Cow Parts Blog

Los Angeles and Things of Randomness


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Reasons why RSS feeds are highly efficient and can improve your productivity

Do you have a bunch of websites that you frequent but you are still manually going to each site one at a time? I used to do that. I hated doing that. It was so much work to go through ten to twenty sites one at a time because I had no good system to go through it.

Then I found Feedly, an RSS feed that consolidates all the websites that I enjoy reading and neatly organizes them by categories.

Efficiency

Finding Feedly was a huge timesaver. I usually go through all my feeds once a day and I can go through them in about ten to fifteen minutes. I sift through all the headlines that I find interesting, open up all my tabs and go through them one at a time. If there is an article that I do not find interesting, I close it and move on to the next thing. There is no point in forcing yourself to read something you don’t want to, right?

tumblr_meqdypNNsH1rqeb09o1_1280Organization

Feedly is one of the popular ones and it is a good start for anyone who reads tons of articles everyday. I have not used any other RSS reader other than this but one of the features that I really like is that it can organize by categories. You can put all your business blogs together, your marketing, food, fashion, and so on. I have tons of blogs saved on my account and it continues to grow so having that organization aspect is really important to have.

For those who don’t like having to open up their favorite blogs one at a time everyday, it is highly recommended that you find an RSS reader to manage your daily readings. There are many other different readers aside from Feedly, and it is up to you which one will fit your preferences. Feedly is one of the popular ones and it is a good start for anyone who reads tons of articles everyday.

How do you go through your articles everyday? Share in the comments below!

-Gary

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Maximizing your Reading Habits

For the last few months, I have come to a realization that I do not read enough books. I read a lot of articles online and use Feedly as my main channel to consolidate different websites and blogs but I seemed to have simply stopped reading actual books.

Books are a great source of information and I try to learn at least one new thing a day. When I realized that I do not read as often as I used to, I began looking into different ways other people implement reading back into their daily routines. Many of the most successful people in this world do not stop reading books and I want to imitate their habits.

There are many different reasons to read books. It can be for entertainment, knowledge, mental stimulation or if you are a writer, improving your writing skills. Currently, the main reason I am reading books is to expand my knowledge of different subjects and specializations.

I consider myself a fairly efficient person and I tend to cut out as many steps as I can from different processes. For books, I would go online and find a book I want to read, then get in my car and then drive over to my local library to check out the book. I hated driving to the library. When I recently found out that Kindle’s could check out library books for free, it felt like a godsend. I immediately researched and ordered a 7th Gen Kindle and proceeded my reading adventures.

Kindle

The Kindle is very nice in that it lets me achieve my reading goals without spending too much time going to the library. I can bookmark pages, see how much of the book I have left to read, and many other things. Not to mention that it is ultra portable so I can take it everywhere I want. The only thing about e-readers is that you do not have the feel of flipping through pages anymore. If you wanted to go back, let’s say 20 pages, there is not really an easy way to go back other than tap one page back at a time. Other than that, I would say it was a purchase well worth it.

Do you have a Kindle or any reading goals? Feel free to share your stories!

-Gary


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New Beginnings and Regaining Old Habits

A new year is here with an endless amount of opportunities ahead of us. Here is the time to create your New Year’s resolutions and hopefully you can achieve them. If you are like me, I create a lot of goals for myself but have a hard time achieving them. The biggest issue that many of us have is that we are so fixated on the end result that if we don’t see changes right away, we give up immediately. Other issues is creating an unreasonable goal where you set yourself up for failure and disappointment anyway.

The way I go about it is that I break down my end goal into smaller, achievable goals that can give me the motivation and sense of accomplishment to continue going. If you play video games, you cannot just jump to the final boss and expect to win. It doesn’t work that way, and life doesn’t either. Instead, you have different checkpoints and objectives you must achieve before you are given the opportunity to fight the final boss. Life works the same way, you cannot just workout really hard and expect a six pack within a week. You need to break it down, day by day, starting with a good diet to supplement your workout routine.

Here are some of my goals for the New Year. I have already begun working on them in December and plan to continue these habits throughout the new year.

dumbells exercise

Working out – Minimum 3-5 days a week, maximum 1 hour session.

The reason I am putting this as a maximum 1 hour sessions is because when I also want to focus on other things with my limited hours. 1 hour is what works for me and is enough to keep me in shape and mentally sane (I get anxious when I stop working out for too long). It may be different for you.

KindleReading –  At least 20-50 pages a day.

This is one of the biggest challenges for our current generation. Being a millennial myself, I have a short attention span and essentially stopped reading books after grade school. This is going to change. Reading 20-30 pages a day adds up very quickly and you can finish 1 to 2 books a month if you keep a steady pace. This is one of those breaking down your habits little by little that I mentioned earlier.

Wordpress Blogging

Blogging – At least 2-3 posts a week.

Being a fairly addicted gamer for the majority of my life, a lot of the hobbies I used to enjoy were put on the backlot and essentially disappeared. I was distracted by playing games and watching tons of television dramas. This year I picked up blogging as a hobby that I can express the things I enjoy doing and share it with others who have similar interests.

What are your goals for the new year? Comment below!

– Gary

Credits:

  1. http://newyearsevepartyplaces.com/north-america/united-states/los-angeles/
  2. http://websitemojo.net/blogging-for-business/


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The Truth About Excuses

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Have you ever had those days where things do not work out the way you want? You pout and you groan and you start blaming things. It is not your fault. You did not do anything wrong. That is what you tell yourself. Excuses.

Many people do not like to admit they are wrong. It is understandable. It’s not the best feeling in the world but it is how you deal with your mistakes and problems where you begin to grow. No one is perfect and no one expects you to be.

One of the worst habits the majority of people do is create excuses for their problems. They blame other people or find a reason to mask their mistakes or unfavorable events. While they may convince others where the problem is, in their minds, they are not fooling anyone.

Let me tell you a story.

I am currently working full time and also taking night classes after work. The current course that I am taking is not the most organized class. The lectures are incredibly fast and class gets cancelled almost every other week. I assume no one in class really has any idea what is going on and the only resources are powerpoint slides available online.

Our class was divided into seven member groups to complete group assignments throughout the semester. Our grade is based on team effort as well as individual test scores from midterms and finals.

About two weeks before our final, I was speaking with one of my team members who is semi retired. He told me he is currently taking full time classes and complains about how difficult and disorganized this class is. He tells me he is getting A’s in his other classes but he cannot seem to grasp how unclear the class we are taking is. He is close to failing and he blames the class for not teaching him well.

He has many good points about the class but there is one thing I noticed as he is talking to me– he has only attended one of our group meetings and has not actively contributed to the case assignments. His grade essentially reflects his level effort in our group. He has had many chances to contribute but he chooses to suggest to me that he is going to complain to the school about this class. He says he cannot clearly seize the material and thinks that future students should not have to deal with this.

What this post is not about.

This is not a post to complain or be an ego boost but it really shows a lot about how some people will quickly find an easy way out. I am not trying to defend the class as I understand that it is one of the least organized classes I have taken in my life. I have taken the time to join the group meetings and do the assignments in our shared Google Docs folder. Everyone can see the history of who is working and who is not. All it takes is a little effort.

The Lesson I learned.

People make excuses for what they lack or bring others down to make them feel better. If you make excuses, who does it benefit? It makes you feel better at the moment but have you gone anywhere? Have you fixed the problem? Have you grown? You are at the same, exact situation you were in. Excuses won’t fix your problem.

Actions do.

-Gary

 


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Getting through your Daily Commute

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Long, boring commutes. This is one of the ongoing problems for many of those who live in densely populated, urban areas such as Los Angeles. Many of us sit in the the car and accept that the ride is boring but those who are willing to maximize their time will take advantage of listening to podcasts during these long commutes. Podcasts are a great way to stay productive when all you can do is stare at the road until you get home.

You can listen to podcasts from your smartphone, iPod and any mobile device that you have. Even though I’m an Android user, I choose to use the Podcast app that comes with the iPod’s and set it to automatically download new episodes every morning. There are no advertisements and it works seamlessly. For Android podcast apps, the highest rated app is called Pocket Cast. I have not personally used it yet but it has all the mainstream podcasts that you can find. This app is not free but it is relatively inexpensive at $3.99 for a plethora of content. If you do not want to dish out any money for a podcast app, there is an Android alternative called Podcast Addict. It is free to use and has most of the popular podcasts. The only downside is this app has a lot of advertisements but you can remove these by paying the premium.

Once you have found your favorite Podcast App, you can now begin your productive journey in those long commutes to and from work or school.There are many different topics and categories of podcasts to choose from. You can listen to entertainment, education, business and pretty much anything you can imagine. I personally listen to a lot of finance and business podcasts during my hour long commutes but everyone has their own preferences. Here are my current favorites, in no particular order.

  • Planet Money is probably the most famous one in this list. Being one of the many shows on NPR, this podcast takes different topics and breaks it down from an economic point of view. Almost every episode is worth listening and lets you see different points of views on subjects that you may not have thought of.
  • The Start Up Chat with Steli and Hiten is a new podcast debuting in the middle of 2015 and features two Silicon Valley veterans who decided to make a podcast. Steli and Hiten are very knowledgeable in the processes of how startups work. The ups, the downs, they have been through it all as they are founders of their own start-ups. Many of their episodes will teach you an issue startups face and how to deal with them. At the end of the podcast, they will advise you one or two action items to do for your own companies.I personally think that a lot of the topics they discuss provide a lot of insight and can be applied to everyday life in how to improve productivity and efficiency in your life.
  • APM: Marketplace deals with a lot of recent events regarding business, stocks and finance. It sums up what happens in a nice 20 minute segment for those who want to know what is happening in the news but are short on time.
  • APM: Marketplace Tech is similar to APM: Marketplace but is much shorter and deals with recent events regarding tech companies. Many of the companies they talk about can range from up and coming start-up companies to large corporations like Apple and Samsung.
  • What’s Tech takes technology and explains them in clear, detailed fashion. Whether it be a product, concept, or recent theory in technology, What’s Tech keeps it fun to listen as well as informative.

My commutes range from 35 minutes to an hour each way so I usually keep in line enough podcasts everyday to power through the drive. I enjoy listening to music on my commutes as well, but sometimes you need to change things up a bit. You can learn so much through podcasts and I feel it should be something more people should take advantage of. It is free and there is really nothing to lose from doing it.


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Paleo and P90X

Like many people in the beginning of 2015, I set a New Year’s Resolution of losing weight or more specifically, “get a six-pack.” We have all told ourselves every year to make this our goal but most people, including me, fail and do not follow through very well.

The Problem

I do not consider myself overweight but I did have a bit of stomach fat that I have been telling myself to get rid of every year. I worked out almost 4-5 days a week and gained very little results in the abdominal region. My arms, legs and chest were toned but I just could not lose the keg.

One of the biggest reasons I was not getting the results I wanted was that I was very reluctant to change my diet. At the time I enjoyed eating junk foods, fast foods and told myself that maybe I will get results if I simply cut down on the amount. Spoiler Alert: It did not work.

Almost all workout programs include a strict diet program and if you do not change what you put into your body, you should not expect the results that you want. A good example would be putting the cheapest gasoline into your Mercedes-Benz when it drinks premium– nothing good will come from it.

The Fix

In the beginning of 2015, I told myself that I am going to reach this goal of a six-pack or at least defined abs no matter what. So I started doing research and figured I am just going to have to force myself to change my diet– something that I was hesitant to do.

After some research, I realized that an easy diet that I could do with very minimal amount of calculating was the paleo diet. I complimented this diet with a P90X workout which allowed me to get the results I wanted very quickly.

Just as a starter, I did not opt for a full paleo lifestyle. The cuts I made were for the sole intention of getting my abs toned in the fastest amount of time without starving myself. I basically did Mondays to Fridays, strict no rice, no noodles to start with and slowly replaced certain foods that had too much saturated fat with healthier organic foods. I cut down my meals to strictly chicken, veggies, and fruit. To prevent myself from starving, I bought unsalted mixed nuts from Costco, greek yogurt mixed with chia, organic granola, and fruits. This, along with scrambled eggs became my daily breakfast and snacks.

P90X

The workout regimen I chose to compliment my diet was the P90X workout. I have done this workout in the past but never actually finished it. It was a workout I was familiar with, highly rated and is hosted by the very entertaining trainer, Tony Horton.

This workout is very beneficial and efficient because since I currently do not have a gym membership, I can do everything from home. You will still need dumb bells and a pull up bar but since I do not have a pull up bar, I opted to do modified versions that had similar muscle movements and worked out the same muscles.

After about a week into the workout, I chose to implement whey protein to supplement my sessions. Whey protein is not paleo but since I was already following a liberal paleo diet, I did it anyway in order to get the results I wanted. The whey protein actually felt quite amazing when I first started drinking. I felt like I had more energy and I could push myself to the limits.

Around beginning of April 2015, I had already pretty much achieved my goal. P90X was completed, my abs as well as arms are toned and I feel healthier than I have ever been in my life. One thing I regret is that I failed to take a before and after shot. I cannot see the progress I have made but I definitely see a difference, in how much more toned my body is.

Today, which is November of 2015, I am not as strict on my diet but I have been able to maintain my body the way I want it. I workout and follow a liberal paleo diet 3-5 times a week and allow myself to eat whatever I want on the weekends. This actually works great for me as food tastes absolutely amazing when I eat out at restaurants. It is a delicious treat for a week’s hard work!