Saturday, December 18, 2010

The 40min investment

For the last ~2 weeks my work life has gone crazy, average working hours are from 9:30AM-9:00PM with a lunch break of half hour and most times it boils down to grab something and eat in the lab. There was no break over the weekend either. Due to this, I was going home tired and drained every day. Because of the time I reach home, dinner was late and hence sleeping late and all such bad habits added to the agony.

In my previous life where I was doing simulations, I could take breaks while computer was crunching numbers and head to the gym or go for a run or do something physical to keep my spirits up, but the current situation is being stuck in the lab and there is more work for me and less work for the computer. In short no physical exercise is possible. 

Last night I got tired of this routine and decided to do something about this, of course there were several solutions ranging from taking time off for a day (if possible) or so and sleep through or go to the gym early in the morning before getting to work and so on. After a short analysis I figured, I do not lack sleep and hence sleeping longer wasn’t going to help; exercising early in the morning is good but somehow it doesn’t fit me (I have tried this in the past and concluded that evening is the best time for this).  

The answer to my problem was in the seven letter word “Sadhana”, the definition of which could vary depending upon whom you talk to; From my definition it is the routine that gets completed in 40mins or so and has to be done first thing in the morning. So, I set the alarm and made up my mind to wake up when the alarm goes off and slept a peaceful sleep.

Today morning I completed the 40min event and went on to do my other daily activities, I could see a remarkable difference in my energy levels through out the day. As usual I had a couple of meetings late in the evening and action items to catch up after the meeting and by the time I went home I was less than half as tired as I would have been otherwise.

I could have invested this 40mins every day and felt the same way everyday but I am not that disciplined (read lazy).

ps: if you want to know the what I am talking about do the YES+ or the Art of Living Course.     

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Real or Fake Christmas tree?

Its Christmas and lot of people do buy a Christmas tree. There is always a debate whether to get a real one or a fake one. I got this on my company email list and felt it’s worth sharing.


If you use a Christmas tree each year, you may wonder whether a real or fake tree is a better option. From an environmental perspective, the answer may surprise you. But we also want to consider the financial and health aspects too.

Show me the money - The fake tree usually wins the economic argument, as long as you use it for several years. Most real trees cost less than $100 for one use, while fake trees usually cost $200-500 for many uses.

The greener choice - While chopping down a living tree may seem “un-green,” it’s actually the more sustainable choice when you consider what the tree is made of and what it does to the environment when created and disposed. Fake trees are made with polyvinyl chloride (or PVC, otherwise known as vinyl), one of the most environmentally offensive forms of non-renewable, petroleum-derived plastic. 85% are shipped from China, so you have lots of transportation emissions, and more than likely pollution from coal power plants. On the other hand, real trees absorb CO2 during their life, are usually replaced with a new tree, and can be recycled / composted after the holidays.  

It’s worth noting that the most eco-friendly way to enjoy a Christmas tree is to buy a live tree with its roots intact from a local grower, and then replant it in your yard once the holiday has passed. However, since trees are dormant in the winter, live trees should spend no more than a week indoors lest they “wake up” and begin to grow again in the warmth of your home. If this happens there is a good chance the tree will not survive once it is returned to the cold winter outdoors and replanted.

It’s NOT healthy to hug a fake tree  - In addition to PVC, fake trees contain lead and other additives designed to make the otherwise rigid PVC more malleable. Unfortunately many of these additives have been linked to liver, kidney, neurological and reproductive system damage in lab studies on animals. The Children’s Health Environmental Coalition warns that fake trees “may shed lead-laced dust, which may cover branches or shower gifts and the floor below the tree.” So if you have or get a fake tree, check if there’s a label telling you to avoid inhaling or eating any dust or parts that may come loose.

Lastly, fake trees don’t have the real pine smell, and if yours does I would be suspicious. ;-)


Call to Action – If you buy a Christmas tree, get a real one from a local farmer and have it composted or mulched afterwards. Click here for more ideas -  5 Ways to Green your Christmas Tree.