Bizzy Break - Bizzy Coffee

Getting ready for work in the morning isn't the most fun activity. Most people would put off getting up because it just takes too much effort to get ready.

But if you happen to be a music lover (or actually, even if you're not), you can put this passion to good use. You can use music to make your mornings more bearable.


Instead of a Clock, Use Music to Time Your Activities While Getting Ready:

1. Pick 4 of your favorites songs or dance tunes. Make a playlist of it on your music player or iPod. Make sure it can play loud enough so that you can hear the music through all the next activities.

2. Assuming every song lasts approximately 5 minutes, the 4 songs become your 20-minute cue to get yourself ready for work.

Here's a Example: 

Song 1: Brush your teeth and floss. Tap your feet to the beat while you're at it! 

Song 2: With your hot water ready, take a shower. By all means, sing along to your heart's content!

Song 3: Get dressed and dance around while you're at it. (When no one's looking, it's ok to twerk!)

Song 4: Accessorize, put some cologne, pack your bag, turn off the music - and moonwalk your way out. 

Wasn't that fun? Now you can look forward to this mornings that always start you off on the right note!

What if your friends and family are already on their way in a few hours for your annual Thanksgiving gathering, but you've been so busy that your turkey is still frozen in your fridge and nowhere near ready to be served to your guests? 

What do you do?

How to Speed-Thaw Your Turkey:

1. Heat oven to its highest setting, then blast the frozen turkey for 10 to 15 minutes in the oven to jumpstart the thawing process.

2. Submerge the turkey in a large container filled with cool (40 degree) water, changing the water every 30 minutes or continuously running a slow stream of water from the tap. It will take 20-30 minutes per pound for the turkey to defrost this way. 

3. Once thawed, proceed with cooking the bird immediately - or hold it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

How to Turbo-Cook Your Turkey

1. Spatchcock it: This involves cutting out the turkey's backbone then pushing the bird flat. Dry it off and liberally salt and pepper the whole thing, then rub softened butter and chopped herbs under the skin of the breasts. Place the sheet of meat breast-side-down in a roasting pan or large sheet pan. Cover the pan with aluminum foil to retain moisture.

2. Place the turkey in a 400 degree oven, basting it every 15 minutes with a mixture of butter and stock to prevent it from drying out.

3. When the breast meat reaches 165 degrees — this should only take an hour for a 14 to 16-lb bird — take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes.

4. Carve the turkey according to this diagram.

Thanksgiving near-fiasco averted! 

80/20 Principle

Has it ever occurred to you that only 20% of what you do is probably producing 80% of the results you want to achieve?

This is what the Pareto Principle is all about. It is a concept originated by Italian Economist Vilfredo Pareto in the 1900s when he discovered that 80% of the wealth in Italy was found in only 20% of the people. Pareto tested the concept in other areas of life and realized that the principle applied to all other areas of business or activity.

Here's the hack:

Understanding the essence of the principle is the main key thing, and then applying that in every area of your life.

If you are in business, you will realize for example that 20% of your clients are providing your company 80% of your revenues. Or that 20% of your sales staff is contributing 80% to your sales. Also, that 20% of your products is the source of 80% of your revenue. Knowing the 20% in any aspect of your life or business or activity is your guide in determining which areas to focus on or where to invest your efforts.

If you then wanted to increase sales, perhaps you should incentivize that 20% of your clients that are contributing the most to your revenues, as these might result to even more revenues from them. 

Knowing who among your sales staff is contributing 80% of your sales will help you decide which ones to reward, to keep, or to promote. 

If your business was strapped for cash and needed to make wise investments on products you can keep selling, then the 80/20 rule easily helps you make the decision on which products must be kept.

Apply the 80/20 rule in your life today and see what new things you might discover. 


There are workaholics, AND there are smart workers.

You see, working longer hours doesn't necessarily mean greater productivity. It's really about working smarter.

Here's the hack:

In a study done at the Florida State University, elite performers like athletes, musicians, actors, and chess players were tested for productivity. It found that the best performers "typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes." In fact, they "rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day."

Okay, not everyone has the luxury to work just 4.5 hours a day, but there is still something to be learned here.

The core of this hack is the principle of renewal and recovery. The performers did not have to work or practice too long - they must stop up to a certain point to ensure that they avoid exhaustion; they must exert effort only to a degree that they can ensure that can recover on a daily or weekly basis, depending on what the activity requires.

Employing this principle makes them perform better overall. 

When faced with a task, how do you know if it's something you should do right away or perhaps something you can put off until later? Some tasks are quite obvious as to the kind, amount or urgency of attention that it needs. Emergency situations or critical tasks are readily apparent that they should be dealt with as soon as possible.

But what of other tasks whose urgency are less obvious?

Here's the hack: Follow the 'two minute rule'. That's right. Is the task something that you can do now for only two minutes (or less)? If so, do it now and get it over with. Putting if off for later actually will tend to lengthen the time it will take that job to get done. For example, a task that would have only taken 2 minutes if you handled it now, will actually likely become a 5 minute task if you decide to do it some other time in the future.

How does a task turn from a 2-minute task to a 5-minute task? Perhaps it's the mental adjustments that have to occur when switching from thinking about doing a task now, deciding to just do it later, doing something else in the meantime, then remembering to go back to that something you put off for later, then actually doing the task. 

Doing it now actually saves you time. 

Contrary to what we'd like to believe, multi-tasking is actually a time-waster. At work, if you spent half the day multi-tasking among 2-3 different tasks, 45% of the time actually goes to waste. The mental adjustments - like re-orientation or re-familiarization - that has to happen every time you switch from one task to the other actually reduces your over-all productivity. Imagine, if you did that all day on your 8-hour work day, that's 3.6 hours wasted productivity. If you're a business owner with a workforce of multi-taskers, it's a nightmare to realize that you are getting 45% less productive work out of your people, and that's a terrible waste of money.

Here's the hack: Resist the urge to multi-task! The temptation in multi-tasking lies in the fact that by doing different tasks simultaneously you feel you are accomplishing more (quantity), when in fact, this compromises your real productivity by not only wasting time but also diminishing the quality of your work.

Try finishing one task first, take a quick break, then move on to the next task. Doing this not only allows you to accomplish more, it also ensures you do a much better work.

Admittedly though, sometimes the multi-tasking happens because the distraction of other tasks crop up without your control - like an email that sends a ding and gets your attention, or a text message or phone call that demands to be answered, or a co-worker that passes by for a chit-chat. Avoid these distractions or anything that steals your attention - put your phones on silent mode, or put up a Do Not Disturb sign on your desk, or work in an area where you cannot easily be distracted, or always wear your headphones (it dissuades people from disturbing you because it makes you look occupied).

How many office meetings do you have to attend to every week? Depending on the size of your company or your teams, you could have an average of 1-2 meetings a week. They're inevitable, unavoidable - but they do seem to take longer than necessary.

The average office meeting lasts about 1 hour. And that's just for one meeting. If you have to sit through than one meeting a week, and you feel that the efficiency of these meetings have much to be desired, then this hack is for you.

Here's the hack: Conduct your meetings while standing up!

Anecdotal evidence shows that conducting meetings while standing up tends to cut down the time spent on the meeting by at least 25%. That means a previous one-hour weekly meeting becomes just 45 minutes, saving you 15 minutes. 

Intuitively, you know the meeting has to last only as long as really necessary because if you're standing up, you are bound to get sore from standing too long. Unknowingly, standing up gives the meeting a sense of urgency and mission, so that any topic for discussion gets settled faster and more purposefully. In the end, it's a win for office productivity and efficiency, and win for your tired feet. 

Did you know that the time of day and the day of the week that you do your grocery has an impact on how long it would actually take you to finish your grocery shopping? 

That's right, the average shopper takes 41 minutes in the grocery store when you do your shopping on weekends. 

Studies show that doing your grocery shopping on weekends take 7 minutes longer than weekdays. This is a simple change in shopping behavior that you can easily take so that you save 7 minutes of your time. 

The same study also shows that most people do their grocery from Friday to Sunday, so the number of people inside the grocery during these days could be affecting how long your grocery takes - more people in line, more people looking over the same items along the grocery aisles; maybe even more sales promotions and free taste booth vying for your attention.

If you decide to move your grocery shopping on weekdays, make sure to avoid the hours from 4-5 PM as that is when most people would do their grocery chores on a weekday. And if you really can only do grocery on weekends, avoid the hours around noon to late afternoon. 

Happy (grocery) shopping!

Ironing clothes is a tedious job. Just the thought of needing to do it can be daunting. And when you think about how much time it's going to take to finish a pile of clothes, you'd wish there was a better way to do it. 

On average, it takes 3 minutes to iron a piece of clothing, like a shirt, blouse, polo or pants. Of course, that is if you do it right. Smaller pieces of clothing, like undies and hankerchiefs, of course take less time.

Assuming you have 2 pieces to typically iron for work, that's 6 minutes you can save with this simple hack. 

Here's the hack: A wrinkle releaser does the trick! And it's something you can prepare on your own too.

Spray it on your clothes and in seconds, the wrinkles disappear. You'll have to lay the clothes down or tug it so that the wrinkles stretch flat faster. Best to do this at night before going to bed (or on a weekend) so that clothes have time to dry from the slight misting, but typically this misting should easily and quickly evaporate. Now off to work you go!

The average person takes 8 minutes in taking a shower, according to a survey done by Unilever. 

The goal is to shave some time off that to give you more time to do more valuable activities. How about making that just 5 minutes? The 3 minutes saved is 3 minutes earned.

Maybe you fail to eat breakfast in the morning because you never seem to have enough time, always hurrying off to work, so perhaps cutting a few minutes off your shower time will finally give you a few precious minutes to eat a good breakfast. If you didn't know, eating breakfast is very very important and has implications on your energy and productivity throughout the day.

The hack: Get a good shower timer. You could use a digital timer or an hourglass timer. The best timer is nothing fancy but gets the job done. Check out Amazon to get an idea of the shower timers available on the market. 

Shower timer

Set your timer to the amount of time you allotting for the shower. From the previous 8 minutes, you want to get that down to 5 minutes. Set the timer to 5 minutes. If you decide on a digital timer, you will be able to set specific lengths of time. If you get the hourglass timer, those are already typically designed for 5 minutes, so you just need to turn it to start timing. 

Turn it on as soon as you step on the shower/bath. Put it in a place where you can see how much time is left while you're showering, that way you are aware if you need to speed up. Like the hourglass timer in the photo, it has a suction disk that will easily stick in flat surfaces.

The goal is to be out of the shower as soon as or right about when the alarm goes off. 

If you do the math - and assuming you take daily baths - those 3 minutes saved daily adds up to 18 hours and 15 minutes saved in a year. Imagine what else you can do with that much time!

As always, stay #bizzynotbusy!

The Bizzy Team


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