Monday, October 31, 2011

Behaviours to avoid in an airport. Please.

I use to fly from 10 to 15 times a year, often to go and visit my family in Italy.
From Madrid, the city where I live, it's not a long journey. A little bit more than a couple of hours to reach the nearest airport. Besides visits to Italy, I happen to travel for both business and pleasure.

Today I'll write down just a few typical behaviours I noticed in travellers; behaviours that can be surprising.

  • In absence of finger connecting to the plane, people struggle to overtake you on the way to the plane.
    Typical situations are those of low cost companies: the bus takes you next to the plane, then smart people run faster than you just to arrive first to the plane stairway. Optionally they may look at you out of the corner of their eye while running. As if there were a prize in the plane for the first to come in. These are among the funniest human behaviours you may meet in your life.
    A variation: people trying to overtake you in the very finger connecting the plane to the airport. Yes, I have experienced it. I won't formulate further comment on that.
  • After landing, people coming from rear seats won't let you come out from your row to head to the exit (on the top of the plane). 
    I mean, I won't understand sudden claustrophobia so I am not really tolerant to this. I mean, why should I wait for anybody from behind when I come logically and physically before you? I understand you're in a hurry but try to take advantage of instinct, or at least intuition. And if you miss these qualities, shame on you. 
  • People think they're smarter and will try to jump the queue at the check in. 
    I've seen all sort of excuses, but this subgroup coming from an unknown branch in the human species should become extinct for the wellness of mankind.
  • Groups of people standing in the plane and talking loud as if having a beer in the pub. 
    This is less serious, but equally annoying. This is not a pub, it is a flight, let me relax.

Now seriously. If you recognize yourself in one of these behaviours, re-consider them when flying!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Strategies to get up in the morning

Today I want to talk about the probably hardest of all the challenges you might think of and the most difficult defiant moment of the whole day, especially during winter time, when the bitterly cold temperature of your room makes nearly impossible the mission number one. To get up in the morning.

If you feel lonely, sad and abandoned in that difficult moment, I want you to know that you are not alone. I share with you the sensation that sometimes getting up in the morning is really hard.
And it's even worse if you did not sleep that fine or you have to get up for a meeting that requires you to be on time and brilliant.

Then let me suggest a few strategies to consider if you want to start the day in a better way.
  1. Set the alarms clock one and half hour before getting up
    I used to set the clock so early because realizing that I might spend one hour and half more in the bed, was really great. Once you wake up, set the clock again 90 minutes later and you're done. Moreover, according to investigations, 90 minutes is the perfect duration for a satisfactory nap and sleeping time should always be in multiples of that. Read more here.
  2. Always stretch your body in the bed before getting up
    I really can't get out of bed as soon as the alarm rings. I stretch the whole body, then start making some deep breathings. 
  3. Provide your room is warm enough
    Quite obvious, isn't it? Do you know anybody who loves to wake up with polar temperatures? I assure you that spending a bit more on heating is definitely worth.
  4. Take your time: breakfast and news
    It just applies in case you don't have to wake up childrens, bring them to school or walk your dog. With this idea in your mind, you'll feel that self care comes before your work.
  5. Drink liters of coffee or tea
    Pretty self explanatory, of course.
  6. Get up earlier than due, have breakfast, then go to sleep again
    This is my favourite. It has happened to me a few times; I woke up earlier to finish some work but after breakfast (and coffee) I was not that brilliant. Then going back to bed with clear conscience solved the problem. 
I am used to get up between 8:30 and 9:00. I admit that I am a lucky man, because I get advantage of flexitime at work, besides working at home from time to time. Teleworking and flexitime are probably the main indicators of good quality in your life. I believe that all companies should introduce these measures to improve quality of life. Besides, performance is often amplified by having satisfied employees. 

Tell your boss.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How did I quit smoking

On the next 4th of December it will be my third anniversary since I quit smoking. I, like lots of other ex-smokers, remember this date as it were carved in stone, a monument to my determination, a milestone after years of attempts in the right direction.

I started smoking at the age of fifteen. I remember I used to smoke any brand I would find, out of curiosity and to make myself an expert on tobacco's blendings. I have never been a great smoker, let's say an average of fifteen cigarettes per day. Besides, I was not the only smoker of the gang, all my friends were smokers too so lighting up a cigarette was the most common way to consecrate our meetings.

The first time I tried to leave cigarettes behind, it was at the age of twenty three, and I remember that it took not even three months to go back to old habits.
I finally succeeded in quitting smoking, that was at least after ten attempts along the years. I had to follow some rules to prepare myself for the big moment and repeat some actions to make the stress of abstinence bearable. Then I would like to share with you some ideas that helped me a lot.

  1. Smoke hand-made cigarettes before quitting
    It helped me reduce a lot the number of cigarettes I smoked each day, and I felt my addiction was getting weaker day by day. Lighting up a cigarette is not that easy: rolling one takes time, therefore it is somehow discouraging.
  2. Get ready for the last one cigarette ceremony
    Smoke the last one knowing it will be the last one forever. Of course it must be the last one in the box; then make sure there are no more cigarettes at home. Watching the empty box after smoking the last one will give you a sensation of being free from the vice. If it's nighttime, and you're decided to quit smoking but you still have five or six cigarettes left in the box, take your time and smoke until you empty the box. Doesn't matter if it's late. It will be lovely to get up to a new world, to a new life. Besides, smoking so much will give you an unpleasant feeling, and this will enhance the concept of how much evil is hidden in tobacco.
  3. Start some physical activity
    I quit smoking at the same time I started practising Yoga. Doing some sport helps release the load of stress and tension due to lack of nicotine. Go jogging, to the gym or swimming pool; do something. You must feel that sports and cigarettes cannot coexist.
  4. Drink a lot of water
    Drinking water helps purify your organism from any residual of nicotine.
  5. Light incense sticks in your house.
    The very first days, going back home from work was a real pain. I needed to sit down on my sofa and smoke anything. I started lighting incense sticks at home, they are not addictive and help relax your mind, really. A couple of months will be enough; choose a light flavour.
  6. Consider they are controlling you
    Big tobacco manufacturers receive huge benefits by controlling your independence and making you a slave of the system. And I'm sure you really don't deserve that.
  7. Tell your partner or your friends not to smoke at home.
    Of course, living with a smoker is absolutely incompatible with this particular change in lifestyle. My partner never smoked, then it was easy for me. I'm sure they will be delighted to help you quit smoking so as to go smoke tobacco in the balcony or into the bathroom. Otherwise, maybe it's time to update partner or friends. 
  8. Avoid alcohol, drink coffee
    Yes, and eat chocolate, drink tea and do things that make you happy, at least during a period. The first two weeks without tobacco you probably won't sleep and feel hyperactive the whole day. But after approximately two weeks you will experiment a nostalgic sense of boredom, you will feel empty, meaningless. This is the most dangerous moment. Take care! The emotion of the challenge is over and in order to maintain it alive, drink coffee. I used to sip American coffee the whole day. This kept me awake and willing to do things.
Nowadays I still continue with maintenance routines. Hopefully I quit smoking forever, although every once in while I smoke a Cuban cigar. Much better than cigarettes, at least you don't need to breath smoke in.

I hope these tips help you; if they're not enough, then maybe you need to concentrate some time on the picture in this post!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top 3 tips to look good to your future in-laws

Finally you are there, you didn't expect it would have happened so early, so unexpectedly. The day has come. A lunch, a dinner, a breakfast or whatever. The day you'll meet her parents, you'll have to be prepared.
It's just a matter of months, maybe years if nobody is in a rush; nevertheless I have seen loves at first sight, just few days away to meet her parents.

From my humble experience I would like to share with you three absolutely unavoidable tips to help make this first rendezvous perfect. No need to stress that being relaxed and smiling all the time is absolutely necessary. But besides looking good, well dressed and happy, there is something more.

Here they go:

  1. Take care of your language.
    Language is your visiting card, and if you fail this test, sorry for you, you'll have to work hard to delete the impression you provided. Although using conversational street slung might seem quite natural, you never know who you're talking to. Think twice before saying anything; or even better, think rapidly and speak slowly.
  2. Compliment the cook.
    The most typical situation to make your in-laws acquaintance, is a meal altogether at your girlfriend's house. Of course there is no need to say that you'll absolutely love all the dishes and you'll thank everybody for being so kind, and for cooking so well. In my case it's been dead simple, all meals were genuine and tasty; but in case you hate Brussels sprout like I do, well, you'll have to manage it.
  3. In case you go to the toilet, never forget to lower the toilet seat.
    In the past I believed that leaving it opened would represent a sign of education and hygiene. But then I realized that the best thing is leaving it closed, ready for anybody going to sit down.

In most cases these suggestions may sound obvious to you. Actually they are, but I believe it is important to pay attention to them for just some moments, just in case.
And what if you realize you did something wrong? Don't worry, there's nothing a bottle of good wine can't fix.