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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 January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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