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Morning Routines for Productive People

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What do Benjamin Franklin and Anna Wintour have in common? No, it's not their personal style. They're both (or for Ben, was) early risers.

Productive people know that mornings are a great time for getting things done. Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, notes morning is the perfect time to be creative, to exercise and perhaps most importantly, to have some time to oneself before the rest of the world wakes up. Science shows that willpower is greatest in the morning. So take advantage of it and do the things that require self-discipline, like going to the gym or doing your taxes, early in the day.

How we spend our mornings sets the tone for the rest of the day. A calm and productive morning is very different from a frantic one.

What can you do to make your mornings more productive and less hectic?

1. Planning is priceless. Prepare the night before. Watch the weather. Choose your outfit. Keep your keys, cellphone, etc., always in the same place, preferably by the door.

2. Use a Jawbone instead of an alarm clock to wake you up. It gently vibrates on your wrist rather than violently jarring you awake.

3. Make your bed. The physical movement is good for you. Think of it as stretching. Plus, it's so much better to come home to a tidy bedroom.

4. Exercise. Just 20 minutes of a moderate activity will boost your mood and give you energy all day long.

5. Make priorities simple and easy. If you want to run in the morning, place your sneakers with your iPod and running clothes by your bed. If you want to spend more quality time with your kids, turn the television off and put down the newspaper.

6. Be Mindful. Brush your teeth with your left hand if you are right handed and vice versa. It reminds you to pay attention and be in the moment.

7. Spend a few minutes outside taking in the fresh air and daylight. Natural light and environments are important for well-being.

8. Eat well. Some fruit, some oatmeal. Something. And skip the juice or the smoothie. Is it that much trouble to chew something?

9. Grace Period. Allow 15 minutes of extra time to get to appointments so you can arrive with grace and dignity.

"Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man [or woman] healthy, wealthy and wise." -- Benjamin Franklin

  • Written by The Huffington Post
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10 Common Yoga Mistakes


Photo: Getty


By K. Aleisha Fetters for Fitbie

Yoga's an everywoman activity, but just because anyone with a mat and a will can bust some yoga moves, doesn't mean you're doing it right -- or getting the most out of your hour.

"When you practice yoga on autopilot, not looking at your mistakes and working to correct them, your form and awareness suffer, reducing your practice's benefit and increasing your risk of injury," says yoga expert Kimberly Fowler, author of Flat Belly Yoga! and founder of YAS Fitness Centers. And we aren't just talking newbies here. "Yoga is a practice. You never achieve perfection," she explains. "The goal is to constantly improve."

So whether you're a beginner or experienced yogi, chances are that your practice can benefit from some fine-tuning. Fowler suggests you start by watching out for these 10 common yoga mistakes.

1. Holding Your Breath
Breathing -- something that you typically do without giving it a thought -- can feel anything but automatic during a challenging pose. But without constant breath, your muscle fibers don't get the oxygen they need to fire, support your body weight, and bend at will. The result: wobbly limbs and -- if you're in a balance pose -- falls, Fowler says. And little chest raises won't cut it. You want to go for full-belly breaths: Inhale through your nose so you feel cool air hit the back of your throat and your stomach expands with air. Then slowly exhale through your mouth until you feel your lungs are empty.

2. Pushing Too Hard

"No pain no gain doesn't apply to yoga," says Fowler, who notes that most people -- if they're really being honest with themselves -- know when they're pushing themselves too hard. While in some exercise classes and sports you want your muscles to cry uncle, the exact opposite is true in yoga. It's a sign you're on the fast track to muscle strains and injury. Yoga should never feel painful. If it starts to, back off. Yoga is all about awareness, about listening to your body's subtle signals, and responding accordingly.

3. Comparing Yourself To Others
Every class has that one super-flexible yogi who seems to effortlessly master every move -- and who has a core you could bounce a quarter off of. Fight the urge to compare and get down on yourself. If you get tripped up measuring yourself against everyone else in the class, not only will you get a crick in your neck, you'll get a crimp in your fun. You'll likely become frustrated and maybe even convince yourself that yoga isn't for you. Wrong! Fowler stresses that yoga is for everyone, and your personal yoga practice isn't about anyone but you. "Every body is different, and yoga is about treating your individual body," she says.

4. Picking The Wrong Spot In Class

Place your mat wisely. Where's that, exactly? Near the back of the class. "People think they need to be in front so they can see the instructor, but much of the time the instructor is moving around and helping people correct their form, so you're left at the head of the class and can't see what you're supposed to do," Fowler explains. Try the next-to-back row. Since some moves require facing the back of the room, this spot will guarantee you always have someone you can follow without looking over to the side and sacrificing your form.


5. Coming To Class With A Full Stomach
Yoga studios should have signs that read: No food babies allowed. Why? When you have a full stomach, not only are most yoga poses uncomfortable, but blood supply is funneled to your stomach to process the nutrients from your food, leaving your muscles shortchanged on the energy they need for a successful practice. Still, pre-class eaters have one thing right: food is fuel. The key to benefitting from that fuel is keeping the portion size down and eating about an hour before class, Fowler says. That way, your blood has time to head to your stomach, pick up the nutrients, and deliver them to your muscles before you strike your first pose. Try a banana with peanut butter or a handful of nuts along with a piece of toast. The combo of protein and carbs will give you the energy jolt you need while keeping your blood sugar from crashing mid-pose.

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Obamacare delay would send rates soaring

Delaying Obamacare by just a few months could send insurance premiums through the roof.

Congressional Republicans and some Democrats are pushing to give individuals more time to sign up for Obamacare after major technical problems have stymied enrollment. But insurers say the consequences of such a move would be heavy.
That's because insurers set their rates for 2014 assuming that all Americans would be subject to the individual mandate, which requires them to get health insurance or face penalties.

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers must provide coverage to everyone -- even the sickest people -- which would greatly increase insurers' risk and cost. To offset this, lawmakers included the mandate to prompt younger, healthier people who don't use a lot of medical care to sign up.

But if the mandate were delayed by a year, many of those lower-cost folks may not sign up. About 2 million fewer people would would obtain coverage in the individual market, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
"All rates filed and approved with regulators are based on the mandate being in effect and the enrollment period ending March 31," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry trade group. "If that were to change, the rates would have to change."

If the individual mandate didn't exist, premiums would be about 15% to 20% higher, according to the CBO.
Adjusting the 2014 rates, however, could be pretty tough to do. How that would work remains an open question, Zirkelbach said.

It's possible some insurers could appeal to state and federal regulators to increase the premiums mid-year, but there's not a lot of precedent for that, said Yevgeniy Feyman, fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a free-market think tank.

It's not only next year's rates that could be affected. If the mandate is delayed, 2015 premiums will likely skyrocket. That's because insurers start setting their premiums for the next year in April.
Under the current plan, open enrollment will end March 31, allowing insurers to base their 2015 rates on the risk pool of their 2014 enrollees. If the mandate is delayed and that risk pool is made up of mostly older, unhealthy people, insurers will jack up their premiums.

Also, some smaller insurers may opt to leave the market, which would also cause rates to rise, Feyman said.

"Insurers will be on the hook without the premiums from young people who aren't making use of the plan," he said.

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Woman Plans To Hand Out ‘Fat Letters’ To Obese Kids On Halloween

A Fargo, North Dakota, woman, who has only identified herself as Cheryl, is making a stand against childhood obesity this Halloween by handing out letters to overweight children rather than treats, according to

Cheryl reportedly called in to Fargo’s Y-94 popular radio morning program to announce how she wanted to pull the coattails of parents whose children are overweight.  The woman felt her letter would be a wake-up call to parents since obesity is plaguing a whopping one in three children in this country.

“I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it,” Cheryl contends as she defended her seemingly bizarre tactic on the air.

According to North Dakota State University Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology Dr. Katie Gordon, who spoke to, though, the unsolicited letters could do more harm than good. In fact, Dr. Gordon feels the letter could be detrimental to children psychologically and that weight matters should be addressed solely by the child’s parents and pediatrician.

“It’s just that kind of thing that for some kids, if they’re vulnerable, might trigger major problems,” Dr. Gordon says. “That’s not something that someone can judge — the health of someone — just by looking at them. I think that’s the main thing. Even if a child is overweight, they might be very healthy because of what they eat and how they exercise. It’s ineffective anyway because it’s not likely to help the kid.”

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