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9 Reasons Cooking Advice Belongs on a Productivity Blog

9 Reasons Cooking Advice Belongs on a Productivity Blog
Chef

    There are plenty of obvious topics for a blog focused on making your life easier: time management tips, career advice and even a little personal finance information. But cooking advice doesn’t immediately come to mind. Considering how much time we each spend daily on eating — let alone eating healthily and cheaply — I think a little cooking advice could be very productive, and I’ve got nine good reasons why.

    1. Good nutrition makes for a productive mind. When we’re busy, we eat poorly: vending machines, fast food, etc. But we often wind up more tired with each bite. Learning a bit about cooking and nutrition can steer us towards food that can help us think better, as well as takes minimal effort to prepare. While nutritional information doesn’t show up on many productivity blogs, even a few tips on the meals that can help us get through the work day are relevant.
    2. Cooking saves money. Eating at restaurants or picking up prepared food costs money — significantly more than you would pay for ingredients, and often more than the cost of labor can explain. Cooking (especially from scratch) allows you to not only cut out the cost of labor, but to plan meals around inexpensive ingredients. Other costs factor in as well: travel to and from the restaurant, drinks (I’ve seen places charging $2 for essentially a can of soda, not to mention the cost of alcohol), and the tip for the server.
    3. Making a meal can actually be faster than ordering one. If I order a pizza, it can take 30 minutes for that meal to make it to my door. If I actually have to leave my office or home to pick up food, it can take significantly longer. But I can name off hundreds of meals that I can make in under 10 minutes as long as I have the ingredients in my kitchen (omelet, pasta, sandwich, salad and many more). I can even bake cookies in less than 20 minutes if I need a sweet snack.
    4. Being able to cook makes for a relatively inexpensive hobby. While there are a few cooks who need each brand new gadget, cooking, as a rule, is still cheaper than many hobbies. After all, you will still need to buy food whether or not you cook it yourself. And hobbies are good for the brain — being able to step away from work and do something you enjoy can be the best way to make sure that you return to work refreshed and relaxed.
    5. Meal planning makes planning the rest of your schedule easier. You’ll know when to go grocery shopping, when to start dinner and get a better grip on your schedule in general. Everybody has to eat at some point during the day, and there’s no reason to let yourself get out of sorts because you forgot to eat, or ate too much. Furthermore, meal planning can help you keep food expenses down as well as stay on track to eat nutritionally. Personally, it’s also cut the time I spend at the grocery store, trying to decide what to buy, in half. I can get in, get out and get on with far more interesting things on my task list.
    6. Cooking can help you become more environmentally friendly. Say you pick up a bunch of individually prepared meals — Hot Pockets, microwavable burritos, whatever. At minimum, there will be some sort of plastic wrap, but you may also have a box or a plastic bag — a lot of wrappings that go straight in the trash. On the other hand, if you cook, you can use reusable containers and dishes. There are tons of ways to use your kitchen to make your life greener.
    7. Eating right can keep you healthy. All of us who spend a lot of time at the computer worry about staying fit. While it isn’t enough to replacing exercising, eating well can reduce the need to exercise. The difference between working off a burger from McDonalds and a homemade salad is worth a little effort in the kitchen, I think. But we all need a starting point — knowing that eating a few more vegetables isn’t enough to balance most of our diets.
    8. Eating at home saves on gas money. I’d much rather pay for the gas to go to the grocery store once a week than have to worry about filling up to go out to a whole list of restaurants. While I don’t begrudge the gas to go a nice restaurant, the damage to both my wallet and the environment doesn’t seem to be as justified for a trip through the drive-thru, especially if I have to go out several days running. I can also plan my errands and pretty much all of my travel time better if I know where meals fall on my schedule and what I need for each one.
    9. You can cement a relationship with a good meal. There’s a reason that offering to cook for your significant other can make for a special date. Eating is a fairly intimate act — and you can make it more so by cooking the meal. Romantic relationships aren’t the only ones you can help along with a good meal. Cooking for friends or even business contacts can make a lasting impression. I don’t cook for many of my business contacts — but ones that I want to deepen our relationship to friendship beyond the office are often invited to a meal.

    There are so many ways in which a little time spent in the kitchen can help us lead more productive lives. I think cooking has — excuse the pun — earned a spot at the table.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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