Summary: Summary: I set my goals for March 2015. Can I ramp up my exercise, learn the guitar, and double traffic to this website? We'll find out...

Time to Set Goals

Well look at that, it's March already. I'm looking forward to not losing whole days to shoveling. In related news, I am hoping to score a bargain on an end of season snow blower.

Let's waste no further time and get right to the goals:

Personal 1: Work out 7 Times

Over the last two years, working out has been one of my biggest failings. I simply don't get to the gym and do either the amount of running or the amount of weight training I should be.

What do I do for exercise? I walk my dog, Jake. We've gone on some epic walks. Walking is good exercise, but I need to step up the intensity.

Towards the end of February, I took a few minutes in one day to do sets of push-ups. I didn't get too far, before I realized what happens when you don't use muscles in awhile. This:

So the goal this month is to ramp up the physical activity. I'm going to take baby steps and aim for 7 workouts... less than once for every four days.

Personal 2: Re-"learn" the guitar

I broke out my guitar for the first time in more than 10 years. My wife didn't know what to make of it, because she'd never seen me play. I'm sure she never expected me to pick it up either.

So why did I pick it up? My oldest son is about as musically gifted as a 2-year old can be. If he's interested in the guitar, I want to be able to help him with it.

Yes, age 2 is far too young for any kind of meaningful teaching. However, my expertise in guitar comes solely from a 10-class introduction that I took place more a long, long time ago. I'm no Joe Perry.

In March, I'd like to be good with four basic cords. As a stretch goal, I'd like to be able to play the beginning of Weezer's Undone (Sweater Song)... which was the best I could do in my training class.

Be Better Now: Double traffic

March will be the third month of Be Better Now. In February, I was able to more than double the traffic of the first month. Next week, I'll go into the gory details with the monthly review.

Doubling traffic (growing 100%) is easy when you are just starting out. It becomes a lot more difficult once you get bigger.

It's far too early for me to run into the Wheat and the Chessboard Problem, so I'm optimistic that I can double traffic. That will be the benchmark for at least the next couple of months.

Please check back in the first week of April to see how I did. Better yet, why not join me and set some goals for yourself for the month?

This post involves:

Monthly Goals

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Summary: Sleep is one of the most important things in our lives. Here's how to be a little better at it. (Tweet This!)

If there's one topic of Be Better Now that I don't know how to categorize it is sleep. It naturally seems to fit in health. However, one could make a strong case it fits in the mind section. It has a large impact on productivity and hence money.

Most sleep experts seem to recommend that we get 8 hours of sleep each night. The simple math tells us that 1/3rd of our lives is spent sleeping. If you live to 75 years old, approximately 25 years could be spent sleeping.

Any way you slice it sleep is a Big Deal.

My dog sleeps like this.

With anything as big as that any kind of optimization multiplies itself substantially. If you be effective in 7 hours of sleep you'll get more than three years of your life back.

I shouldn't need to convince you any more, so here are a few ways to get better sleep:

  • Take a Nap - I am a huge fan of naps. I have them planned into my day. With the nap, I can get be productive until 11PM or later. Without the nap, I start to wind down right after dinner.

    My wife isn't a nap person. Sometimes she gives it a try and just wakes up more tired than she was before. Do what works for you.

  • Time Your Nap Right - Almost Bohemian tells of Salvador Dali sleeping with a key. You sit in a chair to fall asleep holding a key. When you fall asleep, the key falls and the sound of it on the floor wakes you up rested. It's timed so that you get to your most relaxed point. The best part is that you don't oversleep.
  • Fight Back - Try to stay awake. Your body wants to sleep and you may be anxiously trying to get to sleep. If you try to stay awake you won't be anxious and hence fall asleep. It even has a long name and scientific research: paradoxical intention. You can read more about it here
  • Enlist some Technology - There are apps for your smart phones and devices like the Fitbit Flex that will track your sleep. I'm most excited about the Luna Smartbed, which is just a cover over your mattress that delivers a lot of data without having to wear any uncomfortable gadgets.

Further Reading:

The Harvard Medical School Guide to a Good Night's Sleep has only 18 reviews on Amazon with is typically too small for me to recommend. However, reviewers collective rate it at 4.3 stars... and there's the Harvard Medical School aspect going for it.

Looking for something with better (and more) reviews? Sleep Smarter: 21 Proven Tips to Sleep Your Way To a Better Body, Better Health and Bigger Success has 88 Amazon reviews and an incredible 4.7 stars. The Kindle price is currently a penny under a fiver which seems like a very good deal.

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Health / Fitness

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Summary: The most powerful weapon for beating the clutter monster is right between your ears: your mind - (Tweet This!)

This article would have been published hours ago if I only I acted on the title. My desk has so much clutter on it, that I can't effectively use it to write. Instead I sit on the couch, with poor posture and not in a good working environment.

It's not just my desk. It's my computer's desktop as well. Icons stretch far off the windows screen. I have folders, but they are so many that they stretch off the screen.

It's time to clean the clutter.

Why We Need to Declutter

Basketball in a suit of armor

Intimidating, but not effective.

Clutter saps my focus. Instead of doing what I need to do, I'm thinking about the mound of mess. I can forget about finding the business card from last year's conference... which means lost opportunities.

These things may not seem like much, but they add up and they have a "mental weight" for me. It's like trying to play basketball in a suit of armor. You can't play your best game.

Causes of Clutter

I can think of three main causes of clutter:

  1. Not enough time to put the clutter away
  2. Not enough space for one's physical "clutter" requirement
  3. A mental block with throwing stuff away

I find myself with dealing with #1 and #3 on a regular basis. The problem with time is that there's never enough of it. I'm getting there with all the productivity tips that I'm learning. Also, since clutter costs me time, it is a vicious circle. If I can clear off the time to clean it, it will save me even more time in the future.

The mental block is tougher to deal with. It sometimes hurts me to throw stuff away. These are thinks that I think:

What if I need that again? It cost me money to buy it, so I'm throwing away money. It must have value to someone, so I just need to find that person. If I find that person, I'll be helping save the environment by giving this thing another life.

It's not like I'm saving pizza boxes from 1987 like you might see in an episode of hoarders. However, you get the idea that I'm not much of a minimalist.

Mind Over Clutter

Finally, there's the idea that you might not have enough for your "clutter." In this scenario, I put "clutter" in quotes, because the items may not be clutter in the traditional sense. They could be very useful and even necessary items, but the lack of a designated space or "home" for the items could create the issue.

Get Your Mind into Declutter

So what do you do if it hurts to get rid of things? You do it slowly, taking a few baby steps each day. This way you build a resistance to those questions. You make throwing away a few things habit.

Alternatively, you could designate a few items to go to charity or a yard sale. Simply have a couple boxes appropriately marked in any storage space you do have. Then when you find yourself saying "This must gave value to someone", you have an answer. You don't have to feel bad about harming the environment as you might if you throw it away.

It gets even better. You might even get a tax deduction and save money by getting rid of the item.

Further Reading

If you are looking for more actionable tips, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo is rated 4.5 out of 5 stars by nearly a thousand reviewers on Amazon. That's a lot of value for under $10.

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Declutter, Mind

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Summary: Housing is American's biggest expense - 40% on average. Make smart choices and save hundreds of thousands of dollars! (Tweet This!)

Did you know that according to government data Americans spend 41% of their money on their home? Sure that’s data from December 2011, and furnishings and utilities, but still nearly a third of everyone’s money goes towards their rent or mortgage.

Saving money on housing

Plan well and you'll be tossing money around like this house.

Housing is the highest living expense for most people. It is one place where saving a little money can have a tremendous impact on your finances for years.

Buy Vs. Rent

There are epic debates on whether you should or buy or rent. The war has been waged for decades and will likely continue for many more decades. Those on the “buy” side say that renting is “throwing money away.” Those that rent say that they enjoy not having to fix everything themselves.

At some level, both situations can work. If someone were to rent you the perfect home for a single dollar a month, for life, you’d be a fool not to take it. If someone were charging you a thousand dollars a month for rent, but willing to sell it to you for ten thousand, you’d be a fool not to buy it.

The final answer is very complicated, but it comes down to:

  1. What is best for you
  2. The valuation of buying vs. renting

How do you calculate the valuation of buying vs. renting? Take the price to buy a property and divide it by the annual cost to rent a similar property. If that number is around 16, it doesn’t matter. If it is over 16 you want to rent and if it is under 16 you want to buy. If it is just 15 or 18, that’s only a small indication to buy or rent. However, if the number gets to be 12 and under or 20 and over, you’ve got yourself a fairly definitive valuation.

For example, let’s imagine I have a small starter home that costs $100,000 to buy. However, there’s one in the same development that’s for rent at $900/mo. The price-to-rent is 9.25 ($100,000 divided by an annual rent of $10,800). This number is far below 16 and a strong indication that you’d do much better to buy.

It isn’t likely that your perfect home is going to fit that ideal scenario, but you can do this calculation for similar properties to get an idea if your area is a buyer’s or a renter’s market. You may even find that there are helpful tables like this one from Bankrate that give you the price-to-rent ratios in many cities as well as the United States in general. As I write this, Honolulu is 34.63, which almost commands you to rent. Conversely Detroit’s 7.16 number couldn’t scream “Buy Me!” any louder.

Improve Your Credit

Whether you are buying or renting, you’ll want to have the best credit score possible. If you are renting a great credit score tells the landlord: “I’m a responsible person who pays my debts on time.” A poor one says, “You are taking a big risk if you rent to me.” Which renter do you think has more power when it comes to negotiating a rent?

When buying a home, your credit score is even more important. It is used by banks to determine how much interest you’ll pay on a mortgage. A small difference in an interest rate means quite a bit over the 30-year span of mortgages that most people get. It can easily lead to a difference of a hundred thousand dollars or more.

Learn to Negotiate

Whether you are buying or renting, you are going to end up at the negotiating table. The seller or the landlord wants to maximize their money too. If you can negotiate just $50 a month off rent, you’ll save your $600 a year.

If you are buying, you may be able to shave ten or twenty thousand dollars off of the price.

Don’t Buy Too Much House

You’ve probably heard the expression “House Poor.” This happens when people pay too much for their home. The monthly payments are so large, they don’t have enough money for other necessities. And that means no money for saving and investing. And that means delaying your journey to financial freedom.

Your goal should be to buy a home that fits your needs. Many people think they need a McMansion, but living in small home can lead to a big payoff. They are (typically) cheaper to buy, require less furniture, and are easier to heat and cool saving money on utilities.

Some people take the “smaller is better” saying to the extreme and choose to live in very tiny houses. This allows them to pay off their mortgage in just a few years. The tiny house lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but eliminating one of life’s biggest expenses in a couple of years is a huge step to financial freedom.

Putting it All Together

These tips can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime. They could jump-start you to financial freedom. When buying a home, the stakes are tremendous. Decisions that seem small make a huge difference.

This post involves:

Money / Personal Finance, Save Money, Smart Spending

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Summary: Living chemical free is not a realistic goal, but some easy substitutions go a long way (Tweet This!)

Live Chemical Free

When my wife was pregnant with our two children she took health to a new level. She did everything possible to avoid chemicals. Artificial sweeteners were replaced with organic agave such as this. Full calorie soda was kicked to the curb due to high-fructose corn syrup. There was an occasional splurge on Mexican Coke, which is made with cane sugar.

Imagine making those changes with everything you eat. That's what she did for two, long 9-month stretches.

Finding something to drink at a restaurant turned into a very difficult process. Ever notice how alcohol and soda dominate a restaurant? Even if you find some kind of juice, it is mostly going to be high-fructose corn syrup and water... not particularly healthy.

All of this brings me to the question?

Can You Live Chemical Free?

Nope. No way, no how. You can't. It's like trying to pitch a perfect game and striking out all 27 batters on 3 pitches.

Chemicals are everywhere.

It's not just my opinion, but also the doctor's in this article.

There's a lot of talk about being "chemical-free" which is why I prominently put it in the title. I think it's a poor term that focuses on extremism rather than useful. As the saying goes, perfect is the enemy of good.

Don't go in with a goal of pitching that extreme perfect game, just do you best with what's in-front at the time and you'll be fine.

Chemicals Aren't Necessarily Bad...

Before we go too far, I want to make the point that chemicals aren't necessarily bad. Science has done a lot of tremendous stuff for us, including creating the technology to allow you to read this. It doesn't feel right to say, "Hey this branch of science is really good and useful and this other branch is always harmful."

Even in the most controversial cases, it seems like it is the public that is confused about the science. For example, this from Pew Research:

"A majority of the general public (57%) says that genetically modified (GM) foods are generally unsafe to eat, while 37% says such foods are safe; by contrast, 88% of AAAS scientists say GM foods are generally safe. The gap between citizens and scientists in seeing GM foods as safe is 51 percentage points. This is the largest opinion difference between the public and scientists."

It looks like it's a case where the public doesn't understand health studies, is caught up in misinformation from a few bad eggs trying to get in the spotlight, or simply is fearful of something they don't understand.

I feel like chemicals are often painted with the same broad brush.

Final Thoughts...

My philosophy on this is that it's good to eliminate most chemicals when we can, but don't go overboard. Many people are living healthy long lives and most all of them are not checking their food for chemicals.

I suggest you look to make changes when you can. For example, I don't buy tomato sauce in a jar any more. I make it with diced tomatoes, tomato sauce (in a can), and tomato paste. I buy them all organic as it is only a few cents more. I've eliminated high-fructose corn syrup from my diet.

Another thing to look out for is BBQ sauce. Most brands have high-fructose corn syrup, but a few don't. For example, Bulls-eye BBQ uses real sugar.

Finally, my friends at DIY Natural have more advice than I can ever give you. Not only do they cover food, but they cover toiletries and other items. Their DIY Natural Household Cleaners book is highly recommended with an average of 4.3 stars over 125 reviews.

This post involves:

Diet, Health / Fitness, Weight Loss

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Summary: Knowing is half the battle, doing is the other half. These motivation tips will help with the "doing." (Tweet This!)

There's always been a wide gap between knowing what to do and actually going out and doing it. When I was a young tike, I had G.I. Joe reminding me every day that knowing is half the battle. Whose with me for a 6-second trip down memory lane:

This website, and all the information on the internet in general, can help you win the "knowing" half of the battle.

The problem is usually the "doing" half of the battle. There's limited time, energy, and even willpower to get it all done.

I think half of the "doing" half of the battle is simply to get yourself motivated. If you are mentally engaged to go and know what you want to do, you almost have it done.

To help get and keep me motivated, I've compiled some motivation tips. This way, whenever I need a boost, I can come back here. This is one of the articles on Be Better Now that will get updated over time as I learn new motivation tips and tricks.

Stay Hungry

If you have to work hard every day to put food on the table, you have built-in motivation. On the other hand, if you have $3 million dollars in a trust fund that your Daddy set up for you, perhaps you'd be a little more tempted to kick up your heals and relax a bit.

One way to stay hungry is to...

Make Yourself the Underdog (Even If You Aren't)

Former New England Patriot Rodney Harrison is famous for playing the "no respect" card. It kept him and the defense motivated even as the Patriots dominated opponents for years.

They'd use any and every media sound bite from the other team's locker room to twist it into, "They don't respect us. We'll show them how wrong they are!" When they focused on that, it took attention away from the fact that sometimes the opponents were terrible teams. This prevented any kind of let down.

Motivating Media

I always like to keep a bunch of motivation media around. Here are some of the movies and music and scenes that got me motivated.

Find an Inspirational Speaker

It kills me to write this. Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis has put together some great motivational speeches. Here’s an example of one such speech:

(As a side note, I think Ray Lewis is a nut based on some of things he’s said as a broadcaster and his checkered history.)

In a future post we'll get into both music and movies that are inspiring. For now, I'll leave you with Rocky, which is a rare motivating movie with motivating music.

This post involves:

Mind, Motivation

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Summary: Looking to get more done? Start by eliminating these digital distractions. (Tweet This!)

This sign is a digital distraction

I spend many hours working on the web. I'm writing articles, coding special features, answering tons of emails. While I'm doing all this, I'm wondering, "How many people came to the site today?" and "How much money did I actually make?"

Even if I convince myself that I typically make the same amount and do the same traffic every day (it's true), I then start wonder what else is going on. How are my stocks performing? Did the Patriots sign a free agent?

Bottom line: I have the attention span of a cat and the internet is full of bright shiny objects.

It's a problem that I'm still struggling to solve. I've found some things that help me.

  • Set a timer and work until it buzzes - If you read How To Be Productive, you learned that research shows it is optimal to work for 52 minutes and then take a 17 minute break.
  • Use multiple browser profiles - I love Firefox. One of my favorite things about it is the ability to have different profiles. I have one profile for just Be Better Now. I have a different profile for following stocks, sports, and everything else. When I writing for Be Better Now, I shut down my other browsers. Without easy autocomplete, I don't check all the other websites.
  • Remove all notifications - I make sure that I don't have any apps that alert me with email popups, IMs, or anything like that.
  • Get some software help - Rescue Time is a program that monitors what you are doing on your computer. Then you get reports about what is taking up your time. Once you know what is sapping your productivity, you can proactively look to eliminate the distractions.

While it isn't exactly a perfect fit for digital distractions, I found a related book with 191 ratings with a 4.6 average rating: Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder

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Summary: You need a budget. Pick one of these three budget systems to take control of your money. (Tweet This!)

It's almost impossible to make money without being on some kind of budget. While some people think budgets are sexy, I think they can be a lot of work.

Here I cover three different types of budgets systems. We'll cover the pros and cons, which may help you pick the right system for you.

Budget System #1. Meticulously Keeping Track

There are a lot of systems that are quite tedious. Some of them require a lot of time tracking with a pen and paper or an Excel spreadsheet.

There is also an Envelope System where people put cash in envelopes at the beginning of the month and use it to pay their bills. They are forced not to go over budget because there's no money left in the envelope.

For beginners or those in debt, keeping track of every expense can be critical to their financial success.

budget system boy

Budget System #2. Reviewing in Retrospect Using Software

I use credit cards to make all my purchases. This allows me to earn rewards and cash back on almost everything I buy. It adds up! I pay them off in full every month using their "autopay" option. I never have to remember to write a check and I don't have to buy and stamps.

Using credit cards also gives me an unexpected benefit. I can use tools like Personal Capital or <a href=">Mint to review the previous month's spending in various categorizes.

It doesn't prevent me from over-spending at restaurants like the envelope system, but I can review my spending at the end of the month and correct my mistakes next month.

This is great because all the organization is done for you. Instead of spending hours meticulously document each item you spent money on, you can spend a half hour at the end of the month and learn a lot.

Budget System #3. Don't Budget at All

I'm borrowing this from Mr. Money Mustache who "make(s) spending decisions based on [his family's] values." He does this by asking the following questions:

  1. Will buying this really improve my overall lifetime happiness?
  2. Is there another, more efficient way to meet this same need?
  3. Can the same benefit be had if I delay the purchase?

I use a similar set of guidelines, but I'm a little more "loose" with my spending. If the product is low-priced and just a one-time buy, I try not to get too bogged on the process. The questions are in the back of my head, but I rely on my instincts and trust that my frugal habits will make the right decision.

When things are more expensive or the kind of thing that I'm going to buy over and over again, I spend more time thinking about the purchase. The more expensive something is the more I think about it. I might put an hour into deciding whether a year of Amazon Prime is worth it. At the high end, I'm going to put in several weeks of research before deciding on a car to buy.

In either of cases, I'm going to ask myself similar to questions like Mr. Money Mustache. However, instead of asking if something is really going to improve my overall lifetime happiness, I instead think about whether the purchase is going to reduce stress in my life. It may lead to the same answers for most people, but I feel like being more specific helps me on many purchases.

Conclusion and Further Reading

I can't tell you which budgeting system is right for you. For people who have difficulty with debt, it makes sense to meticulously track your budget. However, I recommend everyone strive to discipline themselves to manage their expenses with the second and third methods.

My feeling is that if I can get 80% of the value for 20% of the work (see Parento Principle) that's the way to go. In this case, I feel like I get 95% of the benefit with 5% of the work. That saves me time for other activities.

If you really just don't know where to start here are a couple of highly rated budgeting books.

  • The Budget Kit - 70 people collectively give this book 4.3 stars on Amazon. Spending under $20 could save you thousands.
  • The One Week Budget - 164 people collective give this 4.7 stars on Amazon. It seems like a great deal to get the Kindle version at a little more than $6.
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Budget, Money / Personal Finance, Smart Spending

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Summary: Here's what's going on at Be Better Now including the next charity update and Posts of the Month (Tweet This!)

Each month, I thought I'd give readers a sneak peak of some of the details that goes on behind the scenes at Be Better Now. As this is the first report, I expect it to be a bit of a litmus test. Your feedback in the comments below is always appreciated.

(Usually the report will be earlier in the month. This one is almost the latest it can be because the 2nd Friday of the month falls on the 13th.)

What's New at Be Better Now

Because the website is so new, there's a lot of room for improvement. I wasn't keeping track of every improvement, because it hadn't occurred to me to write about them until just now.

Over the last month, there were a couple of major changes. I learned now to make nice rounded corners in HTML that should work in most any browser. So now you get nice blue bubbles in the section and article summaries as you can see here. It replaces a bright yellow box that had a dotted blue square border. Small changes make a big difference.

The bubble box redesign continued through to the search button, some tip boxes (such as the one here), and even the heading on the right column.

I've also added social bookmarking icons in the top right of the site. They've told me that they are lonely, so please play with them if you have the time.

I added related articles to the bottom of every article. I'm hoping that another article will catch your eye and you'll stay virtually trapped here forever enjoy learning something new.

I've still got a list of things that I'd like to do about a mile long. I've got to balance that with creating great articles that you'll love. However, I feel good knowing that the website is approximately 217% better than it was a month ago.

Be Better Now Traffic

In future months, the traffic report will (hopefully) be much more exciting. In January, I launched this site with almost no promotion and it looks like it.

I'm sure that sounds crazy. Why put all this work into it and not promote it?

Be Better Now wasn't where I wanted it to be for a big public launch. I want people to see a quality product that they love coming back to everyday. Be Better Now still isn't there. I'm not sure if it truly ever gets there. I think it is just an ongoing journey of improvement that I need to appreciate.

If you are reading this, consider yourself as one of the lucky few who knew Be Better Now "way back when." For January, Be Better Now had 257 visits for 407 page views according to Sitemeter.

Charity Update

Each month, Be Better Now gives money to charity. In January, I chose to give to Best Buddies. Tom Brady's charity to help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The amount that I donate is based on traffic to this website on a formula. Unfortunately that formula would have me donating roughly 30 cents to the charity. I had an idea that would happen so it gets $25 now, and put to the front of the line when traffic gets to a level where they can expect a $200 check.

The not-so-subtle message, I am sending here is: Tell people about this website so we can make some money for charity.

Next Month's Charity is...

Washington Parkinsons Russell Wilson

After giving money to support Tom Brady's Best Buddies charity last month, it seems only right give money to something that Russell Wilson supports, the Washington Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association. If that seems a little random, Suzanna Eller, the President of Board of Directors, is an old friend of mine who I've kind of lost touch with.

So if I can give some money to worthy charity, connect with a friend, help a region with a tough loss, and show a little good sportsmanship... why not?

The only potential downside is that Suzanna has been extraordinary successful at everything she does. When I tell her about this, she'll probably send a flood of traffic taking down the site and my bank account. On the flipside, if traffic is once again too low to be significant, we'll do what we did with Brady's charity... send on the $25 and push it just under Brady for a future month when things pick up.

In Case You Missed It...

Of course all the articles on Be Better Now are awesome. Some are just a little more awesome than others. For that reason I thought I'd use this space to highlight a few of the articles that you might have missed last month:

With that, let's finally put January 2015 in the books. After all, it is already halfway through February!

This post involves:

Charity, Monthly Review

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Summary: Exercise your brain with these tips on how to remember numbers. (Tweet This!)

I've always had a knack for remembering numbers. Names on the other hand... I've got a lot of work to do there. If you don't have a mind for numbers, this is your lucky day. I'm going to show you how to be at least a little better.

Research shows that most people can really only remember 5-8 numbers at a time. However, with the following tips you may be able to remember a lot more.

How To Remember Numbers

Was that 13 or 24?

  1. Chunk the numbers into groups - Memory experts recommend that one of the best ways to remember numbers is to chunk them into groups. For example, it is easier to remember 27 than it is to remember a 2 and a 7. You may be find that 3 or even 4 digit chunks work for you.
  2. Associate the numbers with something familiar - If you a football fan, you may already do this. For me, as a big Patriots fan, I associate the number 54 with Tedy Bruschi. Number 12 is Tom Brady. For a long time I thought that filling my head with Roman Phifer's number 95 was just junk. Turns out that it can be useful.
  3. Ask the person to repeat the number - Some people are auditory learners, which means that hearing the number helps trigger their memory.
  4. Repeat the number yourself - This helps me more with names than numbers, but I've heard others swear by this trick.
  5. Visualize the number - Picture the number in your head. Another trick people use is to associate the shapes of the letters with an image (like a doughnut for zero or a stick for one). I haven't had any luck with it though.
  6. Write the number down - Okay, so this last tip flies in the face of "remembering the number"... not entirely though. When you write the number you use your sense of touch and physical motor skills. This helps many sensory people. There is no guarantee you won't lose the number, and this is a lot safer than mailing it to yourself.

I realize that some of these tips aren't exactly ground-breaking. I realize that some of the articles here are quite complex. I'm trying to remember to keep it simple sometimes.

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