Wednesday Tailtip: Instant pot

Hello Fuzzbutts!

As a follow-up to a previous tailtip about meal prep, I wanted to give a quick tip on my favorite way to meal prep: I bought an instant pot.

My multi-function 8-in-1 cooker has all kinds of functions. I can make rice, yogurt, slow cook foods, and program how I want it cooked. I love it because I can throw stuff into it in the morning, set the timer, and it’s kept warm after the programmed time and I have everything ready when I’m home! I also use it on Sundays where I throw enough food into it to prepare all my lunches for the week.

Mine was around ~$80 so it wasn’t a huge investment but it has made my life much easier. Hopefully you’ll also learn how to eat healthier as you search up tons of recipes online. Good luck!

Stop Decision Fatigue: Make your Life Simple

Hello, fuzzbutts!

Let’s talk about decision fatigue again. The gist of it is that as the day goes on, we make a bunch of decisions across a wide range of things. Unfortunately, it turns out we only have so much brainpower to dedicate for making these decisions. This makes it tough to decide what to have for dinner or what you actually want to do when you have some time after work/school! The process of decision-making applies from simpler things like what you’re going to wear that day, what breakfast you’ll eat, to more complex stuff like weighing the pros and cons of how to prioritize the tasks you have to get done for the day’s work. (Scientific American)

By the end of the day, when you finally have time to do the things that are important, you’re spent! Big or little, all decision draw from the same pool. So how can we preserve our little reservoir of brainpower?

Give yourself less decisions to make.

What does that mean? It means choosing to give yourself less decisions. How can we do this? Standardizing your life.

“But how?” you’re asking. Don’t worry little fuzzbutt. I have some examples I use in my own life.

I meal prep my lunches for the week. I don’t have to spend any time during the week deciding what I want to eat at work tomorrow because the decision was made and only needed to be made once.

I have a morning routine before work. I get up, use the bathroom, get dressed for work (same pants, grab the shirt furthest on the left on the rack), make the same breakfast, brush my teeth, comb my hair, grab my lunch and go. If I somehow end up with any spare time in the morning, I fool around on my PC to ease into the day.

At work, I go through another routine. I check my email and drink coffee at my desk. If there’s samples to prepare, then I do that first. Then I see if there’s any data to go over. Once that’s done, I go over my to-do list and then goals. This is continuously interrupted by new emails, meetings, and people wanting a face-to-face chat about something or other. Still, the skeleton of my work day is kept intact and it’s automatic.

No. I’m not saying to be a robot.

What I’m saying is that we have to remove unnecessary decisions from our lives and just make things easier on ourselves to keep us sane and productive. We usually can’t avoid decisions at school and work but we can do our best at home which leaves us free to pursue interests with clear heads. I have my morning routine during the week but that usually goes out the window on weekends since there’s no big responsibilities to burn me out.

On top of saving your brain, expect to save time!

Watch yourself this week and see where you tend to get hung up on a decision. Did you spend longer than a minute deciding what to wear? Did you procrastinate deciding what to eat? What aspects of your life can you set on auto-pilot so you don’t waste your brain on trivial things? Feel free to let me know how you’re doing!

Also, the PBB sandwich recipe is just peanut butter spread on multigrain bread with slices of banana in it. Thanks to Halon for introducing me to the concept of having it for breakfast. Wuffles Pro Tip: If you’re really lazy, break the banana in half and lay it onto the bread. Bites will be terribly inconsistent but you get all the nutrients and you can enjoy being lazy.

Being Productive Takes Energy

For the first post, I felt it would be good to discuss having a good pool to draw your energy from. This means improving your lifestyle to get more done! It makes thing so much easier when you actually have energy for the various things you need to do. Below are just a few ways to help you feel better mentally and physically so you can accomplish whatever you desire.

Your Diet Is Holding You Back

Alright, fuzzbutts, there’s a hard truth to confront. Your diet is likely holding you back. Yes, the diet that has kept you alive to this point has also been one of the reasons you feel so lousy, frazzled, and overall UGH. The frustrating part is you KNOW there’s ways to eat better but it’s so much easier to take a complete meal out of the freezer and pop it into the microwave. I’m not saying you need to go full vegan or ketogenic or whatever. You DO need to start assessing and looking at what you’re eating and decide whether or not it’s actually worth eating it at the expense of your health. Start exploring easy ways to cook healthier food. A quick google search and you’ll be drowning in 10-minute recipes that are good for you.

Get Your Fuzzy Butt To Bed

“Sleep? Are you crazy, Wuffles? I have stuff to do! I can’t be productive if I’m asleep!” you say. “Lies!” I respond. Walking around like a stressed out zombie just means you’re taking way longer to just do a tiny bit of work. You have to sleep if you want to function. Important biological functions occur while you sleep, probably the biggest being the flushing of harmful toxins from your brain (Univ. Rochester Study). You can’t escape sleep, either, so why fight it? Your energy and mental clarity will be way better off if you stick to a routine which will make you more productive. I know those of us in school or working just love staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights, not having to get up on time the next day. Stop that. A regular sleep schedule leads to improved quality of sleep. There’re other ways to improve your sleep I’ll go into with later posts.

Moooooove

You knew this was coming. You might have cringed when I discussed diet but here’s the bad one. You need to exercise. You do. You know you do. So just do something. Enough with the multitude of excuses. Bad knees? Try some sit ups or push-ups. Bad neighborhood so you can’t run outside? Dress poor and run outside so you don’t get robbed OR just do some jumping jacks inside until your heart rate is up. There’s all kinds of things you can do. Think it’s all about cardio? It’s not. Weight lifting increases your muscle size which increases your resting metabolism, meaning you burn more calories by just existing with more muscle. The benefit of working out is that it snowballs. You can run on the treadmill and see you burned 300 Calories. What you also need to know is once you step off the treadmill, your body continues burning at a higher rate for hours (Afterburn Effect). This also applies to weightlifting since your body also goes into a repair mode for your muscles. Fair warning: You will feel hungrier than usual once you start working out, especially in the early phase. This often results to people eating more food than they usually do and the extra calories undo the work you just did! Prevent this by maintaining your portions and resisting the urge to have MORE. If you think your health prevents you from working out, then you’re wrong speak to a doctor who can help give a framework on how to start.

Simplify

I’m probably going to get into this a lot in many of my posts. We only have so much brainpower to dish out each day. Given that most of us have school or work, that’s going to be the big brain burner already so we need to ration what’s left! In future posts I’ll discuss ways to make things easier on yourself throughout the day but the gist is to assess where your energy tends to go during the day (How much time do you spend figuring out what to wear for the day? Do you have to decide every single day what you’re doing to eat? Is there somebody in your life who is constantly seeking your attention for a new crisis?).  Managing your mental energy lets you dedicate it to the things that really matter to you. For more about decision fatigue, check out this Wiki.

That’s all for now!

I sorta went a mile wide and an inch deep with this post because I do feel these are important enough to launch into right now and explore deeper as part of my future productivity posts. I hope my style resonates with you and I will make other posts a little more personal to my own experience rather than just lecturing you adorable fuzzbutts.