TSA #24 – How Happy Are You?

Apr 30, 2012 by

I’m a pretty happy guy.  I like to think myself an optimist and try to always be happy in whatever situation I might find myself in.  Overall I think I’m pretty happy, but how do you really know?

How often do you actually think about an analyze how happy you are or what makes you happy? I think like most people you really only think about it when you are at the extremes, either when supremely happy and you get that rare pause where you stop and think how perfect the world is at that very second, or at the other end when you are just having the worst day ever and you wish you could go back to bed because you are miserable.  Everywhere in between you may not think about it much or analyze it ever.

That is where trackyourhappiness.org comes in.  This is a great site that will send you text messages or emails over a period of time and have you take a short survey on how happy you are.  It asks you things like where you are, what you are doings, are there pets around, are you inside or outside etc.  It will track all your answers for you and deliver a happiness report back to you that is both fascinating and a great tool to see what makes you happy.

Happiness chart - What I am doing

Here are a couple of charts from my most recent happiness report. The chart on the left shows my level of happiness (ranked by me) when doing the following activities.  I’m happiest when I’m working on my car project, something I don’t do enough of and (predictably) less happy when I’m doing housework or commuting.

Happiness chart - Where I am









The chart on the right shows that I am much happier at a comedy show than at jury duty.  Shocking I know.

This is a great tool.  I would never take the time to write down when I’m slightly more happy or what I’m doing at that time.  This tool aslo tracks your sleep, productivity, level of focus etc.

And yes I know it sounds a little silly to talk about a happiness report, but why not find out what makes you happy.  Why shouldn’t we study this more.  I think we should find out what makes us happy and conversely what makes us less happy and find out how to influence those aspects of our life.

Your Truly Simple Action this week is to checkout trackyourhappiness.org and try it out.  It’s free, simple, easy to use and delivers information that you can use to live a happier life.


TSA = Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing. Previous TSA’s:


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TSA #23 – Sign Up For Fun

Apr 24, 2012 by

This week is another fun Truly Simple Action.  This week you must sign up to do something fun.  We are all busy with work and life and all the stuff in between, but now it’s time to schedule in some fun

Right now, Google something fun that you want to do.  It may be a kayaking trip, a wine tasting tour of the local wineries, or a ridiculous obstacle course.  Yeah you know I’m picking that one.

The point is, there are a million fun things out there to do.  Some cost a little money, but many are free and are just waiting for you to enjoy them.  Take the next 10 minutes and get on Google and resolve to find at least one thing that you can sign up to do.  Meetup.com is another great resource to find likeminded individuals doing fun things together as well.

Don’t just say that you will do one of those things “someday”.  Find something that you have to sign up for. Put it on the calendar.  Invite your friends.  Make it a real thing that you won’t put off because of whatever excuse you come up with that day.  Get your friends together, put it on your calendar and plan a fun day around it.

Life can be busy, but if you don’t fill it up with fun, you won’t have any.  It’s just that simple.


TSA = Truly Simple Actions
The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing.

Previous TSA’s:

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TSA #22 – Ride Your Bike

Apr 17, 2012 by

I am very lucky and thankful to live in a place that has really nice weather.  Except lately its been sunny and beautiful all week and then cold and rainy every weekend.  That is annoying. But spring is here, and summer is coming and the sun finally came out on Sunday and it was a beautiful weekend day.  My friends came up and  stayed with us Saturday night and on Sunday we all rode our bikes to go get breakfast.

We had little kids with us, so we threw the bikes on the bike rack and drove down a bit closer to our destination and rode from there, but it was awesome.  We had a nice ride down some quiet streets near the beach and had a delicious breakfast at Beach Break Cafe.

photo (2)

didn't have a picture of us biking, but here's a picture of the Captain Crunch french toast the kids had

After breakfast we rode to the train station to drop my friends off so they could take the train back home.  It wasn’t much of a ride, but we all had a blast.  The sun was shining and we had a great time.

Your Truly Simple Action this week is to get the bike out, dust it off, throw some air in the tires and go ride it.  Ride it around the block.  Ride to your local park. Take the bike trail somewhere.  Go run some errands in it.  Just get on your bike and remember how much fun it is to ride it.


TSA = Truly Simple Actions
The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing.

Previous TSA’s:

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TSA #21 – Remove Distractions

Apr 9, 2012 by

So I’m sitting here in jury duty today.  I’ve already missed being called for the first group and hope to be dismissed soon.  I am thankful the courthouse now has Wifi, even though they make you watch the cheesy 70’s video about civic duty before giving you the password.

But it’s in these nice downtimes that we have a few minutes to make some small improvements that can make a big difference in your life.

For this week your Truly Simple Action is to remove distractions from your life.  Specifically we are going to remove the unnecessary notifications you receive daily on your smart phone.

I am the first to admit that I am fully addicted to my iPhone. It is an amazing device that allows me to get a lot done throughout the done both professionally and just for fun listening to music or running with my Nike app etc.  That said I am cognizant (or trying to be) of the time I spend on the phone and trying not to spend too much time on it or have it out when I am spending time with family or friends.

One thing I have done is to remove all of the notification messages and sounds so its not beeping or buzzing at me all throughout the day.  I also turned off push notifications for email, so it only checks email when I want to check email.  My iPhone works for me, I don’t work for it.

I only receive notifications when there is a text message or a phone call.  It is a phone after all.  Everything else is turned off.  I don’t get pop ups or noises buzzing at me for emails, my turn on words with friends, a new message from ebay etc.  I still play words with friends and I still check my email, but I do it when I’m ready to check email or play words with friends and that is the difference.

My phone can stay silent in my pocket and be there when I need it, not when it thinks I need it.

To adjust your notifications on the iPhone, simply click on Settings and go to Notifications and turn all of that stuff off.  You can select per app what notifications you want to receive and how to receive them.  I recommend just turning them all off.  You can still access all the apps and the information within the same way, it just won’t be bugging you with pop up messages all the time.

Also disable push notifications for your email. To do this go to Settings, then Mail, Contacts and Calendars, then under Fetch New Data, turn Push to off.  Again your email will still be there, but it will only check for new messages when you are ready to check your email.  This will also save your battery life on your phone, so double bonus.


TSA = Truly Simple Actions
The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing.

Previous TSA’s:

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A Simple Barbacoa

Apr 3, 2012 by

I have not posted a recipe in WAY too long.  I’ve been crazy busy with work, and then super sick and now just recovering and getting back into it.  Here is one I made several weeks ago, but have had no time to get this thing posted.  I’m going to try to get a little better at that, so with that said, here is a dish you must make.

I love barbacoa beef and can’t say no to it at Chipotle and such.  So I found an awesome recipe and modified it slightly and set out to make it.  It was so easy to make and very tasty to eat so I recommend that you find some time to make this recipe this week.


This is a very simple recipe and only takes a few minutes to prep and the rest of the time is in the crock pot cooking and making your house smell amazing.


Here’s what you’ll need:


    • 3 lbs beef eye of round or bottom round roast – trim all the fat off
    • 5 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 medium onion
    • Juice from 1 small lime
    • 2-4 chiptoles in adobo sauce (or more if you like it spicy)
    • 1 tbsp ground cumin
    • 1 tbsp ground oregano
    • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
    • salt and pepper
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 tsp oil
    • 1 cup water


Cut the meat up into big chunks and add some salt and pepper


throw that in a pan with a little oil on medium-high heat and get it brown on all the sides.


Now get out your food processor and throw all the following in.  Start off with the garlic


Add Lime Juice


Chop up the onion into a few pieces and throw it in


Then add your spices – 1 tbsp ground cumin


1 tbsp ground oregano


1/2 tsp ground cloves


Finally add 2-4 chipotle peppers.  Add more if you like it spicy.  I added several and it was super spicy, but also super awesome so be careful.


and let the processor do its thing.  Mix it up good.


Throw a few bay leaves into the crock pot and then add the browned meat.


cover with the mixture from the food processor.


add a cup of water, cover and let it cook on low for 8 hours in the crock pot.


When it’s done take the beef out and shred with a couple forks and then add it back into the sauce and let it simmer for 20 minutes.


I also whipped up some cilantro lime rice to go with it and it was awesome.


The corn adds some awesome flavor and helps with the heat if you make it spicy.  I threw it on the burners to give it a little blackened color and flavor.


and voila.  I grabbed some leaves of lettuce from the garden and topped with the rice, barbacoa and corn to top it all off.  So yummy and so easy to make.

If you have a crock pot and like barbacoa or your house smelling awesome, then you must make this.  It is too easy and to tasty not to.


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