Save Your Life

You have one life. Live it.


Should you give things up for a month?

As we reach the end of the first month of 2017, much is being said about “Dry January”, a period in which some people have given up drinking alcohol, in a bid to make up for the excesses of Christmas and New Year, and to kickstart their health regime for 2017.

Now, the next thing is Sugar-free February, which doesn’t need an explanation. No doubt we’ll see a Meat-free March, too…

Sure, it’s a good idea to restrict your consumption of alcohol, sugar, red meat and other tasty things, but is it really beneficial to cut them out totally for a month? I’m not convinced it is.

A month is only four weeks, so what is the point of dropping something totally from your diet for such a short period and then reverting back to your old habits? And, besides, why deprive yourself of something you enjoy?

Far better to live an entire life of moderation. If you like a glass of wine then indulge yourself now and again, but not every day. A glass or two at the weekend isn’t going to do you any harm and it may even benefit you. The same goes for sugar – an occasional bar of chocolate as a well-deserved treat will do wonders for your mood. Just don’t get into the habit of scoffing it on a daily basis. If you like a burger and chips then, again, treat yourself occasionally, but ensure that you eat a healthy diet most of the time.

There’s more advice on health and wellbeing in the Save Your Life book. Please click here for details. 


The Apple iPhone has been saving our lives for 10 years

Today is the tenth birthday of the Apple iPhone, a device which has changed our lives in that time.

Although the iPhone (and its copycat competitors) has many distractors, who argue that we’ve all become hooked on our smartphones, I would argue that the smartphone has given us freedom. Freedom to take phone calls, send and receive emails, check websites and send messages from anywhere in the world. You no longer have to be chained to a desk to be productive. And that can only be a good thing.

Click here to read more about the Apple iPhone’s launch ten years ago. 


Kickstart the new year with the power of a must-do list.

Getting back to work after the Christmas break can be overwhelming as you have things to catch up on and plans to make for the coming year. Many people put together a to-do list, either on paper, their computer or smartphone. And, while a to-do list is useful, it can make you feel even more overwhelmed, as there’s just too much to get through and the list never seems to get any shorter.

The solution is, at the start of each day – or, even better, at the end of the previous day – to make a must-do list. This, as the name suggests is a list of tasks that you must do that day, which you pick from your longer to-do list. Be realistic and just put on enough items that you know you will be able to complete, and allow time for unexpected extra jobs that will inevitably appear.

The great thing about a must-do list is that you are more motivated to get through the tasks, and it feels great as you tick them off – and even better when you’ve completed everything.

If you get through the list too fast then, great, pick one or two other things from your to-do list to do or, if you are able to, treat yourself to an early finish.

Some people break down their must-do list even more, into a morning and afternoon list, or even any hourly one. Personally, I find a daily must-do list is perfect.

Give it a try, and see how your efficiency improves.

There’s much more on lists and how to use them in the Save Your Life book. Please click here to order.


How to make New Year’s resolutions successful

It’s that time, when we look to the future with hopes and dreams for the coming year. Many of us will make New Year resolutions in the hope of improving our lives. Sadly, though, most of those ambitions, however well meant, will fall by the wayside within a few weeks of Big Ben chiming in 2017.

For instance, you may make resolutions such as “get fit”, “lose weight”, “be happy”, “get rich”. All noble hopes but, in reality, far too vague to ever work. How do you measure “getting fit” and when do you hope to achieve this?

You need to make your goals more specific and give yourself a timescale for achieving them, rather than sometime in the coming year. In fact, rather than the year, let’s set goals for the coming month. For instance:

• Go to the gym twice a week during January.

• Lose 4lb in weight during January.

• Spend an hour a day working on my new business plan during January.

• Spend ten minutes every morning practicing mindfulness during January.

Look at the above goals, and adjust your own New Year’s resolutions to work in the same way. Don’t they seem much easier to achieve now? And once you’ve got through January this way, you can set new or revised goals for the following month, and so on through the year.

Another mistake people fall into is setting unachievable or unpleasant goals. There’s no point saying you’re going to run five miles a day if you’ve done no exercise for years. Far better to start off with, say, a steady one-mile walk three times a day and work up to more ambitious targets. And if you’ve been eating too much chocolate, banning yourself from cocoa-based treats entirely will be no fun, so how about “eat chocolate just once a week during January”?

Of course, some goals can’t be achieved in a month. Maybe you hope to run a marathon in August, in which case you need to set a training programme for the months leading up to the event. Or if you want to write a book, set yourself a weekly target for the number of words you need to write.

Start the New Year like this and you’ll be well on your way to having a better life. The Save Your Life book contains strategies to enable you to free up time to spend on your resolutions and also ways to ensure that you stick with them. It even shows how just two minutes is enough to establish a new habit.

Please click here to order Save Your Life. 


How to use Apple Wallet

When it comes to saving your life, technology is your friend. I wanted to reduce the amount of cards I was carrying in my wallet, so I turned to Apple Wallet on my iPhone – one of the most misunderstood apps.

I’ve long used Wallet to store my debit card to use with Apple Pay, and very useful that is too. However, Wallet can do a lot more in that you can keep all your store cards in it, thus saving you having to carry around physical cards.

Adding a debit card to Wallet is simple – you just scan it in using the iPhone’s camera. Sadly, that doesn’t work for store cards. Instead, you have to instal that particular store’s app and, from within that, add the card to Wallet.

For instance, for Tesco Clubcard, you must download the Tesco Clubcard app (not the shopping app), sign in with your email address and password, and click the ‘Add to Apple Wallet’ button. It’s the same for John Lewis and other cards. Bizarrely, once you have added the store cards you can, if you wish, delete the store’s app and the card will remain in Wallet. This is worth remembering if you’re struggling for space on your phone.

If you have a store card that doesn’t have an app, there is a workaround (which also works will cards that do, such as Tesco). And that is to use an app called Stocard. Stocard, in many ways, works better than Wallet, in that it does allow you to scan in your store cards. After doing so, you can use Stocard itself for accessing your cards, rather than Wallet, or you can feed the cards into Wallet. The advantage of going down the latter route, is that Wallet can be accessed from your home screen (see below).

Wallet can also be used to store one-off passes, such as cinema tickets and airline boarding passes. Just ensure that your phone has plenty of battery life if you’re going to use it for the latter, though!

Once you have set up Wallet with your cards and passes, you can access it quickly by pressing the iPhone’s home button.

It’s worth persevering with Wallet. Not only is it very convenient, it also makes your physical wallet or purse lighter and slimmer.


How many Days of Christmas?

According to Christian teachings (not to mention a popular song), there are twelve days of Christmas – 25th December to 5th January. However, increasingly, we are starting to think about festivities from November onwards.

Now, Christmas is a very special time and something to look forward to. However, there’s a danger of it becoming a time waster. As the holiday approaches, people tend to put things off “until the New Year.”

“I’ll go on a diet…”, “I’ll start at the gym…”, I’ll begin writing my book…”, “I’ll start a new business”… “…in the New Year.”

The trouble is, this means that between now and the New Year becomes a time of limbo when you don’t do anything productive. So instead of waiting, why not start whatever it is right now, so that you are ahead of yourself and hit the ground running come 1st January?

There’s a fair chance you’ll be having a break from work, so you’ll have time on your hands to go something positive, rather than watching endless films on television.

So, how many days of Christmas you’re having, don’t spend them in limbo.



Is it worth doing a seven-minute workout?

Being a lifesaver means saving time and being healthy. Which means doing some exercise, but spending not too much time doing it. So surely a workout that takes just seven minutes has to be the answer?

The seven-minute workout has become quite a craze in the last couple of years, with the argument being that a short intensive bout of exercise is more effective than a longer but less extreme workout. And to help you do this, there is a wealth of apps available for smartphones and smartwatches.

I’ve been using Seven  on the iPhone and Apple Watch, but there are others that all do much the same thing. They take you through a number of 30-second routines with a short interval in between. The idea is to push yourself as hard as you can through each task, so you really are making an effort.

What a seven-minute work out definitely won’t do is burn fat – I manage to get through about 60 calories which is negligible. It will, though, help to tone muscle.

A look online shows a lot of criticism of the seven-minute workout, with people saying that such a short routine can’t make a difference. However, while that may be true of relatively fit people – and they seem to be the ones reviewing the workout – if you tend to do very little exercise at the moment, seven minutes a day of pushing yourself has to be a good thing. Seven minutes is just half a percent of your day – who doesn’t have time for that?

The trick to the seven-minute workout is not to rely just on that but use it as part of your regular fitness routine. Do it every day but include other activities, such as running, cycling or going to the gym when you have more time to spare.



Time goes by quickly

Two things this evening reminded me of the march of time.

First, my son sent me a link to this video by vlogger Casey Neistat. It’s worth watching as the message is profound, especially if you have children. I’m not sure if my son was trying to tell me something…

Second, my wife discovered the Memories feature on her iPhone. If you’ve not come across this – I hadn’t – it’s part of the Photos app. Click the Memories tab at the bottom of the app and it creates slideshows based on events in your life. It’s clever and it really does bring back, well, memories. A single day in 2006 did it for me – I was shocked to see how young my children looked in the photos.

It made me more determined than even to make the most of life.


We work eight hours a day because of a soundbite

Ever wondered why we work a typical eight-hour day? It’s because of a Victorian equivalent of a soundbite.

It’s all down to a Welsh social reformer called Robert Owen. Owen seemed to be one of those people who managed to cram a lot into his life – a true lifesaver if ever there was one.

He started off working in a drapers’ shop, then he got into the spinning business and was elected to the Manchester Board of Health which aimed to help workers’ conditions. Owen later moved to Scotland where he was part-owner of a mill which he ran in a way that offered its workers better rights than most, including childcare for infants. In later life, he lived in America where he formed a utopian community before heading to London to led a socialist association. Finally, in his eighties, Owen became a spiritualist where he chatted to, among others, the spirits of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson about his plans for world peace!

It was while Robert Owen was campaigning for workers’s rights in the mid 19th century that he demanded a ten-hour limit on the working day but, in a moment of poetic inspiration, he later reduced that to eight hours, with the snappy slogan “Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest”.

So there we have it. Over 150 years later, the working world is a quite different place yet we still play by Owen’s rules. Surely it’s time to move on.


Don’t procrastinate

I’ve been meaning to write about procrastination for a while but just haven’t got round to it. Sorry, old joke…

What really prompted this post was something as unexciting as an ironing board. We keep ours in the understairs cupboard, and it’s an awkward thing to store so, some time ago, I put a couple of large hooks into the wall from which to hang the ironing board. The trouble is, the hooks soon pulled out of the plasterboard, leaving us to lean the ironing board against the wall and it kept falling over and generally getting in the way.

I knew that the solution was to attach a wooden batten to the wall and then screw the hooks to that, thereby spreading the load across several fittings in the wall. Easy enough but I just didn’t get around to doing it for months. I’d no excuse – I simply kept putting it off.

Until this morning, that is. I found a suitable piece of wood, dusted off my electric drill and, ten minutes later, the ironing board was hanging proudly inside the cupboard.

The cupboard is now tidy but, more importantly, I started the day on a high as it was something that had been nagging me for ages, and being able to tick it off the list was really good. OK, I know it was only a little thing but it’s amazing how getting small jobs out of the way makes you feel great.

Go on, give it a try. Then move onto some larger jobs that you’ve been putting off. Before you know it, your to-do list will be delightfully depleted.

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén