19 5 / 2013
- Gift Ideas
- Big Ticket Wish List
- The Best Vegetables
- Tasks That Others Could Be Paid to Do
- Redecorating Ideas
- Questions to Google
- Twitter Name Ideas
- Things to Get Rid Of
- What I’d Clean If I Had Time
- Gear to Pack for Swim Meets
- This Year’s Goals
- People to Have Lunch With
- Girlfriends’ Shoe Sizes
- Needs (Priority Order)
12 3 / 2013
Photo: This family is reaping the benefits of the best in quick-serve kitchen equipment and the latest insights in restaurant practices.
smh if u ain’t getting great QSR headlines and choice quotes delivered daily. I love QSR news, and I want to share this love with YOU!
Sign up: Today in QSRs, a newsletter by me
Why??????? I love both food and absurd marketing jargon. QSR news takes away the pain of living (without added calories! heyoooo). I’ll read about the logistical considerations of dual drive-thrus and seafood-centered Lenten strategies so you don’t have to!
What you’ll get: Only the tastiest of inside-baseball restaurant marketing copy. Every day, you’ll receive up to 5 of the best headlines from today’s Fast Casual and QSR media outlets, plus select quotes. No links to click — just the fastest of fast casual news. You’ll need only 30 seconds to read the email and have a li’l chuckle.
Hey, what are QSRs? Quick Serve Restaurants are generally “fast food” eateries like Sonic or Burger King. But wait: this newsletter will also feature Fast Casual news! Fast Casual is slightly higher-quality, slightly slower-to-serve, and slightly higher-priced, e.g. Chipotle and Fuddrucker’s. Prefer sitting down to order? You’re looking for Casual Dining, my friend. (We’ve got that too.)
How do I sign up? Yay! Click here.
Photo: A QSR worker assists a customer who likely received her order in three minutes or less and may have taken advantage of a seasonal offer.
01 3 / 2013
05 1 / 2013
Flip turn by Olympic swimmer Dana Vollmer. Photo by Ric Frazier for ESPN.
This is how I practice my flip turn.
- Judge the point where you start turning. Too early = you miss the wall on the landing. Too late = you hurt yourself on the snap.
- Tuck your head to start the turn. Both arms should be at your sides.
- Roll your body into a somersault.
- Snap your feet down hard as you finish the body roll.
- Look at your feet briefly; this keeps your head tucked.
- Land both feet on the wall firmly. Start bringing your arms above your head to form the streamline when you push off.
- Push away, with intensity!
- Stream (as in hold a streamline posture); dolphin kick a couple times; point your arms straight forward and tuck your head between them.
- Break the streamline by powering up your flutter kick and taking the first stroke.
- Breathe on the second stroke. Delaying your first breath makes you faster.
If you’re not used to flip turns yet, just practice them slowly. Focus on one part at a time, then add speed. When I started swimming, it took me about 4 weeks of practice to make sense of the flip turn.
02 1 / 2013
If you want to make a change or start a new project, the new year is a great time to do it. Your friends, who likely have made a new year’s resolution or two, will naturally be more supportive of your new goals too. But you’ll need to design your goals well in order to achieve them.
Why should you care what I have to say about goals?
I created a goals group, now in its third year, that helps people make their lives better in the ways that they want. I am passionate about getting good things done.
Good goals are specific and measurable
When you design new goals, make sure you define them specifically and in ways you can measure. While it doesn’t sound impressive, “Install curtains in living room” is more specific than simply “Redecorate.” Redecorating may feel like a grander and more inspiring goal, but installing curtains is attainable. How will you know when you’re done redecorating? The living room will have curtains. Done.
If you’ve ever read about SMART goals, “specific” and “measurable” are terms already familiar to you. If not, take a moment to review the SMART criteria to help you design your goals.
(You may have time and energy to do more than install curtains. Maybe add a few other specific redecorating goals to your list, too? Perhaps it’s time to take down the Fleet Foxes posters.)
Good goals are independent of other people
Design a goal that you can control. Yes, you’re a carsharing startup co-founder, active in the Ruby gems community, and hot on Twitter. But intuitively you know that you shouldn’t define your goal to “Be chosen for a ‘30 under 30’ list.” Why? Because this goal depends on other people. You can’t sufficiently control the result.
We’re often tempted to design goals in terms of results, but watch out when these goals depend on other people for success. Popular goals like “Get a new job” and “Get engaged” aren’t goals you can control. On the contrary, “Talk to five target companies” and “Discuss life plans” are much more attainable goals. While your goals can involve other people, be sure to focus on what you can do and achieve. Your goals, when well designed, have potential to make you better off no matter what happens.
Good goals are tracked
A note on process: write down your goals in a convenient place. You’re bound to be interrupted on the way to your goal. Write down your goals (in a Notes app, on the back of the photo of your dog in your wallet, wherever) in a place where you’re likely to reread it. Then make a note every time you take action toward your goal.
Here’s an example of one of my goals for the year and how I plan to achieve it. I’ve broken it up into quarterly segments to spread out the work over time.
Goal: Visit Korea this fall
Q1 (January-March). Research Korea
- read 2 books about Korea
- talk to 2 friends who have visited Korea and ask for advice
- decide maximum travel budget
- draft potential plans for destinations, activities, budget
- evaluate options for learning Korean language
Q2 (April-June). Arrange trip
- negotiate time off for travel and make any necessary arrangements at work
- finalize destinations and travel dates
- reserve travel, lodging, tours, etc
- practice Korean language
Q3 (July-September). TBD, depending on the above.
Bonus points for simplicity
Your goals don’t need to be as involved as mine. They can be simple and small. The important thing is the feeling of power over your life you get when you achieve them. Finish one, set another.
What goals are you designing or working on? Tweet me at @vnaylon.
31 12 / 2012
After discovering habit design at the Quantified Self conference earlier this year, I decided to try a few habit design apps for myself. Using Buster Benson’s newest app GonnaTry, I set out to test five habit design apps by the end of 2012 (yes, it’s a bit meta of me to use a habit app to test habit apps). Today’s the last day of my challenge.
Over the last few months, I’ve tried out a few apps to build habits. Here are the five most interesting apps I tested:
1. Nike FuelBand. Does it increase activity?
Yes. While I don’t trust Nike’s ability to measure calories I’ve burned or steps I’ve taken, I can rely on the Fuel calculation to be fairly consistent across my activities. The FuelBand has helped me notice which days of the week I’m less active and stay conscious of the need to get up and take a walk every so often, if only because I want to see the goal celebration animation every night.
Some of you may point out that FuelBand, being hardware, isn’t just an app. Good for you.
2. The Eatery. Does it promote better eating?
Not for me. Having already spent the last two years reading about diet and monitoring my nutrition habits, I didn’t learn much from The Eatery community’s feedback aside from how to game my score.
3. Lift. Does it build habits?
Not really. Most days I forgot to update the app, because the app offers no reminders. (Update: as of today, it does. Maybe in 2013 it’ll work better.)
4. Juice. Does it raise energy level?
Possibly. So far, the iOS app Juice works better than Lift (though Juice tracks energy level, not specific habits). I’ve been using the app for just a few days, but Juice reminds me every night to enter data. Data entry is simple, with more featureful options available. However, even though the app’s graphics are fun and friendly, they feel too young and trivial for me. I’ll stick with it until something more “me” comes along.
5. Zeo. Does it improve sleep?
Sort of. Just monitoring my sleep with the Zeo Sleep Manager helped me sleep better, because the Zeo app required me to stop using my phone. One can, of course, focus on sleeping without putting on a headband and opening a sleep app, but the external guidance was just right for me. But if you want to make bigger improvements in your sleep, you’ll have to devote attention to Zeo’s data analysis and sleep tips (which I didn’t make time to do).
Bonus question: GonnaTry. Does it help achieve goals?
Yes. For one, it helped me achieve this app-testing challenge. GonnaTry’s friendly email reminders and Facebook integrations built a productive feedback loop that made me feel more accountable to my goal. Candidly, I might have felt more enthusiastic about GonnaTry because I enjoyed previous Buster Benson apps (Locavore, Health Month). My next GonnaTry goal is to do three pull-ups, unassisted, by the end of 2013.
Of the six apps above, I recommend the Nike FuelBand and GonnaTry. Given Lift’s pedigree, I’ll give it another shot in 2013 and review it more thoroughly soon.
31 12 / 2012
The M can’t handle me right now. Photo by Kally Kahn
For those of you new to San Francisco, here are three transit tips for pro New Year’s partiers:
- Free taxi rides home. Berg Injury Lawyers will cover your taxi ride home when you call ahead. (Details)
- Free bus rides all night. Muni will offer free service from 8 pm to 6 am. (Details)
- Extended BART service. BART will run more trains tonight, and service lasts until 3 am. (Details)
And, as always, riding your bike is free and fun (with lots of parking). Don’t drive, y’all.
20 12 / 2012
- Tweet the right thing for the right account. Tweet jokes mostly on the joke account and personal comments mostly on the personal account.
- Likewise, favorite professional-themed tweets on the professional account and dirty-funny tweets on the joke account. People can review your favorites, so keep the professional account 100% SFW.
- Favorite a lot of tweets. Don’t worry if people don’t favorite you.
- Reply a lot! It tickles people and helps them know when they’ve said something interesting to you.
- Limit celebrations of consumer spending, alcohol consumption, food.
- Try not to tweet so many links!
- Dot-replies (“.@”) look ugly: reply to someone or reference them.
- Old-style retweets (“RT”) look ugly: limit those.
- Nothing wrong with intentionally spelling stuff wrong to be funny.
- Nothing wrong with deleting tweets. Nothing wrong with deleting a tweet several times to correct spelling and grammar.
- Be grateful when people follow more than one account, but don’t expect people to follow you AT ALL.
- Why? Because no one can or should follow everyone she knows. Try to follow as few people as possible, so that you can enjoy reading the people you do follow.
- Don’t post extremely critical thoughts unless people will definitely benefit from the perspective. Negativity is contagious.
- Negativity is contagious. Unfollow ceaseless complainers and The Chronically Outraged.
- Take a break every so often, to remind yourself that you won’t miss anything by taking a break.