Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Healthy 2014

Okay so here we are at the brink of another year and another 365 days of monotony. Yawn. 2013 is gone. Welcome 2014. Make me older, make me more cynical.

Well, well jokes apart – this is the year everyone of us should keep a resolution. With spiralling healthcare costs in most countries, by the time my generation is senile (okay just too old), it would be just impossible to bear the costs of maintaining our well being. If there is something we can do now is – eat well, sleep well, be well. Yeah so here I am wishing for everyone a very healthy, active and fit 2014. We will all be in the pink of our health while welcoming 2015.

Monday, December 16, 2013


I belong to the older generation of people who still use a notepad to write down their action items (To-do lists) and then strike the items out once they are done. I tried a lot of web-based and mobile-based alternatives, but none can give me the satisfaction (or the pleasure) of physically striking out an item off the list once it is done.

Now, most of my weekends start with me writing down a huge-list of action items for the weekend and then when Sunday night comes, more than half of them are not done (there is a reason why I call myself the God of procrastination). Maybe that’s what makes me grumpy on Sunday nights.

Long time ago I had read this story of an old woman, who sits down to write a small little mail (yeah postal mail) to her grandson, and ends up taking the entire day cause that’s the only thing that she had planned for the day. The moral of the story was – work expands to take over all the time that you have.

However, I generally face a different ordeal. Small and easy things on my list I end up doing. The boring difficult ones keep getting postponed till I hit a day on which I have no option but to do them.

The To-do List

This weekend however was a surprisingly satisfying one. I ended up almost finishing my entire To-do list (yeah the most difficult item on the list was done from 2300 to 0130 on the Sunday night!). Ha, the sweet smell of success. Thought I put up a blog post to celebrate this achievement.

Anyway, I am toying with following the pomodoro technique of time management. Let’s see how it goes.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lazy Training

Gyms in general and exercising in particular is a very boring and tiring activity for me. So much so that, I have managed to be a lazy bum most of my life (and I continue to do so!). Recently however, I used guanxi (with my German ex-boss) and managed to get 12 sessions of free training on a rather new kind of training regime.

So what do I mean by it’s a new kind of gym? Well to begin with – their are no weights. There is cardio equipment (like bikes, elliptical machines and tread mills) and then there is this small little device called the NMES. It’s amazing to note that NMES has been around for more than 40 years but has rarely been used outside the realms of professional sports.

A typical session consists of me gearing up in a specially designed suite that plugs into the NMES device followed by 20 minutes of floor based or cardio exercises directed by an instructor. That’s all it is. I could be in and out of the gym in less than 40 mins (yeah changing, exercising, showering – the whole nine-yards). And in those 40 mins I could burn well over 300 calories along with a nice feeling of my muscles having worked out.

PowerZeit NMES Training

So what does NMES actually do? Well like the name says – it’s neuromuscular electrical stimulation. So the NMES device makes my muscles workout the same way my body would have if I was actually doing strength training. But the cool part is – in strength training, we are only engaging targeted groups of muscles at a time. But with NMES, its possible to strengthen a bigger set of muscles at a higher intensity and in a shorter time.

So, do I look like Arnold Schwarzenegger (yeah I had to Google his last name to get it right) now? Nope. But well, to be frank (and truthful) I tried quite a bit of strength training long long ago (in 2008) and what I could achieve after 3 months of dedicated strength training, I could go to the same level in less than 6 sessions! And then it seems a safer option than lifting weights wrongly and injuring yourself. And for busy (a.k.a lazy) people like me, 20 minutes of workout is easier motivation 2 times a week!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Chope Inefficiency

People in Singapore food courts generally follow a practice of holding their seats before going to buy food. In the local lingo it’s called to “Chope” seats. Now, over the last several years, I have perfected the art of chope-ing as well.

Unfortunately, I ended up being at this very popular food court the other day where people were much more efficient at the game than I ever was. I ended up waiting for more than 30 minutes just to get a seat to park my bum, before I even went to a food stall to get my food.

That’s when my empty mind, realized the extreme inefficiency of this practice. If I am a hotelier, one of my key KPIs is – table-turnaround time. In layman’s terms – it’s just the number of tables (and subsequently people) that I can serve in a given unit of time. This KPI includes the time required to take orders, serve, clean table and then get the next set of people in. If you wish to see this efficiency – go see an Udupi restaurant in India or a Ramen place in Singpaore.

Now when you chope a seat, you are effectively keeping the table empty (which could have been occupied by someone else while you were ordering your food. If you order from good stalls, on an average it takes 10+ minutes to get your food. And during lunch times, people eat for approx 15+ minutes anyway. So almost 2/3 of the turnaround time of an average lunch time patron is wasted because of the chope! If we stop this practice, the number of people eating at a seat can go up from approx. 2 an hour to 4 an hour? (Yeah my math may be way wrong out there! But I hope you get the concept!). So next time you go eat, don’t chope, just order and then take your food and scout for a place. You will be doing the food court a great service!