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Tough Mudder Tips

I ran my Tough Mudder in the following…

  • Adidas Climacool Fitted Jersey (team uniform).
  • UnderArmour ColdGear long-sleeve top underneath.
  • Brooks quick-drying Running Shorts.
  • UnderArmour ColdGear leggings underneath.
  • A pair of lightweight Nike Dri-fit fingerless workout gloves.
  • Dri-fit socks.
  • New Balance Cross Country Racing flats.

UA ColdGear: I had read mixed suggestions about UnderArmour ColdGear, because it’s slightly more absorbent than some other fast-drying fabrics, but I really believe this UA gear kept me warm(ish) as long as possible. The fact is, you will be very cold at some parts of the race, regardless of what you wear. However, my ColdGear dried very quickly and kept me considerably warmer (perhaps “not freezing” is a better description) in the earlier part of the race.

Racing flats: My flats were so lightweight, the water essentially added no weight to them. I highly recommend wearing the lightest (while still supportive) shoes you own. The last thing you want is to feel like you’re running with bricks strapped to your feet for 12+ miles.

Dri-fit Gloves: Gloves were helpful for one big reason, and one smaller reason. The smaller reason is that it will help save your hands when climbing over walls. They do not, I repeat, do not help on the monkey bars. I read this in many places before my race and it was true. Some bars are greased up and even expensive gloves will not combat that. The big reason the gloves were helpful was warmth! Even wearing wet gloves, my hands were incredibly warmer than when I took them off for certain obstacles. Your hands are a crucial part of many obstacles, take care of them and keep them warm!

All other items: No complaints about my other gear. As a general rule, wear as little cotton as possible, preferably NONE AT ALL. Cotton is super-absorbent and will be the death of you on this course.
OBSTACLES:

Any obstacle that requires crawling/running in mud: Place your arms and/or legs down gently. There are often large rocks and boulders that will hurt if you aren’t careful.

Arctic Enema: I would say train with cold showers (as I did), but it didn’t help all that much. What it did help was to teach me that even if your breathing is out of control (which it will be during this obstacle), that you’re okay and just need a few seconds to catch it. I saw some people trying to climb out the sides or over the wall into the barbed wire. DO NOT panic like this. Jump in, catch your breath for a moment, dip under the wall, and get out fast. You’ll be fine. Also, make sure the person ahead of you is almost getting out when you jump in (some people got stuck in the tank because a person ahead of them was struggling to climb out).

Death March: Most people I saw walked this obstacle, so don’t feel ashamed if you have to take a break. I mixed running with walking, as long uphill stretches can destroy your calves and it was too early in the race to risk this.

Hold Your Wood: First, pick a reasonably-sized log. Don’t try to prove something by taking a huge one. Keep alternating shoulders and different grips to work different muscles and avoid exhaustion.

Everest: Spend a few minutes watching others run up. You’ll probably have to do this anyway as you wait your turn. Watching can help you find a good path with enough traction to get you up without a brutal fall. Certain parts of the quarterpipe will be more slippery than others, so it’s worth the wait to find that sweet spot. Then make eye contact with someone up top, and run for your life.

Electric Eel: This was a mystery obstacle for my race. The wires were just spread out enough that you could crawl very carefully in between them (if it’s a windy day, it’s a lost cause). By the end, however, the wires were too low, and I got shocked. My friend, however, didn’t. So it is possible to escape unscathed! Just crawl carefully and deliberately and you’ll manage. While the shock can be painful, it should be the least of your concerns in this race.

Monkey Bars and Rings: Get in a rhythm and hold on tight! If you have the grip strength, you can make it across, even on greased bars. Get a grip strengthener and use it whenever you’re sitting on the couch or watching TV. It’ll be pay dividends in your ability to cross these obstacles dryly. Also, only take one bar at a time, don’t alternate hands like you would at the playground. For the rings, I saw someone insert their entire arms in the rings up to their shoulders which seems like it would be better if your grip is exhausted. On the swing, they would slide their arm in the ring and remain suspended, holding onto both rings in their armpits until they were ready to move on.

Twinkle Toes: Use a ‘T’ foot stance. Your front foot should be facing forward, and your back foot should be perpendicular to your front foot, across the bar. After each step you take with your front foot, close the gap with your back foot. Your arms should be at 45 degree angles downward. When the bar begins to sway a lot, stop moving forward and focus on swaying your legs with the bar until it stabilizes, then continue.

Electroshock Therapy: Do not sprint through this obstacle. If you do and you get shocked, you will faceplant and end up on YouTube. Enter the obstacle at a jogging pace with your head down slightly and arms in front, protecting your face from the wires. It also helps to be wearing long sleeves/leggings because I suspect it reduces the shock somewhat. If you get shocked, just keep moving. If you fall, try to get back up because being continuously shocked in a crawling position makes it more difficult to make forward progress. If you’re standing you can build up more momentum to push you through the rest of the wires.

Good luck and remember to share this experience with people; it’s great to run in small groups!

If you’ve already run a Tough Mudder, please share any tips you have in the comments!

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Tough Mudder 2012 PA #1 – April 29 – Pocono Manor cont’d 3

And so begins the final chapter of the Tough Mudder saga. Refer to Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 for the rest of this story.

I had just gotten out of the Electric Eel obstacle and felt something similar to a sheet of ice on my chest. In reality, crawling in the obstacle’s super-shallow water (heated by the sun), magnified the chill in the air as soon as I stood up. I had been shaking from the cold for over an hour straight and this experience made it no easier to cope. After catching up with my friend ,we continued on the trail for some time. He had been experiencing gradually more severe knee pain for quite some time, and it was around this point that he could no longer run well. We paused at the next First Aid tent so he could get his knee wrapped, as I contemplated grabbing a space blanket to fight off the cold. I joked that I may give in, and the First Aid guy replied “You can’t puss out now.” I was slightly taken aback at this ironic response from the Medic, but I laughed and replied that he alone had convinced me to cross the finish line without a hypothermia sheet. I decided shortly after that it may have been a foolish decision, but we were so close to completing the race, I figured I may as well finish as the toughest Mudder I could be. It didn’t help that these last few miles were littered with abandoned space blankets almost within grasp. I fought back the temptation several times, even grabbing one at one point, after which I realized I had absolutely no energy to even untangle it and wrap it around myself. I tossed it and kept moving, but I couldn’t focus on much except how cold I was. Not too long after the First Aid tent, my friend tore off his knee wrap; it was soggy and wasn’t helping the pain whatsoever. After this point, we would begin alternating our running with power-walking. This helped the pain in his knee, as well as the aches in my own body (hip and foot arch at this point). However, the walking was a death sentence on its own. After a few intervals of alternating, it was becoming ever more clear that my muscles were becoming solid rocks when we weren’t running.

Pushing on, we reached a set of much higher Berlin Walls (see Part 2). These were seemingly impossible to get over alone. Everyone that I saw was enlisting the help of others to push them up and over the walls. I was immediately offered help by another Mudder, so him and my friend lifted me up and over. At the peak of the first wall, I realized how weak my arms were this late in the course and actually starting collapsing down in s..l..o..w..m..o..t..i..o..n.. until my friend noticed and pushed me back up again. After these walls we hit the Funky Monkey:

I had read a lot about this obstacle. There were many strategies to get across, but I settled on the traditional one. There were several things I was sure of as I approached this obstacle. (1) It was clear that many people were falling in. (2) Some of the monkey bars were clearly greased. (3) I did NOT, I repeat NOT want to get wet again. With that in mind I tested to see if I could reach more then one bar out, but decided it was too risky and began on the first bar. Swung to the second. Feeling good. Third. Man there’s a lot of bars. Fourth. I’m getting pretty high here. Fif…splash. I wish I could explain what happened but I have no idea. My grip must have totally given out, and I was in waist deep water (up to my neck after the fall). Furious, I quickly swam to the other side where my friend awaited (considerably drier than I), and shouted “Let’s go” while shaking at full force once again. Not a quarter mile later we hit some mud Trenches:

a.k.a. more waist-deep water. At the bottom of these trenches were many unexpected drops in depth and large boulders. There’s always a painful surprise just around the corner at Tough Mudder! I made my way very carefully through these, afraid I’d twist an ankle this late in the game. I also think this was the point in the course at which I developed this uncontrollable grunting with every step I took. I took a rare moment to chuckle at myself because I was being so noisy and couldn’t even help it. Continuing the rapid succession of obstacles, Hanging Tough came next:

This one was very much like Funky Monkey except you were swinging from ring to ring. I’ll save you the time and cut to the chase: if you know how Funky Monkey ended for me, this one ended exactly the same. Again, pulled myself out of a frigid pool of water thinking “Should’ve worked with that damn grip strengthener more.” Onto a short trail and around a corner, and we almost immediately hit Twinkle Toes:

As we walked to the start, I heard someone say that Electroshock Therapy was next! This meant I was within reach of the finish line! It also meant that this was the last water obstacle. Part of me had accepted that I could very well end up soaked again. Being so close to finishing made it a slightly less painful thought. My body was exhausted, but my mind was racing. Do. Not. Fall. After waiting in a short line, a man behind me gave my friend and I a tip about our foot positioning. Only one person was crossing at a time, so we took a moment to practice the posture. I could see, once again, that many people were falling in. The bars swayed a lot towards the center. Rapidly, back and forth, back and forth they swayed (a result of the wind, and of people shaking on the beams). They shook so much that it seemed almost everyone on the bars was being tossed off in the center. And then it was my turn. I stepped out onto the beam, repeating my new mantra. “Do NOT get wet. Do NOT get wet.” I kept my knees slightly bent to maintain balance, but could immediately feel the strain on my quads after the many miles we had already run. I worried my legs would be too weak, but I pushed forward. Front foot forward, back foot followed, never crossing the feet. I’d say it was more of a shuffle than a walk. As I approached the center, the sway began. It got gradually worse, until in the very center of the beam I had to stop my forward motion and literally sway my legs with the beam to avoid falling off. This obstacle was more like a live-action physics puzzle than anything else. My legs were swaying what felt like 6 inches in either direction, very quickly. I lowered my body (and thus center of gravity) a tiny bit more and was miraculously able to hold this position until the swaying lessened. What felt like 10 minutes later (but was probably literally 5 minutes, still a long time), I was across and not dripping wet! I could not believe I had made it across while people around me fell over and over again. My friend, who was waiting on the other side, received a more joyous “Let’s go!” this time. And before we knew it, we were at the dreaded, infamous torture machine that is Electroshock Therapy:

Surprisingly, I didn’t think twice about this obstacle. I was more exhausted, cold, and achy than I had ever been in my life. I had also already been shocked in Electric Eel, which I felt was more nerve-racking than ET because we were in the vulnerable prone position vs. running. And so the obstacle that I feared for months, the one that fueled the irrational fear that perhaps I had a long-hidden heart condition, and the one that was simply impossible to train for, didn’t phase me one bit. I lined up in front of it, mentally marked the path my friend had taken and survived, and ran. I just ran. Not too fast that if I got shocked I would fall or faceplant (like so many before me), and not too slow that I prolonged contact with the wires. Just a brisk jog. I entered the wires with my head down and my arms out slightly to protect it, leaping over the hay bales on the ground (preventing anyone from attempting to crawl underneath the wires), and exited the other side. Just one moderately painful shock to my elbow. Again, I praise my ColdGear and really do believe it insulated me a bit from the disabling shocks I had witnessed.

And just like that, I was out of the wires and crossing the finish line. I was a Tough Mudder. I forced a smile at the photographer shoving his camera in my face, and made my way directly to a girl holding a space blanket. She quickly wrapped it around me and tied it at my neck. Another girl came over and put the Tough Mudder headband (the ever-prestigious finisher’s award) on my head. As I walked around the finisher’s area, I was offered (and gladly accepted) bananas, free protein bars in unlimited quantity, samples of other protein products, and of course, the “free” beer. I grabbed the beer, did a quick cheers with my friend, and took a small sip. The last thing I wanted at that moment was a cold beer. Not to mention, my hands were shaking so violently that I was spilling everywhere, so I tossed it in the trash and grabbed another space blanket, wrapping this one around my legs. I was totally covered in shiny silver blankets, and I must say they worked amazingly well. Though I was cold at the core for several hours after the race, those blankets worked remarkably well to take the edge off. I previously thought I would want to stick around for a bit after the race, but I wanted to get home and warm ASAP.

It was almost a three hour drive home, but I never once took off my headband, my pride.

So ends my Tough Mudder saga, ladies and gentlemen. I have never been prouder of myself (this is no exaggeration). It was a test of strength and endurance, both physical and mental. By completing this course I have proven to myself that I can truly do anything I set my mind to. For a long time in my life, I felt as if I had grown too content with never challenging myself or holding myself to a high standard. I never stepped out of my comfort zone. I really believe, however, that the day of my Tough Mudder marked a turning point in my life. I can do and accomplish whatever I want to. And so can you.

So tell me, when will you become a Tough Mudder?


Tough Mudder 2012 PA #1 – April 29 – Pocono Manor cont’d

We left off Part 1 with a teammate on the ground clutching his ankle, and the frigid waters of the Arctic Enema awaiting. It is here that we pick up the story of our soon-to-be frozen heros:

After several minutes and a few photos (must take advantage of every photo op), my teammate was up and moving around, testing out his ankle. A different friend and I, in light of this promising sign of recovery, marched on towards the Arctic Enema. As we approached the obstacle, the only way to judge which dumpster was full of which color (if you read Part 1, you know we were trying to avoid the blue one) was to watch the splashes of previous Mudders. Once we determined which was orange, climbed up onto the ledge, waited for a clear landing space, and leapt into the ice bath. This image sums up the sensation that followed:

I had heard that this obstacle was by far the worst of them all. I must say, it was something like being instantly frozen solid, but it wasn’t the worst, for a few reasons. First, it was the second obstacle. We were still high on adrenaline from beginning this race, and we were warm. The water obstacles would become exponentially worse three hours later when we were shaking uncontrollably and falling into water again and again. So I would definitely not pin this as the worst obstacle. It was actually really invigorating and got us all ready to let the torture begin! Anyway, so we jumped in, and as I was underwater I decided to immediately swim under the wall. Most Mudders jump in, catch their breath, then dip under and pass the wall. I just jumped so far that I figured it’d be easier to catch my breath on the other side of the wall. So I swam under, and had no problem climbing out and jogging around a few minutes waiting for my whole team to get through. I was amazed at how spending just 15 seconds in water that cold could literally numb what felt like an inch into my body, and it would stay that way for a several minutes.

The trails that followed (for quite some time) were incredibly rocky. There was a narrow strip of flat dirt towards the side, but the stones were unavoidable. So for what felt like several miles, we were running down a trail just asking for a sprained ankle, and did see several people tripping or sitting on the side. We had to slowly cross a flowing stream with mossy rocks at one point, and the cold water actually felt good on my feet. Some time after the stream we hit a series of short Berlin Walls:

These walls were no problem. We were all able to jump and scale them independently (the larger walls would come later). There were three walls and then we were able to continue on the trail. We were all pretty much feeling good at this point, though many of my teammates were beginning to fall behind. So one teammate and I (in the spirit of staying challenged) picked up the pace slightly around a few turns and found ourselves crawling through some muddy trench tunnels. When first entering the tunnels it was pitch black, but about halfway I started to see the light on the other side. The mud in these tunnels was very soft, which was pleasant but a bit deceiving, as there were some large rocks in the mud. The next few obstacles came in quick succession. The Death March, a never-ending rocky uphill stretch:

Then came the Mud Mile. I was genuinely impressed with how much soft ankle-deep mud they were able to create. There was no way to safely run through this, and I didn’t seen anyone try. Everyone stepped slowly and carefully (as boulders underneath the mud often meant slipping and sliding). It went on for some time, and was a welcome break after the Death March (which I actually powered through and ran most of, though nearly all the other Mudders walked). After the Mud Mile came another uphill and then Fire Walker:

This was just an obstacle for the nose and eyes. There was a clear path through the flaming whatever-it-is, but it was completely smoked out. It wasn’t worth fumbling with my shirt to cover my nose and mouth (considering there was a professional photographer, read: photo op, on the other side), so my friend and I just sprinted through it. It stung the eyes a bit, and smelled pretty bad, but again it was barely a challenge. We jumped over the little line of fire on the other end and kept on truckin’. After another mile or so, we hit a First-Aid and Water Station. They were giving out energy Gummys so I grabbed a few packets of those, emptied them into my mouth, and chugged a cup of water. My friend and I decided to wait for the rest of the team at this point, but when they took longer than we expected at the station, we continued on our way. It also seemed like the team was splitting into little groups at this point so we felt it would be alright if we kept on pushing through the challenge. Following the water station, the course picked up on a paved path (felt horrible on the joints, which were beginning to get a little sore). Weaving around, up and down, this stretch of running probably took more of a toll on my energy than the lengthy trail runs did. We were, however, beginning to dry up a bit because we had not encountered another water obstacle yet. I would almost say I felt comfortable during this time. We hit Devil’s Beard next:

This obstacle might have been harder, had there not been so much teamwork going on. The net was tied very taut, so you could feel the downward pressure as you moved forward. But Mudders stood long the net and held it up for passersby. The expectation was that those who were holding the net up would be relieved by those they were holding it up for. This cycle of charity worked surprisingly well for a group of macho strangers. I passed through the net, held it up for a few minutes, then continued on my way. I was beginning to get slight aches in my legs at this point, so I was hoping that water would come soon (hoping the cold would numb them a bit).

It would come shortly, and boy would I regret it. The next water obstacle that came just a few miles later would mark the turning point of the race for me: when I would start shaking, and never stop. When it seemed like the water obstacles kept on coming. It would quickly become apparent that Tough Mudder was playing games with us. This first half of the race was a breeze. The second half would change all of that.

Continue to Part 3


Tough Mudder Tuesday #5

Less than two weeks to go and I’m finally kicking my ass into gear. I’ve been lifting, running, or biking almost every day and I’m feeling a little more confident (though not much). My only hope is that I’m not the slowest on my 11-person team. I am not in prime shape for this event, and I know that I will not be on race day, I just want to be able to keep moving. I’ll certainly be taking advantage of any lulls or breaks before obstacles, and surely at water stations. Though my concerns change literally every day, at the moment they are calf-cramps (which I’ve never had a problem with before, but I hear is prevalent in this kind of event), and ankle sprains (am I paranoid, or what?).

I’m still taking cold showers each day, which have been unbelievably refreshing. Turning the knob to 100% cold seemed impossible during cold shower #1, and just a few weeks later, it’s the most pleasurable and confidence-boosting part of the shower. I never, ever thought I’d say that a cold shower felt good, and I still won’t. I would say they feel amazing. Since I learned to coach myself through them and slow my breathing, it seems almost as if I’m tricking my brain into thinking it’s not cold water. An oddly powerful feeling accompanies that ability to trick and/or self-regulate my body’s reactions. I feel like David Blaine.

I’m getting pumped and scared simultaneously, but overall I’m excited and anxious. One thing is sure: it will be quite an experience. I hope somebody takes pictures!


New Year, New List!


Last year I posted about tools and web-apps that I use to stay productive. Among the list was 101in365.com, which has since changed its name to Accompl.sh and has established itself among the ranks of simple yet popular goal-tracking tools. While I appreciated the prior restriction of 101 goals (no more, no less), the limit has been taken away, leaving hordes of short lists with less creative or inspiring goals. When the rule of 101 was in place, I felt the site really challenged the list-maker to think about and rank the value of their goals, both big and small. The beauty of being forced to create such a long list is that you could set a long-term goal (“pay off student loans”) or a less significant but still important goal (“change my own oil”). Regardless, the website serves whatever purpose the user wants to make of it. My 2011-2012 list expired today (Day 365), and I have just locked my 2012-2013 list. My new list has 101 goals in spirit of the early incarnation of Accompl.sh and consists of goals I did not cross of my last list as well as new ones. Some of the goals I look forward to completing include…

 

14. Reach the 150 mark of IMDb’s Top 250
26. Go to The Moth
37. Finish reading the Millenium Trilogy (shout out to Teacher Girl)
60. Perfect the moonwalk
83. Vote in the 2012 General Election
98. Gain 100 Twitter followers (@eknud, help me get there!)
99. Write at least 24 blog posts

 

In the past 365 days I completed 68/101 goals and had 6 in progress when the list’s period ended today. I feel I accomplished a lot, but I moved all of my uncompleted goals to my new list because they are not to be forgotten! No goal will leave any of my lists until it is completed, no matter how many lists it takes. My goal this year is to complete at least 80 of the 101 goals. I believe this is realistic because in the process of reviewing my first list and making my second, I noticed which goals I tended to overlook. Primarily, I noticed goals which were not as easily defined, measured, or maintained were less likely to be crossed off. For example a goal like “floss every day” is technically a lost cause if I’m rigidly following the list (if I miss one day, I’ll have failed at it). However, if I establish clear minimums, I’m more likely to achieve my goals. For example, writing “Attend church 24 times” instead of “twice a month” allows for more flexibility; if there’s a month I only attend it once, I can make up for it in later months and still complete the goal. Through this and some other realizations, I feel I’ve made a much better list this year than last!

I listed just a few goals above, but there are many more! Check out my full list here. Then make your own and join the Accompl.sh revolution in 2012. Perhaps you’ll actually remember what you want to accomplish (pun intended) this year.


How I Stay Productive (while failing to blog)

About a month ago, in light of the recent rise of the popular GTD (Getting Things Done) movement, I carried out a massive overhaul of how I “get things done.” I’ve been pretty intrigued by the idea of becoming a more productive person ever since I knew I wanted to be in graduate school. I had, over time, become fully-aware that the habits that allowed me to coast as an undergraduate would just cause me to sink in grad school (e.g. cramming, partying, slacking, and the list goes on). I also didn’t want to wait until Day 1 of my program to decide to make changes to my work/play ethics (the balance is important)! I subscribed to and began reading productivity blogs like Zen Habits and LifeHack.org and learned of lots of ways to save time, money, and attention (not only in my work, but other ways as well). The following are a few techniques I’ve used or still do use to spare myself a life of procrastination and poor effort.

Pomodoro Technique – This time-management strategy involves working (really working) in 25-minute increments (called “pomodoros”), with 5-minute breaks after each pomodoro. After 4 pomodoros, you take a longer break (~20 minutes). I’ve found that this has really worked best with projects that I know will take several hours (a long paper, for example). Instead of writing a bit, pacing around, and writing a bit more, this technique adds structure to work. With a schedule like this, I’m more committed to do some hardcore work during those 25 minutes, using each 5-minute break as a motivator. There are several free web apps that are designed to time the various phases of the Pomodoro Technique, my favorite is Tomatoi.st.

To-Do List – I always keep 2 To-Do lists (hey, I never said I was a minimalist). I make the 1st list at the end of every day. Before I head to bed, I write down (on a Post-It note) the three most important things that need to be completed the following day. I carry it with me, and until these three things are done, I don’t even look at my 2nd list. The second list contains tasks that are less urgent or need to be completed over a period of time, and it’s constantly changing . Because it’s always being added to or crossed off, I find that online task managers work best for this type of list (GTasks, Remember the Milk, etc). I make the two lists because it highlights my priorities a bit better; rather than picking out three important things among a list of 15 tasks, the three important ones are the only ones I see until they’re complete. When working on multiple big projects, I find that it helps to use a more versatile task list, like Nirvana.

Long-term Goal Tracking -Every now and then I read or hear of something, and I think “I’d really like to do that one day.” A week later, the thought is lost in the abyss that is my memory (no, seriously, my memory is awful). Luckily, goal-tracking tools like 43things.com allow you to record these goals as you think of them, and you can look back on them to remind yourself of the trip to New Zealand you’re working so hard for, or the skydiving outing. Though I’ve used 43things, I find that because there’s no pressure to complete the goals, I do less to move towards them. For 2011, I made the switch to 101in365.com, which forces you to list 101 goals (however small or large) and gives you 365 days to complete them. Some examples from my list include memorizing a poem, paying off one of my student loans, and changing my own oil (you can see the rest of my list here). The time constraint makes me more excited about pursuing and completing these goals. Number 101 on my list? “Make another 101in365 list.”

Saving Money – While these do not quite help me pay off my loans, every little bit helps.

  • Pay for gas in cash. Gas stations, unless explicitly stating otherwise, often tack several cents onto the price of gas for credit card charges. Around me, the average is +10 cents, but I’ve seen as high as +12-15 cents. So when you complain about gas being $4.20 a gallon as you swipe your credit card, you could actually be paying between $4.30 and $4.35 per gallon. That certainly adds up over time! And don’t be fooled by rewards points, those 50 or so rewards points per tank amount to literally just $0.50 in most rewards programs (even 1% cashback doesn’t balance out the extra that you pay).
  • Use coupons. But only for things you needed anyway. I’ve saved a load of money using coupons properly (for example stacking manufacturer and store coupons). Research some serious coupon strategies (it may be worth it for you). If you’d rather watch couponing in action, turn the TV to TLC, they made a show out of it (“Extreme Couponing”).
  • Downgrade to a cheaper cable package. Nowadays, an internet-enabled computer can get virtually any TV show or movie, and with the right hook-up it can be connected directly to your TV. You’ll have all you need to see your shows, and you’ll never miss the channels you never watched anyway. Additionally, if it results in less TV-watching, well, I don’t need to explain how that’ll help your productivity and save you money.
How do you stay productive?