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A Workout for Geeks

A Workout for Geeks

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    It’s the holiday season, which means those New Years resolutions are coming up fast. For those of you who are considering exercising more this upcoming year, here is a workout specially designed for the geek in you.

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    The Problem with Traditional Workouts

    The number one problem with most workout plans for the life hacker is that they are boring. You go to the gym, lift some weights, run on the treadmill, and go home. Maybe next time you’ll run a little faster or lift a little more weight, but you’re pretty much going to do the same thing over and over. What’s the fun in that?

    As a life hacker, you are creative and adventurous in everything you do, including your exercise. You should be constantly challenged both physically and mentally. Traditional workouts push you physically, while your mind remains idle. No wonder you reject them.

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    How to Hack Your Workout

    Remember that hackers discover unconventional methods to push the boundaries of both themselves and their environment. A great tool that I’ve been using in my workouts is the aerobics step platforms. It’s like playing with giant sized legos, where I can build my own workout scenarios to explore.

    Here are a couple methods that I already use:

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    • Hopping the Hurdles: This one is based off a gymnastics exercise I saw and is the one pictured above. I place a series of platforms at different lengths and heights and consecutively jump over them. It’s pretty fun because after the first jump, your feet act as springs, so it’s almost like being on a pogo stick. I kind of feel like Mario as I go through my level.
    • The Parkour Track: The second method I use is laying out the long platforms on the floor in an oval shape and usually have one or two high obstacles that I need to either jump or climb over. I run atop the platforms, which means I need to be conscious of where I put my feet, when I speed up to jump, and even the speed taking corners (I’ve fallen over a few times as the platform slid out from going too fast).

    The benefit of using these aerobics platforms is that it easily enables you to dynamically adjust the difficulty of the workout, according to your own beliefs about your abilities. It also provides great variability between workouts, so that your body is physically challenged, your cognitive awareness of your environment is enhanced, your creativity is expressed, and you get to have fun while everyone else is bored. ;)

    Remember, these are only a couple methods of the vast possibilities. Unleash your creative side and see how else you can use them to be challenged.

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    A Workout for Geeks How to Develop a Lifehack

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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