The Almighty “but” – Are You Hooked?

The almighty “but” – are you hooked?

If you’re like most people, you don’t even notice how much you use “but”.  I didn’t.  Then one day something I was writing felt like a “but” to me because “but” felt like “whining”.

“Buts” are traps or whines. Woe is me!  Or Bad is you!  Either way, whether it’s directed at yourself or someone else a “but” is non-productive.

Either it’s true or it isn’t. For instance, if a  manager says to an employee, “You did a good job but . . . .” How does that feel to you?  Doesn’t it feel like a big hammer is about to come down and don’t you think  it’s trickery even though it’s not happening to you?  I did.  Pure manipulation of the worst kind – make them feel good for a minute and slam them when their guard has been compromised.  The employee either did a good job or not – if there’s a but in there then using “good job” as a preface was a lie.

Then, there’s, “I would have but . . . “. Can’t you feel the excuse coming on?

We’ve all done it at one time or another.  How did you feel when you used it?  I felt unstable – off kilter – once the “but” comes out of my mouth, then I was into defensive mode.  When I simply say, “Yes, I didn’t do that”, I felt  strength – a place where I admit the truth and move on – it’s over.  If I get yelled at, well, that’s the consequence.  If I use “but”, I’ll possibly get yelled at anyway.  With the strength created by admitting my error, that is, taking responsibility for the events which did or did not take place,  I can respond more appropriately then if I’m in a defensive posture.

“But” is a difficult habit to break – we are surrounded by “buts”!

I prefer an approach in which when we have something to say someone, we just say it – bravely and limit ourselves to one thing.  If it is something nice, say it and let the person enjoy the compliment. If it’s something which may not be received so pleasantly, we can use tact which requires no “set up”  – we all know that a “set up” is cowardly.  We gain more self-respect and respect from others  for bravery when we speak honestly.

How to stop “buting”? Well, I found an article that was a lot of fun to read at and a fun way to stop using but.

Become aware and make it hurt when you catch yourself – pinch your butt – you heard right – pinch your butt every time you catch yourself “buting” – make it sting a little!  If other people want to join in the game, then agree to pinch each others’ butts when the “but” appears in the language – soon, there won’t be much butt pinching going on!

What are you thoughts about “but”?

Lorraine Arams
Don’t “but” your goals – achieve them!
Complimentary system at:

What is Critical to Know about Your Body and the Heat

What is critical to know about your body and the heat?

You’ve been taught it many times and read or heard it often in the news but people still ignore this vital factor especially when it comes to periods of intense heat as we are experiencing in many parts of the world – 49 degrees in Kuwait yesterday, 36 degrees in Toronto, 39 degrees in New York City – incredibly hot temperatures!

In the cities, it’s worse – the heat generated by black top on the roads, by the processes going on in buildings, the numbers of people and lack of trees and vegetation.

On the The Doctors show yesterday, they expounded on how critical it is to drink water – not coffee, tea, sodas, and other liquids but pure water especially in intense heat.  The body has nothing to process when it comes to water – it just simply replenishes the lost water through perspiration.  In intense heat, of course, the body perspires more than ever, however, the perspiration which is meant to cool down the body, can’t do it’s job – the temperatures are way too high!  A little help cooling the system is helpful by drinking some water.

How critical is it?  If your body does not have enough water, it may cause:

  • a heart attack because your blood is thicker and the heart needs to work a lot harder; if you drink the water, it thins out the blood
  • the brain to release more stress hormones and damage your brain so to make your brain work better, drink water
  • your metabolism to slow down, your digestive process to be sluggish, and your whole body strength to diminish as the muscles can’t function as well; the main component of any muscle including your heart muscle is water
  • heat stroke – many people die of heat stroke.  If you see someone vomiting, slurring their speech or unsteady on their feet, get help – they are experiencing some of the manifestations of heat stroke.

So what do you do?  Be very conscious of drinking water every day – just water.  It is critical to understand how much your body needs water and especially as the heat rises.

Some people hate drinking water because of the lack of taste – they’re used to drinking “flavor” in everything.  Well, there are simple things you can do which the The Doctors suggested and these are great and refreshing ideas:

  • put slices of oranges, limes, lemons, grapefruit into your water
  • put herbs such as fresh mint – there are various varieties of mint leaves – pick one you like
  • be creative – strawberries, frozen blueberries, diluted grapefruit juice ice cubes . . . .

Water is critical to your well being and your life during periods of intense heat as it is all the other days of the year – you body is 60-75% water and your kidneys need the water to function properly!

Give your body a break today!  Drink Water!  It’s Critical!

Lorraine Arams
Make healthier living a goal –
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Can Short Summer Hours Increase Productivity?

What do you think:  Can short summer hours increase productivity?

In my opinion, absolutely!  Why?  Because it gives people something to look forward to and the summer is a great time for people to get outdoors, enjoy the health impacts of more activity and socializing.  There is no question that summer is an ideal time to work less and enjoy more of life!  And for parents, it would give them more time to spend with their children.  Too, people, in general, slow down in the summer – the heat does have an impact on the ability of people to function and to think even in air-conditioned spaces. Therefore, even though people are showing up for their eight-hour day, their productivity is generally lower.

Let’s say a company had “summer hours” . To be fair to the company, there would, of course,  either be an adjustment in the number of hours worked somewhere along the line perhaps in the Winter months when the company is operating at peak levels or a deduction in salary.  With today’s technology, it’s not so difficult to track people’s time.  It would become company policy.  As long as suppliers and clients were informed of the summer hours, there would likely be no issue there either.  Yes, I know, some companies’ busy time is the summer, however, shorter hours would likely help here or alternative work hours to battle the effects of heat.

This is one way that companies can add flexibility to their environments without affecting the bottom line.  And a way for companies to get employees “recharged” for the busiest periods.  People always feel better when they have the time to spend with their friends and family, relax, and “reset”.

How does this affect people’s health in other ways? Heat has detrimental effects on the body which can affect a person’s efficiency.  Effects on the workplace can also include:

  • aggressive behavior towards co-workers causing more conflict
  • lower levels of patience affects the ability to deal with small problems and take the time to properly complete tasks
  • people feeling more burdened by work as people feel more listless and tired in heat

Air conditioners are not the panacea either.  They can:

  • aggravate chronic conditions such as arthritis and neuritis
  • cause sinus trouble
  • increase susceptibility to colds, flue and other minor ailments
  • stress is caused by being forced to go from a boiling hot environment into an air conditioned one – they are not able to cope with hot summer temperatures

Based on these effects on people’s health alone, companies would be wise to adopt shorter summer hours – there is no question that any one of these factors affects productivity.

Can short summer hours increase productivity?  Absolutely! If we consider the effects of summer heat has on people, that alone is enough to warrant an adjustment in hours.


Lorraine Arams
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The Heat is On – Are You ready?

The heat is on – are you ready?

Summer time is great fun and there is so much socializing going on we sometimes forget some of the basis in our excitement.

I would suggest purchasing a “summer bag” – preferably a canvas bag with a zipper at the top or some sort of closure and a shoulder strap.  A backpack is also excellent for this purpose.   The bag would contain the “basics” of summer:

  • sunglasses – it’s critical to have really good sunglasses to protect your eyes from the effects of the sun like these Maui Jim’s – click the image to find them
  • towel – large like a beach towel – for sitting on the beach or on the grass or even laying down for a little nap somewhere’ mini pillow or blow up pillow
  • bottle of water – big bottle – hydration is really important in the summer – your body is losing a lot of water through perspiration
  • snack such as apple chips, raisins, dried fruit, fruit leather
  • a hat – preferably vented somehow and portable
  • suncreen & lip balm; repellent (it’s a good idea to place these in a plastic bag inside your summer bag to prevent spills onto other items in your bag)
  • cover-up – something light which can be put over the shoulders if it gets cool
  • book – something to read should you find a great spot and you want to finish your Oprah reading selection 

  • pen and paper – often, when we’re at the beach, or walking or hiking, we get great ideas – with pen and paper, we can write them before we forget them or, often, we will meet someone and want to exchange email addresses
  • change purse with a little money – often we are out longer than expected and need to buy a little nourishment or we meet friends and linger over a ice tea, soda or iced coffee – it’s nice to do!
  • extra key to your house or apartment – in the summer, we more often lose things because we’re doing so much more and distracted more – an extra key securely attached inside your bag will help should you ever lose your keys or lock yourself out of your place.

What’s the advantage of this bag? You’re ready to go at a moment’s notice and never forget anything important like sunscreen.  When a friend calls, you pick up your bag and go or when you come home from work and you’re tired, you know all you need do is change clothes, put your sandals on and go.  It’s really handy – our brains go on “slow mode” in the summer and being ready like this just makes summer that much more enjoyable.  Time is spent outdoors instead of constantly using up valuable time trying to think of what you need every time you go out.

The heat is on – are you ready?    You can be with this bag – enjoying a lot more time outdoors!

Lorraine Arams
While you’re outside, thinking about your goals,
you might want a new way to achieve them
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Holidays – Are You Ready?

Holidays – are you ready?

Have you booked the time off for your summer vacation?  Are you ready in your mind to take a summer vacation?

It’s July – yes, already!  Summer seems so short because we just love the freedom lighter clothes and shoes seem to give us and the wonderful evenings watching the sunsets or camping under the big trees and looking at the millions of stars or walking through the woods where everything is lush and green or being in or on the water enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon “just cruisin'”.  We love the familiar summer music – Beach Boys – amazing how those songs have stuck around, isn’t it?

Are you ready for your holiday?  Have you booked the time?  If not, that’s the first thing to do!

And another great thing to have for the summer are checklists. They’re easy to build in Microsoft Word or on Excel spreadsheet – you can create them, save them in a file, print copies and keep the copies in a binder as a checkoff when you’re doing all the summer things you’re doing –

Title:  (put in the name of the activity).  Under that title, horizontally, place the following columns – —- Items to Pack (list all items you need to take with you) —- Number of items —- and Several Date columns. As you pack, simply checkoff what has been put into your suitcase or cooler or bag – whatever container you’re using.  This system will ease the stress of packing for the event.

It’s a good idea to have one checkoff list for each activity.  Once they’re created, of course, every year all you have to do is reach for your binder and there they are – ready to use!!!

Here is a list of possible checklists you might want to create for your holidays and activities  (and they’ll be very useful next year too when it’s inevitable that we always “forget” something the first time):

  • Picnics
  • Camping trip
  • RV trip
  • Beach
  • BBQ in the park
  • Bocci Ball Day
  • Family reunion
  • Boating trip
  • Road trip
  • Sports Tournament – softball, bocci ball, croquet, etc.
  • Camp (if you’re sending off your child to camp)
  • Hikes
  • Cycling trip
  • Opening and closing summer cabin
  • Trip to the lake

Hope you have a great summer holiday!

Lorraine Arams
While you’re sitting on the beach,
you might want to revisit your
goals; free system for you at

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