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The benefits of low-alcohol drinking

'Less can be more' in your glass as it can in your home and calendar. Many people enjoy mixed drinks—or would like to if they weren't laid low by them. It is possible to have the best of both worlds and sample great cocktails without getting sleepy, stupid, sad, or sick.

The core Discardian principle of Quality Over Quantity comes into play in multiple ways to achieve this.

  1. Slow down.
    Be mindful of what you're consuming. One of the best aspects of good cocktail drinking is tuning in to the present moment and to those you're with, so amplify that by paying attention to what you're having. Take time to enjoy what you've got and space out the alcohol with a glass of water between rounds. You'll get more enjoyment out of your drinks—and out of the next morning!
  2. Drink less of better.
    Satisfy your senses with smaller sips and smaller servings of something well-made with complex ingredients. Whether you like sweet or bitter, tangy or rich, there are amazing cocktails to be enjoyed in classic serving sizes (generally just 3-6 ounces).
  3. Base your drinks on lower-proof main ingredients.
    By not including more than half an ounce of high-proof spirits (40+% alcohol by volume) and carefully selecting recipes which allow their less "hot" components (such as sherry, vermouth, and port) to shine, you can discover a whole world of amazing cocktails, both classics and new creations.
  4. Be a snob.
    Now I don't mean you should only have top-shelf products in trendy bars; I'm talking about the good kind of snobbery that keeps you from wasting time and health on things that don't provide you with real pleasure. Save your liver for those cocktails worth having, in the time and place, and with the company that makes those moments special.

Want to explore more in this realm? I've got a whole book of ideas for you (my second book!) and it's called The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level.

Thanks again to readers of either of my books for your support and encouragement to keep on writing!

Posted on October 25, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Awesomeness Contribution Factor

One of my favorite things from this Discardian season was Angela Alvarez Velez's tweet:

"@Discardia oooh, I like the idea of the Awesomeness Contribution Factor as a way to measure worthwhile and worthkeepingness."

Lovely phrasing!

Posted on October 4, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Keeping the right pots on the boil

"[Manage] your agreements with yourself. If you break your commitments with yourself, you'll be in negative stress. So you either don't make the commitments (lower expectations), keep the agreements (get busy and finish your stuff), or renegotiate your agreements (constantly review and make smart choices about what you can and should be doing, at any moment in time).”
      - David Allen

One of the scariest things when you get organized and pull all your obligations and expectations out of your head and into some trusted system for tracking them is that you can finally see just how much you've been carrying around in there. To overcome that tension, acknowledge that you can't and won't do it all.

Just as a chef has things on the stove, ingredients in the pantry, and cookbooks full of potential recipes, so too will you have active, inactive, and someday/maybe projects.

It's okay that a lot of your ideas about what you might do are hopes, dreams, contingency plans, or other things that aren't necessarily part of today, tomorrow, or ever. What is a part of today is capturing the idea for later review so that you can get it out of your way and get on with what's cooking now.

It's that act of review which keeps the whole system working. That doesn't mean you have to engage with every potential idea every single week—some things you might only want to think about once or twice a year—but it does mean you think every week about what matters in the week ahead. What are your goals this month? What can you do in the next week to help achieve them? What ideas and loose ends do you need to pack away from the past week so that you can focus on what matters most?

Give yourself a regular bit of quality time to pull back from the stream of reaction to see where you are and where you want to be. Look a couple weeks back and ahead in your calendar to find unfinished tasks and opportunities to make things go more smoothly for yourself. Even taking 20 minutes a week to do this will help you do more, and do it more calmly.

I like using the OmniFocus software for this, but paper works great too. Try starting with four lists: "Think about every week," "Think about every month," "Think about every quarter," and "Think about every year."

For example, you probably want to have "Home Maintenance" show up every week. Some of the time you'll look at it and move on right away, but often it will remind you of a problem to resolve (whether it's at the 'buy toilet paper' or 'start a savings account for better mattress' scale). On the other hand, "Career Advancement" would usually be on the quarterly or annual list, unless you're actively working to switch jobs.

As time passes you'll get a better sense of how often something needs to appear in front of you to prompt you to capture any unfinished business or opportunities.

The big reviews help keep you aligned with who you want to be and what you want to achieve. They reveal goals which can have projects and actions on shorter time cycles. The weekly review helps clear your head and get you back on the tracks you set out for yourself.

Granting yourself that quality time to catch your breath is vital to maintaining your momentum in your chosen direction. You deserve that chance to find clarity every week.

Posted on October 3, 2013 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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