New Year, New Ideas


Happy New Year! We hope you had a fun and relaxing break with family and friends.
 
As always, the holidays flew by, and we’re already into the first weeks of 2015 wondering where the time has gone. Which is why, when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, we knew we had to keep it simple. Here’s what we’ve got:  

Cut back on sugar

Everyone has a bête noire in their diet, and mine is sugar. In the warmer months, it's easy to reach for yogurt with fresh fruit when I get the munchies. In the winter, I'm way too likely grab cookies or pumpkin bread or hot chocolate. So I'm going back to a rule that's worked for me better than any sort of official diet: No more than 25 grams of added sugar a day. That basically means that I don't drink sweetened beverages and that if I want a dessert, I choose carefully and have only a small serving, or better, make it myself and use less sugar than the recipe calls for. Totally doable.  -- KW

I will not be rushed

The last three months of 2014 were ridiculously busy for me. In that time, I realized that most of the stress in my life comes from people who are trying to make me do things faster. At work, that's unreasonable deadlines. At home, it's toddlers who are so eager for me to get out of the shower that they ram the bathroom door with their riding toys.
 
Let me explain something. I am not a procrastinator. I am a parent who works full-time. The only way I can get everything done is to do it. The kitchen elves, the housekeeping elves, the editing elves -- they all live in someone else's house. If I am not working full-tilt, not totally focused on the task at hand, it is because my mind desperately needs a rest before it can become functional again. Telling me to hurry up is a complete and utter waste of time. All it does is irritate me. So I am not going to let people do it. I am going to tell them to take a number and get in line. They can fold my laundry while they wait. -- KW

Walk
 
I have tried running. I have tried the gym. I do not like it. What I like is to walk, for hours on end.
 
Unfortunately, it’s increasingly rare that I get the chance to walk. Before I had kids, a day spent hiking was not unusual. Now it's a once-a-year treat -- maybe. But I've got to clear my head somehow. So every day that I work from home, I am going to find a full hour to walk outside during daylight hours (the 9:30 pm walk, after the kids are asleep, is just not as good).

As of January 16, I have blown this resolution repeatedly. I am undeterred. -- KW

Unplug
 
My friend filmmaker Tiffany Shlain and her family have “Technology Shabbats,” turning off their devices and unplugging from Friday evening through Saturday night. “Unplugging for a day makes time slow down and makes me feel more present with my family,” Shlain says, in a short film she put together about the idea. This is something I can get behind. After averaging 10 hours a day on my computer last year, with time in between spent checking my smartphone, the idea of a tech-free day at least once a week has a lot of appeal. Goodness knows I’ve earned the right to unplug. -- CG

Get some fresh air

I’m amazed at how often I spent the entire day inside last year, with the only time spent outside either walking into the office in the morning or heading home at night. No more. I am now making an effort to be outside for least 10 minutes of every workday, even if it’s just standing in the courtyard in front of my office building. I know that 10 minutes doesn’t sound like much, but it’s enough time to listen to Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major and Bohemian Rhapsody, or Danzón No. 2, as conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. Good enough. -- CG


Don't stop me now
 
I have adopted a theme song for 2015. It’s Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” I’m using it is a reminder that every day can be an adventure, filled with opportunities to have fun and try new things.  I don’t know if every day will turn out that way, but I’m trying to be optimistic here, and if a 3.5 minute song can help me through even a third of the days ahead this year, how bad can that be? -- CG

January 16, 2015
 
Missed our last issue? Here you go:
Ditching the Holiday Stress

If you liked this story, you might also like:
Resolved: 2014 Will be Awesome 
New Year's Resolutions That Might Actually Work
You'll Never Regret...

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Photo courtesy of flickr user Moyan Brenn  


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Thought This Might Be of Interest


Awesome. Really. Tommy Caldwell and his partner Kevin Jorgeson completed the first free climb of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite Valley this week, which many say is one the hardest rock climbs in the world. Outdoor gear maker Patagonia has a  worthwhile recap of the climb, including photos from the summit. Their achievement even earned kudos from President Barack Obama, who tweeted, "So proud of @TommyCaldwell1 and @KJorgeson for conquering El Capitan. You remind us that anything is possible. -bo" 

Diversity in tech--with money Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker, announced a new effort last week to achieve diversity in its workforce, saying it would spend $300 million as part of its efforts to hire more minorities and women. More important, the company said it would tie 2015 managers' bonuses to its diversity goals, making it one of the first tech companies to tie compensation to such efforts. Said Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, "This isn't just good business. This is the right thing to do." Intel's goal is to have a more diverse workforce by 2020 -- right now, the company is about three-quarters male.

Is this really helping? For better or (more probably) worse, a new website is trying to make it as easy to hire a hacker as it is any other online service provider. On Hacker's List, would-be clients post the jobs they need done and the amounts they're willing to pay; hackers compete to do the dirty work. And, according to the New York Times story, most of it is as unsavory as you would expect: $2,000 to get a client list from a competitor's database; $500 to get into a girlfriend's email and Facebook accounts to see if she's cheating. If there were ever a good reminder not to put any sensitive information in email, this has got to be it.



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