HBR: The Only Way to Get Important Things Done

HBR: The Only Way to Get Important Things Done

Those who do not find time for exercise now will have to find time for illness.

The Earl of Derby, 1873 (via Hacker’s Diet)

The Benefits of Biking to Work

Thanks to my new ride, I have the ability to bicycle to work rather than drive. It’s something I’ve always wanted the choice to do, and finally my proximity to the office, the local weather, and a recent lifestyle choice coincided to make it possible.

A round trip is only 5.2 miles, which amounts to 26 miles if I rode every day.  That’s probably not a reasonable goal since there will still be occasions where I will need a car for other reasons (weather, errands, etc.), so I’m starting with a goal of 3 days per week, or 15.6 miles.

Assuming a leisurely pace, that’s about 700 calories I would not have burned. It’s about 2 more hours of fresh air and sunshine and a the chance to savor a peaceful buffer between a bustling home and frenetic office.

It will save me about a gallon of gas per week, running about $3.50 around here, and maybe $8 in vehicle mileage (that’s almost $600 per year!). If I’m able to do this year round, it amounts to saving over half of ton of CO2 emissions (calculator).

So I suppose the question should have always been, why drive?

2 Minute Breakfast Frittata Recipe

For those resolving to eat a better breakfast, particularly something low carb that can be prepared on a busy weekday morning in about 2 minutes, this egg frittata recipe is for you.

It needs about 30 minutes on the weekend to prepare, and another 45 in the oven, then it’s off to the frig to be sliced and microwaved as needed. Thanks again to our friend Tay who introduced us to his perfected process up at the chalet.

Ingredients

18 Eggs
1 Head of Cauliflower (for low carb base) or 20 oz of Hash Browns
8 oz Heavy Whipping Cream 
1-1.5 Bags of Spinach
1 Onion
16 oz Cream Cheese
Olive Oil
Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
15 slices of Bacon and/or 1lb of Sausage
7 oz of Salsa

Instructions

Chop cauliflower to resemble hash browns, or use hash browns, mix with olive oil and line the bottom of 9×13 pan. Sprinkle the top with Tony Chachere’s. Broil for approximately 15 minutes, avoiding any burning.

Fry the bacon, cut or grind the meat, chop the spinach and onion (which can be sautéed along with the bacon) and add along with the cream cheese (softened in the microwave) to a large bowl. Mix.

Remove pan from oven (now set to pre-heat at 350). Make “egg-tight” layer over the cauliflower or hash browns with bowl contents.

Whip eggs and cream (careful to not over blend) adding salsa for last 3 seconds of whipping. Carefully pour over contents of pan, ensuring that layers remain intact.

Bake at 350 for 30 to 45 minutes (checking frequently after 30 minutes). A clean toothpick or knife will tell you when it’s cooked through. When complete, let cool and store in refrigerator.

Enjoying

On a busy morning, cut out a suitably sized piece, sprinkle with some shredded cheddar cheese, and microwave for about 2 minutes. Excellent hot breakfast to get the day started!

Healthy Metrics & Tools

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure" is a management adage typically attributed to W. Edwards Deming.  Well it’s as true for business as it is for our health.

Elevation Graph
Elevation Graph from Trailguru

In my role as a senior manager in a large corporation, I use metrics all the time in my work*.  I’ve now undertaken the challenge of applying this same approach to my health statistics.  It will not only help me manage and hopefully improve my health, but will be fun in that I get to try out new tools and technologies and share what I find as I go.

Now not everything will be electronic, after all, you’re talking to a guy that carries a fountain pen and Moleskine in addition to an iPhone.  It’s an experiment, and will evolve as I try different approaches and hopefully get suggestions from readers.

  • Health Log – An analog way of keeping track of food, exercise, sleep and medical statistics.  Paperback and about 5×8” (conveniently the same size as my Moleskine), it’s light and not too difficult to keep on a desk or carry in the car.  I picked it up on a lark in a stationary store in Mammoth Lakes about a year ago, more for the visual design than for the content. I’ll probably go electronic at some point, but it’s cheap and doesn’t run out of batteries.
  • DailyPlate.com – So how many calories were in that In-N-Out Cheeseburger? This site can tell you (480) along with plenty of other common food items.  It’s been a great way to estimate calories, fat and carb content when nutrition labels are absent.  It also provides all sorts of other tools, but I’m not a member of the site.
  • FatWatch – An iPhone application that tracks and graphs your weight.  Aside from how I feel, how well my pants fit, and how good my wife says I look, it’s the most available metric to monitor.
  • Trailguru – An iPhone 3G application and corresponding website that utilizes your phone’s GPS capability to record and plot your outings. It has great statistics such as duration, distance, and ascent as well as charts (see above), map plots and photos you take along the way.  And inspired by Fourmilab, I’ve taken to posting my daily walks on Twitter.

* Note: I’m not really a numbers guy.  In fact, I believe more strongly in leadership, relationships, and continuos learning–but in a large corporation metrics quantify your success.

Walking on Sand

Walking is one of those activities with benefits on several levels. Whether it’s a meditative sunrise walk, an evening stroll with my wife after dinner, or an aggressive hike in the local hills, it’s something I strive to do every day.

Back when I worked at a facility just a block away from the beach, I used to walk in the deep sand during my lunch break. More than just a great way to get out of the office and enjoy some fresh air and sun, it was terrific exercise.

Well, following the recommendation of a friend over 50 years my senior with less back problems than I, I picked up a pair of MBT anti-shoes. My first impression was that I was back walking in the deep sand. It’s active walking with more muscle usage and better posture. It will be an interesting experiment as I work my way up to wearing them for long walks.