

When I tell other people about this, it seems like, how can that be an entire book? It’s true – I feel like it might have a bit of fluff. It might have sufficed as a really solid article. But, it might not carry as much weight as an article. People may tend to shrug it off if it had just been 1000 words on a blog somewhere.  Read On…

13 Personal Rules

One of the most valuable tips I’ve gotten from Craig Ballantyne (among many) is to create your set of personal rules.  It’s freeing to make some decisions for yourself ahead of time, decide what you will and won’t do, so that you can use your brainpower on more important things.

Craig’s rules govern a lot about how he goes about his day and how he creates content. Those rules work for him. I followed his example and wrote my own rules. I think mine are bit more generic, save a few, but they resonate with me and make me happy.

Here are my 13 personal rules: Read On…

The Power of Stories

I was reminded of how powerful a story can be when trying to send a message yesterday during a conference. We had a breakout educational session  during the conference that focused on storytelling and it’s power for convincing someone of something.

We got a chance to practice this, by formulating a message with three supporting points and a story to highlight your personal experience of this.

I didn’t get a chance to use mine, but my message was to try Toastmasters. My story was going to be the time that I went to a U-M interview for a job I thought I was a shoo-in for and didn’t prepare. I froze during a question and never quite recovered from it. It sunk the whole interview and I didn’t get the job.

I joined Toastmaster shortly thereafter and improved on my speaking skills to be able to think quickly on my feet.

I improved my skills and got the same job a few years later with a stellar interview.

This just reemphasized the importance for me to always include a short story to get an important point across, in all interactions.


Instacart Express is finally available in Ann Arbor. It’s amazing. I made a grocery list on my computer and then picked a time and then the groceries just magically appeared at my door.

What’s great is you get notifications about changes or substitutions based on what is there in the store. You can make a custom order for things that aren’t listed but you know are there, or bulk food items. You can even add items via chat while they are shopping. Read On…

Fitbit Challenges

On a semi-regular basis, I get invited to Fitbit challenges and I think they are stressful, but effective.

I have a natural desire to win them, so I incorporate walking in ways I wouldn’t normally – that’s a win, right? Maybe.

My walking does go up but I find myself thinking about it and whether or not someone is catching up with me. That doesn’t feel healthy. Maybe it’s just the way I perceive it, but maybe others feel the same way.  Read On…


My son, who is 2, has discovered that he likes having control, like toddlers are wont to do. Once we get in bed, he frequently asks for water, snacks, a rinse of his pacifier or a complete pajama wardrobe change.

When we’re brushing our teeth, he takes over the brushing. If we’re flossing, he insists that he be the one to cut the floss, even if that results in using 3 yards of floss at once.

Getting him to do things takes on a whole new layer of complexity, especially when you want him to do things that aren’t on his regular schedule or have a time constraint.

Want to go to Target? You need to get dressed and out the door and into a car and all of those steps need to be his idea. If not, you can force it, but then you have a crying kid that is incredibly hard to manage from then on. Read On…

Daily Learnings

I read books and articles often and I fear that the best quotes and clips from them just slip right through my fingers. I want to also start doing book reviews, but that’s another topic. I needed a place to collect quotes, tips and anything else that was distilled down to 1 or 2 lines.

I set up a Google Form that asks,

What did you learn or would like to remember?

I set up this form to be a bookmark on my Chrome browser bookmarks bar, so it’s always available. I also made it a widget shortcut on my phone’s home screen, so I can grab it from there too. The key here is to make it very, very easy to record things, otherwise I won’t do it.

I started doing this on January 3 and I’ve collected 46 things. Here they are: Read On…

Thought Experiments

Deciding on where to live or what job to take can be helped along with thought experiments. Some examples:

If you lived in your current house, in the neighborhood you’re considering moving to, would you still want to move?

If you lived nearer to something, can you imagine using it more often? Is it worth moving closer to?

If you lived in your dream house, in a city you don’t particularly love, would you still want to move?

If you take this new job, imagine yourself on the commute, doing the work and imagine what you’re going to love and hate about it. Is it worth switching?

These thought experiments help to tease out the real motivations and desires you have that you have trouble expressing.

Ten Deep Breaths

In addition to meditating daily, I’ve been trying to add ten deep breaths to my day. Anytime I remember, I take another couple deep breaths and add them to my count. It seems to have a good effect on my mood and feeling of well-being.

Instant Pot

For Christmas, I wanted an instant pot. It’s a pressure cooker with a brain. I ordered one on black Friday when it was on super sale. I finally tried it out yesterday on split pea soup. I was skeptical it would break everything down in a mere 15 minutes of pressure, but it did!

I was amazed. The soup prep didn’t need to happen until one hour before eating, as opposed to sometime in the morning. 

I bought the supplies to make sushi rolls. I’m excited. I think the rice cooking function is going to be one of my favorite features. I bought a huge bag of rice. It’s so cheap web you buy a lot and is so filling.

There are tons of recipes on YouTube – is a great place to start. You can follow along with people as they cook.