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Get Organized and Stay Focused at the Office and Home - Part 1

Monday, November 29, 2010
We're right on course to one of the busiest times of the year — come to think of it, they're all pretty jam-packed. To avoid the risk of being bogged down by to-do's and suffering the eventual stress meltdown, start taking proactive steps now. Organizing your home and work life can enhance your productivity, which means more time for the fun stuff — or even more work for the workaholics among us. In this two part blog series, we'll offer tips and tricks that will keep you focused while allowing for some down time. First let's tackle how to get organized and stay focused at the office.

Nix the Time-Wasters:

According to Salary.com, Human Resources reps assume those who work an 8-hour day will waste about an hour of it performing non-work related or unnecessary tasks. However, those surveyed admitted to wasting over 2 hours per day — that's over 65 lost workdays per year. Think of all the things you could be doing in that time! To combat this productivity loss:
  • Keep a time log: you may not even realize that you just spent 45 minutes catching up on celebrity gossip or playing online Cubicle Warfare. By tracking how much time you're wasting and where, you'll guilt yourself into resisting the temptation of meaningless toil.

  • Do-away with distractions: Turn off visual email alerts, text message notifications and maybe even your business phone. According to Stanford Professor Dr. Clifford Nass, though multi-tasking may seem like a viable method to get more done, it actually hinders productivity. Focus on one thing at a time rather than constantly diverting your attention toward other projects. If possible, refrain from constantly checking your email and answering phone calls. Instead, schedule time during the day that is dedicated to reading and responding to messages.

Keep Your Office Space Organized

Everyone's got their own system for organizing their workspace and their tasks. The trick is to identify the method that works best for you. Organize your workday by:
  • De-cluttering your desk: Your desk has to be squeaky clean to be functional: Myth. It doesn't matter where stuff is, as long as you can find it. While designated file folders, drawers and bins are usually helpful, for some, the actual process of organizing can eat up more time. Instead, focus on organizing items in a way that works for you. You want to be messy? Great! Just don't let it slow you down.

  • Setting daily goals: Make a list and set realistic time limits for the must-do items for the day — but also determine rewards and penalties based on your success or failure. If you have too many tasks to complete and not enough time accomplish all of them, set priorities. Something is going to be pushed to the wayside and it's better that you decide what project it's going to be.

Be Realistic

Being human is synonymous with imperfection. Sure, you want superpowers that let you finish everything you set out to do with flawless accuracy while you meet impossible deadlines — all with a smile on your face. But here's a reality check: it's not going to happen.
  • Delegate: If you manage employees, strive not to micro-manage. Instead, pinpoint your personal responsibilities and stick to what you know. Anything that can be passed off without creating even more headaches for you or overloading your team members should be delegated.

  • Don't bite of more than you can chew: Track the obligations you already have and make realistic determinations of how much time each item is going to take. Then, you'll have a rough idea of how much time you have remaining for future projects. If you have more projects than work hours, just say "no." For the workaholics out there, the word can leave a bitter taste in your mouth, but approach project completion with the "quality over quantity" mentality.

  • Take breaks: Allowing a few minutes to unwind can help you focus more intently and get things accomplished when you are hard at work. Take a few minutes and relax.

When You're Off the Clock, Keep Your Focus

Stay tuned for part two of "Get Organized and Stay Focused at the Office and Home." you'll learn tips to maintain your new, organized lifestyle while you're away from your workplace.


Energizing Your Black Friday and Bringing Home the Loot

Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Every year, the final week of November, we celebrate a holiday with traditions that were set in motion years ago. Some refer to it as the official start of the holiday season. For others, it's an occasion to form family unity. Still others mark it as stressful time busy with preparation. But for most, it's a day to be thankful … for doorbuster deals and cutting the line without being noticed. Yup - retailers rejoice because Black Friday is on its way!

Traditionally, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest retail shopping day of the year. Over the past 10 years, this shopping holiday has been making steady gains in national popularity. In 2009, consumers forked over $40 million- that amounts to a lot of cordless drills and crock pots.

According to Reuters, close to half of U.S. consumers take advantage of Black Friday deals. So, with all this competition, not everyone is going to make it to the checkout with their wish lists fulfilled - but after this post, my money (or what's left of it after Nov. 26) is on the 5-Hour Fans. I know it's going to be exhausting, especially after all that turkey, but don't fret, the 5-Hour Energy Guy is here to give you tips on staying energized while you bag the loot. So, set your alarm clocks, lace-up your tennis shoes, and put your mouth guards in because you have some serious shopping to do!

The Preparation:

If you think you're going to just "wing it," on Black Friday, you just might get crushed - literally. Each year, there are multiple reports of serious injuries as a result of Black Friday crowd shenanigans - so proceed with caution and maybe wear some non-slip shoes.

As for the deals, it will be easiest to map out your must-haves before the post-Thanksgiving stampede. Check out sites like BlackFriday.info and BFads.net to preview ads and checkout store hours. Decide ahead of time which items you want to snag and note your top priorities. Many similar items might be on sale at different locations, so do your price comparisons. However, it might be a good idea to develop a backup plan in case the item you're looking for is already sold out.

When sleuthing deals, be on the lookout for duds. Don't assume anything advertised as a Black Friday deal is, in fact, marked down. Use resources such as BizRate.com, Shopping.com and PriceGrabber.com to verify actual discounts.

After you've developed your list, map the best route between stores. This will shave precious minutes off your travel time. Use FindtheBestRoute.com or Route4Me.com to plan the most efficient course.

The Day Of:

If you've done your research and have set a plan of action, Black Friday should be a breeze - okay, you're right, it probably still won't be. But one can always hope, right? To make this day of calamity run as smoothly as possible, here are some Black Friday shopping tips:
  • Get energized: You can't be ruthless when you're groggy. Do some jumping jacks to get warmed up, then counteract the Turkey Day tryptophan with a 5-Hour Energy Shot.

  • Dress comfortably: This might seem like a no-brainer, but there are still some fashionistas out there who insist on wearing 4-inch heals whenever they head to the mall. Remember that on Black Friday, you're probably going to come home with torn clothing and pulled hair anyway.

  • Haggle prices: Today, your pride will probably take a digger, so don't be afraid to show the manager a competitor's ad for a product with a lower price tag. It might not be their store's policy, but during the holidays, exceptions are going to be made.

  • Work in teams: Recruit a friend or unsuspecting family member to help you out. Put your lists together and separate the items based on store or aisle location. Just make sure to keep your receipts so you can figure out who owes whom later on.

  • Be on the lookout: You might find some unanticipated deals that are unadvertised. For the sake of time, go ahead and snatch the potential impulse buy, then use your Smartphone to do the research while you're in the checkout line. There are countless barcode scanner apps for your iPhone or Android.

Stay Put Instead:

Want to avoid the Black Friday rush? Do your shopping at home. You'll avoid the madness and you won't miss the legendary post-thanksgiving turkey sandwiches. DealNews.com and GottaDeal.com list deals that can be put in your online shopping cart. Just be prepared to miss some of the doorbusters and surprise buys.

Sure Thursday's Thanksgiving might be the holiday for family, togetherness and giving thanks, but the following Friday, you get to be competitive, crude and selfish and no one will judge. I guess it all evens out. Ahh, gotta love the holidays!


5-Hour Energy Racing Season Recap

Monday, November 22, 2010
Sadly, for NASCAR fans, the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series has come to a close. But, the good news is that Steve Wallace, the #66 racecar sponsored by 5-Hour Energy crossed the finish line with 8 months of quality stats in tow.

Wallace started out the 2010 NASCAR season on a high note, clinching a top ten spot in the first three races: the DRIVE4COPD 300, the Stater Bros. 300 and the Sam's Town 300. Throughout those 900 combined laps, he tore up the track with ease, finishing each race in a higher position than he started. However, as with most great achievements, success doesn't come without its trials and tribulations.

For the next three races, as a result of crashes and equipment failure, Steve Wallace had to throw in the towel early. Throughout the remainder of the season, Wallace was plagued by various stints of bad luck, but each time, he's made epic comebacks. Wallace finished-out the season with a 15th place finish at the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Over the course of the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series, 5-Hour Energy Racing's Steve Wallace earned a career-best 13 top ten finishes, garnering him 3,940 points and an overall rank of 10th place. After only four full seasons of professional racing, those stats are not too shabby - but what else would you expect from Rusty Wallace Racing? Each season since

Steve Wallace's first professional NASCAR race in 2005, he has succeeded in improving many of his stats from the year before, which spells nothing but continued success for 5-Hour Energy Racing. Want us to prove it? Check out Steve Wallace's stats from the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series.

As 5-Hour Energy Racing bids a fond farewell to the 2010 NASCAR season, we can only speculate as to the going-ons of the upcoming year. However, since 5-Hour Energy will once again be sponsoring the #66 Racecar, and of course, its driver Steve Wallace, we have high hopes that the 2011 NASCAR Season is going to be great ride!


Re-Energize Your Workout after Falling Out of Step

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
It's officially Fall, which means a fresh season and a shot at turning over a new leaf. If your focus on working out has waned, or disappeared altogether, now is the perfect opportunity to hop back on that treadmill with some tenacity - even if it means showing yourself some tough love.

Let the guilt go

Whether you've been absent from the gym for a couple of months, or a couple of years, odds are the guilt you're feeling is more debilitating than the loss of conditioning. It's alright to feel blameworthy - at least for a few minutes. However, don't let these negative thoughts hinder you from getting and staying motivated. Set yourself a time limit to sulk, then deal with your failures and let it go.

Be honest with yourself

To move forward and ensure you don't get caught in another workout slump just as you get started, determine why you took a break in the first place. Did you:

  • Feel too busy?

  • Hit a plateau?

  • Suffer some stress?

  • Get burned out?

If you're reading these and silently nodding 'yes,' you need a dose of truth serum: these are just excuses. At the time, it might have been an easy way out to placate your guilt, but perhaps you were simply employing a cookie-cutter defense to justify a lack of motivation. First, change your mindset, only then can you change your body for the long haul.

Adjust your expectations

Starting a new workout regimen is exciting, but don't fly out of the gates so fast that you immediately hit a wall. Understand that you're not going to start back up exactly where you left off. While it's a bummer to realize that your past progress is masked by a layer of lounge-chair flub, don't attempt to atone for your sedentary stint by working out twice as hard. Doing so risks loss of energy and focus from over training. Instead:

  • Set attainable goals.

  • Start each workout slowly and finish strong.

  • Listen to your body. Push it when you can, but know when to back off the intensity.

  • Cross-train to keep from focusing all the stress on your target area of training.

  • Reexamine your technique to make sure loss of muscle and cardiovascular fitness hasn't led to poor form.

Update your techniques for staying motivated
Obviously, if you've fallen off the workout wagon, your motivation techniques lacked a little gusto. What once got you going, might not egg you on like it used to. Refurbish your goals and grant yourself new rewards for achievement. Here are some tips that might help you re-focus:

  • Go old school: If you've never tried pairing your tape measurements with some Polaroids, get out the old pen and paper - archaic, I know - and document your starting point. Tracking the changes in your body will help you keep up the hard work.

  • Go high-tech: Alternatively, if Smartphone apps are more your style, download FitSync for Android or Couch to 5K for the iPhone and use them to stay on track.

  • Hold yourself accountable: Believe it or not, making the decision head back to the gym and staying dedicated to these goals are likely the highest hurdles you'll encounter. Much of your exercise program is a mental game. The key is to set the right goals, then follow through.

Start today!

Procrastination is your enemy - so start now, even if it's a short workout. Remember that even a marathon starts with a first step. Don't hesitate to take yours.


"Let's finish up this Happy Hour, I've got to kick a tire."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Decoding NASCAR Lexicon

Some people just don't get NASCAR. But, those who are attentive to the details and are fluent in NASCAR-speak will become one of the 75 million fans that are hooked for life.

While the racing illiterate see a herd of cars relentlessly turning left and hear devotees spouting nonsense in the stands — dedicated fans know better. They're watching, can cozy in hand, to see if crew members are adding a wedge or if a driver is "pitting outside the box."

As for the so-called nonsense in the stands: those highly-attuned to the subtleties of NASCAR lexicon can translate the apparent babbling into pertinent racing information.

Here's a crash course in racing jargon so you can understand what is said while you watch Steve Wallace drive the 5-Hour Energy car, in the next NASCAR race:
  • Splash and Go: Saving time during a pit stop by only refueling with enough gas to finish the race.

  • Up against the fence: When a driver is racing in the high line around the track.

  • Stroking: When a driver takes it easy at the beginning of the race to ensure his or her equipment is still functioning at the end of the race.

  • Run out of Talent: Race poorly.

  • Gasser: An aggressive driver who can maneuver effectively to race fast. The opposite of a Field Filler.

  • Lucky Dog: The driver in the lead of the other cars that have been lapped once when the yellow caution flag waves. When racing continues, this driver is placed in the last position with those on the lead lap.

  • Dirty air: The turbulent air currents caused by the lead car, which can cause wrecks.

  • 200 mile-per-hour Tape: Simple colored duct tape used to patch a dinged-up racecar for the remainder of the race.

  • Darlington Stripe: The black mark found on cars that race close to the wall at Darlington Raceway, also known as "The Lady in Black."

  • The Big Red Trailer: Similar to a principal's office. If a driver is sat down here, it means he or she has violated rules and will be scolded by NASCAR officials.

  • Apron: The part of the track that separates the racing surface from the infield.

  • "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, let's go racing boys": The catchphrase coined by Darrell Waltrip as the green flag starts each race. DW is a retired racecar driver and the lead analyst for Fox network's NASCAR telecasts.

Think you've got it? Take a stab at these phrases and try to decipher their true meaning:

    What is said: "Back'er down rookie, your stickers can't run flat-out on those marbles"

    • Translation: "Please slow down. You're inexperienced and, even using new tires, you shouldn't race at full speed over the pieces of rubber that have accumulated on the outside of the track."

    What is said: "Let's finish up this Happy Hour, I've got to kick a tire."

    • Translation: "I need to complete the final hour of practice prior to the start of the race, but then I require the use of lavatory facilities.

    What is said: "Look at those nice shoes! I think that racer chaser is sufferin' from the Nomex effect."

    • Translation: "That very beautiful woman only pursues the attentions of racecar drivers. At present, she seems to be stricken by the attractive nature of the fire-proof suits worn by the drivers."

With a bit of studying, you too can be a can-cozy-carrying member of the NASCAR fan club.