All posts tagged workout timesavers

Living like a Lightweight.

By Brad Beckstrom

You still hear it occasionally. “That guy’s a lightweight.” When I was a kid, it may have meant you couldn’t hold your own on the playground. In college, this term was often used to describe someone who was a sloppy drunk or couldn’t hold their liquor. In business or politics, lightweight may be used to describe someone who can’t take a little heat, or bails out when the going gets tough. Today the word lightweight implies something very different. If you’re a lightweight who can compete or dominate above your weight class, then you have something. If you’re talking about a boxer like Roberto Duran, a legend like Bruce Lee, or the UFC fighter Conor McGregor then lightweight can take on a whole new meeting.

Look at any sport in the racing world, “lightweight” is the hottest thing going. Carbon fiber tubing is used to make incredibly fast racing boats to compete in the America’s Cup, and superlight racing bikes that weigh as little as 13 pounds. In a competitive world, lightweight can have great advantages.

If you’re not a professional athlete, or in the market for a $9,000 bicycle, you can still live like a lightweight. Let’s apply this term in three areas: Health, Life, and Work.

Health, Physical and Mental.

There’s a memorable scene from the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. The movie is about Joe Cross who lost 100 pounds juicing. You hear stories all the time about people losing tremendous amounts of weight. What Joe did differently is he that he visually demonstrated how much weight he’d lost by carrying around six professional bowling balls to represent the weight. This really clicked with people and helped him kick start the green juice trend. Most of us could not imagine carrying around even one or two bowling balls all the time.

The bowling balls Joe carried around are a great metaphor. Think of all the excess stuff we carry around, garages and closets full of stuff we don’t use, those extra pounds, guilt and regret about things that happened in the past, huge SUVs to haul all this around, while sitting in traffic. It’s time to start looking at the benefits of becoming a lightweight. Read more…

Creating a list of musts, because you’ll need it someday.


By Brad Beckstrom

Must. That’s a funny word, but it’s a word that came to me along with some serious thoughts. Not so much as a verb, you must do this, or you must do that, more like a noun. As in something that should not be overlooked or missed.  More like, going deep on the important things is a must. Don’t overlook the musts.

About a year ago, I was pondering what old age would be like. I was struggling with what it might be, what risks or new discoveries may be in store.  Would I be healthy or sick?  Would I  be rich or poor, and in what, friends, time, money, freedom?  Outside of work, what was I doing to impact this.  Did I even know what “this” was?

Instead of making another to do list or a list of goals, I decided to write down some things that I felt needed to be musts in my life moving forward. I decided that a must is something that needs to be considered before anything that’s not on the list. A must is something that will influence all decisions. The first few were pretty straightforward: family, friends, health. They are easy to write down, but when you consider the commitment to make these three words musts, that would be a pretty complete list in itself. It was too broad.

For example, when I put something like health on the list that means it’s a must, something that’s in my life every day, not just a “to do” that I may not get to. Family and friends seem pretty obvious, but how many of us let work commitments, travel or commuting get in front of these?  I’ve done this in the past. After our first son was born, SuperK would  turn up the volume whenever the Harry Chapin song Cat’s in the Cradle came on. A reminder that you could miss much of your child’s years at home if you blink. So if family and friends are at the top of your list of musts, understand the size of that commitment.

If your musts are too broad, big categories like family, friends and health may get replaced with other broad categories like work, sleep, decompress, and spend money. So, it’s best to break those musts down into actions that can can become good habits.

So, for example, under health my musts include: Read more…

Multitasking with Your Left foot and Your Right Brain.

The secret was in my feet.

Frug Feet2

By Brad Beckstrom

Many people think they they can multitask effectively. Companies put it in job descriptions, people put on their resumes, and talk about it in interviews. Neuroscientists say that we’re not actually multitasking but quickly switching from one task to another. Even if we believe we’re getting more done, multitasking makes us less effective.

But, what if we were to combine a single focused mental task with a simple physical one?  A single physical task like walking. This way we’re able to do the physical task almost from muscle memory and focus on the mental one with minimal interruption.  We can also minimize interruptions by being in motion instead of sitting in an office, for example. Read more…

Your next home may come out of a 3-D printer and cost about 1/3 of what you’d pay today.

By Brad Beckstrom

By now you’ve probably read all the buzz surrounding 3-D printing.  Designers and engineers are creating 3-D printed inventions like body parts, prosthetics, and custom surgical kits adapted to the patient.

I toured the factory of a potential client who makes kits used by surgeons for spinal surgery. They showed me prototypes for surgical kits that sell for five figures each. In the near future, these will be custom designed and printed for the patient and the type of surgery.

I knew 3D printing had arrived even before I stumbled into a 3-D print shop at the mall.  If you read this blog you know malls give me hives, so it’s very rare I step into one. But there I was, on my way to a restaurant, when I saw shop windows full of 3-D printers in action. Printing out all kinds of prototypes for new products and dreams which users had paid hundreds of dollars to rent the machine to print out their invention.

So I’d seen my share of small 3-D printers printing small things but then I stumbled upon the 3-D printed house. There is a lot of innovation going on in jumbo scale 3-D printing. This factory in China can print out 10 houses a day out of poured concrete mortar.

Winsun 3-D Printed Home  $5000

Winsun 3-D Printed Home $5000

The finished product is the bit rough around the edges, literally. It’s a bit like that old concrete block garage out behind your grandfather’s house. When you have housing demands like China does, this may be a solid, affordable solution at about $5000 US .

The next generation of these is already in the works. Students at the University of South Carolina are working on a portable jobsite printer capable of creating buildings on site. Because the buildings are 3-D printed, the insides of the concrete walls can be hollow or custom configured with spaces for windows, electrical, and plumbing.

 University of South Carolina contour printer.


University of South Carolina contour printer.

I think it safe to say that this is still a few years off and the early job site versions of it will most likely be expensive.

3D Houses Here and Now Read more…

The 3 Act Day – Why you should structure your day like a screenplay.

By Brad Beckstrom

What if every day were scripted like a great film?

the godfather act 1

Marlon Brando, The Godfather Act I

Whether you like it or not, they often are. Here’s a super abbreviated version of the classic three act structure in screenwriting.

3 act structure

Act I The Setup: Establish the main characters, their relationships, the world they live in, and what the story is all about?  Later in this act there is a “call to adventure” or “catalyst” that sets the plot in motion.

Act II Confrontation: Also referred to as “rising action,” this typically depicts the main characters attempt to resolve the problem initiated by the first turning point, only to find him or herself in ever more challenging situations.

Act III Resolution: Features the resolution of the story and its subplots. The climax is the scene or sequence in which the main tensions of the story are brought to their most intense point and the dramatic question answered, leaving the protagonist and other characters with a new sense of who they really are.

The Hero’s Journey

What if every day could follow the structure of the hero’s journey with a call to adventure, rising action and intense point where dramatic questions are answered and we have a sense of who we really are? That’s a hell of a lot more interesting than a to do list or a calendar.

Act I is the early part of the day, the setup.  If you’re in a foul mood, skipping the important stuff or feel like a rudderless ship, this day may end up not being a very good movie.

Act II  is the main part of the day. For our purposes here, let’s call this “rising action.” You can call it the workday, whatever you want. The main character – “you” – is attempting to resolve ever more challenging situations and sometimes, small or large confrontations.

Act III Finally, there is resolution, wrapping up our efforts for the day and hopefully bringing the day to a successful close.  Our hero, again “you,”  finishes out the day and rides off into the sunset.

Here’s how to script your day like a blockbuster.

Read more…

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