Rock Onto Healthier Living

When you’re driving in the car, do you enjoy cranking up the radio and rocking out to your favorite music? While music can be a great way to pass time in the car, make cleaning the house more fun, or even stay focused at work, it can do so much more for you. Here are three ways music can help you live a healthier life.

1)    Music is a stress reducer. There really isn’t much surprise here -- music has long been theorized to help reduce stress for individuals, and recent studies are supporting these theories. Some even suggest that music could be better at reducing stress than anti-anxiety medication.

2)    Music may be a painkiller. At the very least, it can be a pain distractor. According to University of California-Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, music can actually be used as a distraction from pain and reduce your perception of it. So next time you’ve got a headache, try using your iTunes library in conjunction with some Advil.

3)    Music can help you fight infection. We’ve all heard that vitamin C and plenty of fluids may be great ways to fight off infection. But did you know that music can also help build up your immune system? The Greater Good Science Center explains:

"Researchers looked at how music affects levels of IgA -- an important antibody for our immune system's first line of defense against disease. Undergraduate students had their salivary IgA levels measured before and after 30 minutes of exposure to one of four conditions -- listening to a tone click, a radio broadcast, a tape of soothing music, or silence. Those students exposed to the soothing music had significantly greater increases in IgA than any of the other conditions, suggesting that exposure to music (and not other sounds) might improve innate immunity."

So don’t be afraid to bust a move, practice your air guitar solo or sing along to your favorite song as you embrace music on the road to being healthier

What a safety razor taught me about business.

I’m a big fan of the blog The Art of Manliness. It’s nice to find a men’s health website that realizes there’s more to a guy’s health than six-pack abs and how to make a connection at Friday night’s single mingle.

One article posted recently was titled “How to Shave Like Your Grandpa” -- basically, the lost art of a proper shave. Personally, shaving is one of my least favorite things to do in the morning. So at the end of last year I finally broke down and bought a classic razor to see if it would improve my morning ritual to a level that was at least tolerable.

The results have been quite enjoyable, and shaving has turned from a morning hassle to almost a morning zen. This morning I found myself contemplating how my trip from cartridge to safety razor could actually be used as a metaphor for business and life in general.

You will bleed – I had never shaved with a straight blade before, and let me tell you -- the difference between a cartridge and a razor was definitely felt the first morning. When I finished, my face looked like I had been clawed by a rabid badger. I had cut everything from my ears to my chin.

It was a painful experience, but I learned from it. We have a saying at The Personal Marketing Company -- “Fail Fast,” which basically means get out there, try things, make mistakes, and then adjust quickly. Plus, don’t be too proud to learn from others.

In my situation, I literally have an entire generation of men who learned to shave with a straight razor that I could go to for advice. If I had taken two seconds and asked for some help, I could have saved some face, and I mean that in the most literal sense.

Quality takes time – We live in a world of go-go-go, and sometimes we get so caught up in it that we feel rushed and can never truly complete a task. I know several people who seem to think it is better to do six things poorly than three things well.

In life (and in marketing) you only have 24 hours in a day. You should be sleeping for eight, and life’s too short to just work the rest away. So take time to find out what works for you, and what gets you the best results. Stay focused and see a project through. Also take a second look at your work -- metaphorically speaking, you won’t remove all the hairs in one pass.

You get what you pay for – It’s my belief that in business you pick between quality, price and service. The secret is that you only get to have two of the three. Now, I’m all about saving a buck, and I understand the importance of a budget. But my experience is that penny-pinching can end up costing you more in the long run. If I add up all the money I’ve spent on razor cartridges, I could probably have bought my new straight razor 10 times over.

This isn’t only something you should understand with your own spending, but something we need to make sure our clients understand, as well. Sure, someone could save a nice chunk of change by doing a for-sale-by-owner and not having to pay a commission to a REALTOR®. But in the long run, they could save the time, energy and money it would cost them to effectively market their house by simply hiring you.

Eating Healthy at the Office and on the Go

It’s a new year, and with it comes the resolutions. Many of us start the year off looking for advice on self-improvement, and often these goals are focused on weight loss and eating healthy. One of the primary contributors to diet is lifestyle. REALTORS® spend a lot of time on the go, and sometimes it’s hard not to fall into poor eating habits. So, if you’re looking to trim your waistline a little this year, here are a few tips that could help you maintain your resolution.

1: Ditch the junk. It’s time to remove temptation, so empty the candy bowl, get rid of the chips and remove any other unhealthy food you have sitting around the office. I wouldn’t cut it out of your diet completely because, from personal experience, that just makes you crave it. But don’t keep it easily accessible -- that way, if you have a hankering for something sweet or salty, you’ll have to put forth more effort to get it. You’d be surprised how many times you’ll simply settle for what’s convenient and skip your not-so-healthy snack. If you end up at the store because you just have to have those cookies, that’s OK -- just make sure you buy a single serving and don’t stock up the pantry at home or the office snack drawer.

2: Make time for meals. One of the biggest reasons people on the go eat so poorly is we forget to set aside time to eat. But this is important -- food is the fuel that runs your body and mind. If you’re running on crud, you can expect a cruddy performance. Also, you need a break and time to relax and unwind, even if it’s for just 30 minutes.  So take the time to have a decent meal. You’re not as busy as you think, and with a little better time management, you’ll be sure to get everything done.

3: Take home leftovers. Be honest with yourself -- you’re not going to stop eating out. American culture revolves around food. It’s our No. 1 social interaction, and many business dealings happen over lunch. But a little bit of portion control can go a long way. Next time you’re out to lunch or dinner, ask the waiter to bring a to-go box with your meal. Immediately put half your meal in the box to take home. You’ll still have plenty to eat and you’ll be getting two meals out of one, which helps slim your waistline and fatten your pocket book.

4: Plan your meals. Again, we circle back to the convenience thing -- it’s so easy to just grab something on the way home when you’re hungry and impatient. But with a little planning ahead of time, you can make mealtime at home easier. Make a menu before you go to the grocery store, and shop for all of the ingredients you’ll need for the week. (Remember, don’t shop hungry, or all kinds of not-good-for-you goodies will find their way into your cart!) Also, take advantage of slow cookers -- throw something in before you leave for work in the morning and you’ll have a great meal waiting for you when you get home that night.

5: Keep snacks at your desk. I don’t know about you, but I struggle with the 3 p.m. munchies, and this is the easiest time to go hit up a vending machine. So keep something healthy at your desk like an apple, carrot sticks or a prepackaged serving of nuts.

6: Drink water. Water is one of the most important things you need. Your body is made up of about 60% water, and it is important in everything from digestion to maintaining your body temperature. Carry a water bottle with you so you’ll always have a drink available. If you don’t like drinking plain water, there are a lot of low-calorie flavor enhancers on the market these days that can make your water tastier. And, not only is drinking water a healthy choice, but substituting it for higher calorie drinks like soda will help cut calories from your diet.