Lately, I have spent time paying attention to the personal productivity concept. You know the things I am talking about. Those small changes to what you do on a daily basis or a technique that can save you anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes.
A personal eye opening example of a Productivity Hack is when you're filling your dishwasher at home, put all of the forks in the same cutlery compartment, so when it comes time to empty the dishwasher, you can simply grab them all in one go. You won’t have to spend time sorting the knives from the forks.
Now, these sorts of small tweaks to your day can play a role in getting more done in the same amount of times.
But in my opinion, the biggest productivity wins come from something else entirely: having the right productivity mindset.
For example, I hear from students that they would love to change how they are eating BUT they have this and that as a challenge in front of them.
Essentially what they are saying is: “That is great for you, but it is impossible for me.”
And that might just be the case, BUT what if it wasn’t the case? What if you could do such and such and succeed?
Having a mind frame that allows for the possibility will also allow for challenges to not become impassable obstacles but just a hurdle to overcome.
I recently read an article that was expressing this thought when it came to planning for retirement. They had developed a catch phrase: Dwell on Do, not Done.
Truth be told, I can get caught up in the fact that life is busy and stressful and doesn’t seem to run perfectly smooth for very long if much at all. I get impatient. I want to be DONE.
You see, I take my work very seriously, so does Dean, my husband. Working alongside of Dean we can dive into a problem, and honestly assess what was going wrong.
Usually we discover the core issue isn’t a problem that a "productivity hack" could solve.
Instead, what was required was a change in mindset for how the challenge was perceived.
If we had to be at 'done' on day one, it would require a whole lot of fixing.
The breakthrough comes when you view it in an entirely new way. When you take a problem and break it done into do-able pieces. And then Dwelling on the Do.
How can this help you?
If your problem is that you want to lose 50 pounds, dwell on what it would take to lose one pound. Then DO that until it doesn’t work anymore.
If your challenge is drinking enough water to stay properly hydrated, dwell on drinking more water than you currently are even if that is just 4 ounces more. Then DO that until you reach your goal.
If your challenge is to eat foods that will support your physical needs, dwell on knowing what those foods are and do what it takes to eat those foods.
Dwell on Do is the power of small, targeted productivity changes.
Now, of course, finding the right practices, habits, and routines that will work best for you is a personal journey, but it helps to have good teachers and guides along the way.
That is where I come in. I’ve helped hundreds of people find that next step. The one thing that will make productivity increase in their health and fitness.
I won’t toot my own horn more than just to say that I’ve been where you are, I’ve found a way out and I can help you like I’ve helped others.
If you're looking to find the right practices, habits and routines that will work for you, The Grateful Plate is the best place to start.
I'm here for you.
To your best health,
This hummus has a great smoky flavor and is sure to be a favorite. Try this as a dip for cucumbers and carrots or as a spread for your favorite burger this summer.
Smoky Cauliflower Hummus
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put cauliflower florets in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon oil, the paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, the cumin, chili flakes, and garlic. Toss to coat thoroughly.
Spread florets evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 18 to 20 minutes, stirring once, until florets are cooked through and a little crispy. Let cool.
Put ½ cup water in a blender with roasted cauliflower and garlic, lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the tahini, and remaining 1½ teaspoons salt. Blend, adding more water if needed and scraping sides often, until you have a creamy purée, about 4 minutes. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like.
Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of smoked paprika. Make up to 3 days ahead and chill in an airtight container.
"Don't wish it was easier, wish you were better."
– Jim Rohn
Think about that for a moment.
The truth is that change is challenging. Often as I work my way through a new recipe or change my timing of meals or even just try to drink more water. I wish it would just be over. I want to be out of the changing part of the situation and be to where it is already done. I don’t like change, it’s hard.
In reality I know that the process of change is actually a curriculum to becoming a better version of myself.
The question is, how are we facing that curriculum?
Are we leaning into it? Am I looking at change and saying bring it on with all of the challenges of doing and being different?
Or am I complaining, wishing that it was easier?
I do both of these. Don’t you? Of course, but the more we shift our perspective from the latter to the former, the better we will be.
Where can you make that shift? I’ve found two areas have helped me the most. Using these two tools have changed my eating so that being healthier is easier for me to tackle.
Take one step at a time and give yourself a little grace if it doesn’t go as you expect the first time out.
To your best health,
Did you know that I am not normal? And maybe you aren’t either!
And I mean that in a good way.
I’m not normal in the sense that I want to be the best version of the healthiest me I can be. I am constantly looking for ways to challenge myself to become better.
Sadly, that's not normal.
Most people just coast through life not wanting to put in the time or effort to be the best.
Unfortunately, most people coast through life accepting their health as unchangeable. They do what is typical in our society - eat too much, sit too long, go for the easy way out.
I enjoy physical activity! I prep food every week. I care what goes into my body. And I'm guessing but I probably eat more than the average person when it comes to vegetables.
I don't have any hard data on this, but just by talking with hundreds of people, I would guess the average person consumes less than two servings of vegetables per day.
And most of those are the same ones, over and over again.
A lot of people just don't know what or how to cook certain foods.
My biggest challenge doing this over the computer is that while I can tell you all about a certain vegetable, I can show you what it looks like, I can even tell you what is great about a certain veggie... until I can get you to experience it, it’s just to ‘weird’ to even think about.
I’m going to introduce you to jicama today. Just to say it seems a bit odd, but think of the first letter as being an “H”. It looks a bit like an odd shaped potato. In fact you would peel it like a potato and the inside reminds me of a white potato. BUT the similarities stop there. It tastes different, in fact ,you can eat it raw or cooked.
Jashbrowns are a favorite way to cook jicama for rockstar Jennifer.
I peel the jicama, which is a root vegetable, and then slice it into thin French fry shapes. I add these to a taco salad so that I have crunch without a taco shell. My kids love it this way too.
Check out this recipe highlighting jicama paired with cucumbers as a side dish.
Jicama Cucumber Salad with Chili Dressing
Puree vinegar, oil, onion, chili powder and salt in a blender until smooth. Toss jicama and cucumber with the dressing in a large bowl; stir in mint. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle the salad with more chili powder before serving, if desired.
A simple concept - eat five servings of vegetables every day. I’m hoping I’ve given you enough education so that jicama doesn’t feel so weird when thinking of vegetables. By adding jicama to your grocery list, you can up your vegetable count.
To your best health,
Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you. Medical professionals are always shouting out the goodness of adding more and more vegetables to your nutrition plan. These lists are your reasons for eating more vegetables. I gave you some ideas but don’t copy my list, create your own.
Each list has a purpose. Each list is real and true.
On one list, identify the grievances, the fears, and challenges with adding more vegetables to your day.
It's all legitimate, it's all real. Don't hold back.
On the other list, write down the benefits, advantages and opportunities you have when more vegetables are on your plate each day.
Now, take one list and put it in a drawer. Take the other list and tape it up on your refrigerator. Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it's safe and sound. Read the other list every day.
The daily list will determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see and the story you tell yourself about what's happening and what will happen.
You get to pick which list goes where.
Picking your list is possibly the most important thing you'll do all day.
To your best health,
Too many of us rush here and there. The western diet of fast food, pour from a can or out of a box, heat and serve, grab and go is slowly killing us. Let’s slow ourselves down and eat to regain our health.
Slow yourself down. It does YOUR body good.
To your best health,
For my Dad’s entire career, he brought the same lunch to work with him. In fact, I watched him each night make his lunch to take with him in the morning. One of the easiest ways to plan a meal is to keep that meal the same each day.
My Dad figured this out and it became a normal routine. Laurie from 6pm has found a similar pattern with her breakfast meal. She can plan her meal, shop for her food, and prep it with ease because she has done it so many times. What can you do to make one of your meals easier? It might not be the entire meal on repeat every time, but what about always planning on a salad at dinner? Would that make your meal time easier?
Laurie’s Keep It Simple Breakfast
Mix everything in a bowl to combine. It’s that simple.
Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping airplanes off-course 90 percent of flight time, most flights arrive in the correct destination at the intended time. The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple — through air traffic control and the inertial guidance system, pilots are constantly course-correcting. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. When these course corrections don’t regularly happen, catastrophe can result. Small things — if not corrected — become big things, always.
5 Things You Shouldn’t Go Without Doing On a Regular Basis
1. Plan your meals. Planning your meals each week frees up your brain power for other things. After you create your plan you won’t have to rely on your brain every meal to think about what you are going to have. Your stress levels will be reduced greatly because you will have one less thing to worry about during the week. If you take a few minutes to think about the week ahead, you will be able to develop a plan to overcome any barriers that might come up. Then when the stress hits, you already have a plan on how to handle it.
Most people like to plan on Sundays, but do what works for you. Some like to plan 3 days at a time, some like to plan the entire week. Some plan at night for the next day. The strategy isn't important, taking action is. Try a strategy and see how it works. Pay attention, analyze, and decide if you should continue with that same strategy or try a new one for better success. Everything is better with a clear plan.
2. Shop from your plan. Shopping can feel complicated, or like a pain in the butt — if you don’t have a clear system and structure. It doesn’t have to be like that. With a shopping list full of foods that you like and will eat, you can hit the grocery store, get in and out quickly, and leave knowing you’ve bought all the things you need to make your meal plan happen.
3. Take time for meal prep. As you go along, you’ll learn more about what works for you, and how to make healthy eating part of your regular routine. You’ll practice planning, preparation and having strategies for when you’re busy, traveling, and/or eating at restaurants — or for anything else that life throws at you. This will help you feel confident and in control of your choices, and help you stay on the path towards the goals you want to achieve. Over time, you’ll build a “meal prep ritual” of your own: something you like, find easy, and can do reliably.
4. Eat slowly. Eating slowly takes practice every day. Lucky for you, since you eat multiple times per day, you'll get lots of practice! If you find yourself rushing mid-meal, set your fork down, take a deep breath, and start fresh and slow.
5. Listen to your body. When the clock tells you it is time for a meal ask yourself: Are you physically hungry? Pause and check in. Look for signals like a rumbling stomach, lightheadedness, irritability, etc. If you had a scale from 1-10, you’d want to be a 7 out of 10 on the hunger scale. During your meal, keep on listening to those signals. Pause after you eat your normal amount of food. Before you eat more, give your brain time to catch up. You want to feel satisfied, not stuffed. You’ll know you ate just enough when an hour after eating you are still physically satisfied with no desire to eat another meal.
5 things that sound so easy to do, but just like an airplane you can easily get off course. These steps will keep giving you’re that course correction to get you back on track.
To your best health,
I want to change the world. I know it can be done. Americans are getting fatter and less healthy all the time. New Hampshire isn't leading the way to break the childhood obesity epidemic. I see those around me in poor health.
I know this trend can change. I’ve seen it happen in people around me. I’m not content to change the world slowly. I need your help.
Here are 5 ways you can help me change the world.
1. Eat more vegetables daily and share your veggies with others. Vegetables contain a boatload of vitamins and minerals. They fill you up and satisfy you. Veggies are high in fiber. Another big bonus is that they are lower in calories than other foods we tend to eat.
2. Drink lots of water. Hydrate your system to keep all your tiny cells working well while helping to keep your body working optimally clean.
3. Have protein at each meal. While the saying milk does a body good, I think it should be changed to protein does a body good. It’s the building blocks your body uses.
4. Enjoy healthy fats. Fats are not evil as once thought. In fact your body works best with a portion of healthy fats at each meal. Olives, avocados, nuts, and seeds are some ways to get them at each meal.
5. Learn to cook. More and more people are stopping at fast food joints on the way home from work to help them feed their families. While they are feeding them food, they are missing the opportunity to teach their children how foods are cooked. Our society cooks less now then 30 years ago and we cook so much less than our grandmothers.
These few things will make an impact. Pick one or two to work on. Once those become a easier part of your day add in another step. You might find that by starting to work on one area, another area picks up the pace.
Help me change the world, one step at a time.
To your best health (and the health of those around you),
Rock stars Deb and Adam have been talking up a new salad they created for months. They practically handed me all the ingredients one day so I could make this salad. It was delicious just as they said. Why, oh why, did it take me so long? I am grateful I made it before the summer was over. This is going to be hit for picnics.
D.A. Summer Salad
Mix, chill, and serve. Yep, it's that easy.
If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's, this will take a bit longer. You can also be creative as this recipe will work wonderfully with coleslaw mix, riced broccoli, or any blend of greens. You'll need about 6 cups of greens.
Creamy Italian Dressing
Mix all ingredients in a blender. If mixture is too thick, add either vinegar or water. Remember, your dressing will get slightly more liquidy as you toss it with your salad.
Place egg, dry mustard, salt and lemon juice in the blender. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and whirl until well mixed. Slowly incorporate the remaining olive oil. Drizzle it in with as small a stream as possible. You'll hear it start to emulsify. Don't rush this. Be patient. Continue to blend until the oil is incorporated and your mayo is light and fluffy.