Multi-tasking is the easiest way to drain your energy, get distracted and burn out. There is a way to stop it and have a more success and freedom. Watch this short video to find out how.

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Dan LeFave is the “Prepare for Success” coach, No. 1 best-selling author, speaker, habit-changer and the creator of the online program Live Without Limitations – Five Easy Steps to Release Old Limitations and Balance Your Life. He has been profiled on radio shows, in magazines, articles and podcasts, from Manhattan to Vancouver. Dan’s motto is, “Thoughts become untangled as they pass through your lips and over fingertips.” Visit his website.


  1. I have never really favored multitasking, and the focus is so spread that productivity is lost both ways. Therefore it’s much better to do one thing at a time!

  2. Here is a message from Carolyne, who is currently unable to post:

    REALTORS (r) wear many hats and do many jobs, one of which sometimes, or even regularly, is preparing food for family and possibly for friends. Always on the run and especially needing to be organized, with no waste, especially in regard to never having enough hours in a day, maybe REM readers will find this information useful.

    Just as important as timers in your kitchen: thermometers.

    You need two thermometers for your oven. Every oven is different; variables include how long an oven takes to get to the set preheat temperature, and that is just one issue. You will find a difference if you are using an electric oven versus a gas fired grill or oven.

    When checking for doneness, close the oven door quickly.

    No matter the price, make or stove model, oven temperature variables fluctuate, often as much as 25 degrees. There’s really no controlling it. The only thing you can do is monitor it, then adjust accordingly by keeping an eye on your oven temperature when using it.

    You can help a little to control consistency by not leaving the oven light bulb on, because the light bulb itself gives off heat, not just light.

    The back of the oven is always more hot by temperature than the front. And oven racks are adjustable top to bottom for a reason.

    Likewise thermometers fluctuate also, and no guarantee there, either. That’s why you need to keep two different makes or models of thermometers in your oven at all times.

    Don’t hesitate to call for service if you notice that you often have large variables. Your product temperature built in control may have a factory defect issue, even if your appliance is brand new.

    By the way, take into consideration your cooking vessels, if you are using glass dishes in baking, for instance, drop your oven temperature 25 degrees, after the oven has reached its preheat setting.

    Then for your small tools drawer you will need a candy thermometer for sugar, jams and jellies; and one dedicated to your deep frying; a meat thermometer for kitchen use might break if used in hot sugar, and keep another special thermometer just for grilling, stored within easy access to your BBQ or your grill. And keep them all clean and free of splatters and debris. Clean after each use. Bacteria love to grow in warm gooey places.

    A for-kitchen-use-only, keep a stiff firm bristle toothbrush handy and dedicated for use only to clean your timers and thermometers. Most kitchen clean-up brushes are too soft. Rinse well and let the toothbrush thoroughly dry after each use. You will find many uses for a kitchen toothbrush, so dedicate more than one.

    If you have enough kitchen or cooking space available, allot a specific storage spot for your thermometers and your timers; perhaps even assign a specific storage container, large enough to spread out the contents, labelled if helpful, in your pantry.

    Again, the prices of thermometers vary and it often pays to have duplicates of each. If you search out thermometers online, you will see an abundance of interesting information. But there is no best way or best product regardless of price, but like using timers, using thermometers definitely will help your net result in your gourmet experience.

    Here is a sample steak temperature guide preferred by chefs, and by home cooks for keeping control of serving preferences:
    120°F–125°F for medium rare, 130°F for medium, and 145°F for well done.

    Health scientists recommend not serving meat well-done. Some say char is carcinogenic. And take into consideration that all food continues to cook in its own heat once removed from the cooking heat source.

    Tent your cooked food while it rests redistributing its juices. Resting is vital to the process to net a great result.

    TIP: when ordering steak at a restaurant, you will see how skilled your waiter and the chef is if you place your order asking for a temperature preference rather than placing your order as: medium rare or medium well, for example.

    It will be an indicator to the kitchen that you take food preparation seriously. Their definitions as to doneness might not match yours, but a specific temperature guide is exactly that.

    Your wait-staff reaction will speak volumes. But surely the chef will understand. If you are told they don’t use thermometers, or you see raised eyebrows or rolled back eyeballs, you might consider not to book a return engagement.

    NOTE: One of the chief complaints about wedding food if serving plated is that it is either cold when the food is meant to be hot, or it’s too well-done, over-cooked. Hot food should be served on a hot serving plate, definitely not on a cold plate. But many things have to be taken into consideration in the prep kitchen.

    This might be a worthwhile conversation to have with your wedding planner or caterer.

    Personal discovery: Here’s a neat, unusual way to prepare eggs; experiment. “Grilled eggs.” Place whole eggs on the medium grill grate. Cover. Set your timer for ten minutes for hard-cooked, less time for soft eggs. Allow the whole eggs to get touchable by using tongs to place the finished whole eggs into cool water briefly. The results should produce a slightly smokey flavour. Serve with grilled vegetables chopped for salads, and other BBQ’d foods, for an unusual addition to your patio meals.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
    Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience

  3. Using your smart phone in the kitchen — speaking of being organized …

    Timer, Timer, Timer – get more than one… and then there’s your grill pan…

    Stop the madness. No fuss. No mess. No waste. Do not overcook things ever again.

    One of the most important tools in your kitchen is your timer. It is your friend. Using your timer wisely and listening to it, and reacting accordingly, will help you produce wonderful tender, melt in your mouth food. Your timer is as important as your ingredients.

    Most stoves have a timer, or at least a clock. If you don’t have a timer, watch your clock carefully. If you have a smart phone, set the timer on the phone. Most people have so much on their minds these days, they rely heavily on technology. Such a simple thing, to be a helper in the kitchen, is the timer on the smart phone. We all multitask. But your food in the cooking process does not take that into consideration. It demands your full attention, and if you are one whose mind gets distracted easily, for sure you will find using a timer helpful.

    But set the sound loud enough so you can’t miss it. Even if you have a timer, you will find you need more than one. And you will learn to listen to its alert.

    If you are cooking a thick steak or pork chop, set the timer for 4 minutes initially while the grill marks happen on the meat, using high heat. If you need 5 minutes, that extra minute will happen while you reach for your tongs. Use tongs, never a fork when working with meat. You don’t want to pierce the meat, or you will lose those most important and delicious, juices.

    At 4 minutes, turn the meat. You will have started the cooking process on high heat, to sear the surface of the meat, get those beautiful grill marks, and seal in the juices. As you turn the meat, turn down the heat to minimum, or lift the grill pan off the burner. The cast iron grill pan will retain its high heat for several minutes longer.

    If you are using the bbq, set one part for high heat and the other at low or medium. Using an oiled clean cloth, (and tongs) oil the grill veins. Set the timer for 3 minutes, and grill the meat to get great grill marks, then turn and move the meat to the less hot portion for another three minutes. Check with a sharp knife to check for doneness. Do not overcook.

    Back to the stovetop burner method: To complete the task, chefs often get their grill marks on, and then use the oven to complete the cooking process. At home, cooks often complete the cooking process on the stovetop, especially in hot weather when they don’t want to heat up the kitchen excessively, preheating their oven.

    Don’t forget, when cooking is complete, let the meat rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes, so the internal juices redistribute. Tent with tinfoil. You won’t have wasted juices on the plate. Carve on the diagonal, thick or thin, as your preference dictates. You will have the best meat plate if you follow these simple instructions.

    And, use your timer. Right away you will notice a difference in your cooking results. I repeat. Your timer is your friend. Your smart phone is a great accessory in your kitchen.

    SMART PHONE – Here’s a useful and important smart phone tip: if you don’t wear your smart phone as a body appendage, you will park your phone in many places when not in use.

    Most users have a cover hand back wrap on their phones, leaving the screen open and accessible. When you “park” your phone on a bathroom counter or elsewhere, turn it open screen face side down. This provides a little extra protection from splashes or for example a hair brush or other in use bathroom item that might fall onto the screen and break it.

    Steam in excess in a slower or while running a hot bath is not a good environment for your phone. But it’s sometimes necessary to keep the phone handy if expecting an important call; so, package wrap your phone in a clean dry facecloth and put it in a safe spot where you won’t accidentally grab the facecloth forgetting your phone is in it. Maybe even put the wrapped phone in the drawer or cupboard. The idea is to keep the smart phone away from the moisture. I shared this idea with an Apple rep during a conversation and she said she would pass it on.


    And then there’s the stovetop grill pan cleanup, with ribs, or veins: how do you clean yours? I can’t bear to see some of the grill pans people cook on. No, you don’t want to wash the grill pan with cleaning materials that leave a (soapy) residue on the cast iron. It’s perfectly okay to clean the bottom of the pan using a granular cleaner (rinse well), the part that comes in contact with the stove top burner; you need to keep the bottom spotless, too, to get the best use from the grill pan when cooking. Use a granular cleaner such as Comet powder, but definitely not for the inside of the grill pan. Picture this: you cook your steak or pork chop and the juice residue is stuck like glue, and will get more so if left too long without cleaning.

    But let’s go back to the beginning. You start with a wonderful fresh grill pan. Pour a little of your favourite cooking oil on the hot grill pan. Careful, ‘cause it’s HOT. Using a clean throw away cloth, or a wad of paper towel, saturated in oil, rub over the grill veins. Now you have a perfect surface on which to cook.

    When you are finished cooking, boil a little water and deglaze, yes, deglaze the grill pan right away. And save those wonderful drippings. Pour the drippings into a waiting wide mouth bowl.

    Put a clean washing dishcloth in the bottom of your sink. Using an edible but cheaper oil, perhaps a cup of oil, (for me, I don’t cook with Canola, but I keep a bottle of it handy, expressly for this use) pour the oil into the grill pan, in the sink. Let it sit overnight or for at least a couple of hours.

    Boil water and dilute the oil in the grill pan and dispose in a trash-able container. Next, sprinkle the grill pan with a half cup of plain ordinary baking soda, and a cup of plain white vinegar. Watch the bubbles. Just like chemistry class.

    Instant, like new. Just look at your grill pan. Again using boiling hot water or your tap at its highest heat, rinse the grill pan completely. Wipe the excess water away using a toss-away or paper towel. Turn on the stovetop burner till it is really hot. Turn it off. Place the grill pan on the turned off hot burner just briefly, to get rid of any excess water.

    Move the grill pan to another burner that has not recently been hot. Any water residue will evaporate and you’re ready to grill, again. Keep all your utensils sparkling clean the safe and easy way. This alone will improve all your results, especially if you use a timer.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”

    Carolyne L ?

    • Scroll down to Timer, Timer, Timer…comment.

      Easy Double-up’s Save Time When You Say You Don’t Have Time to Cook at Home; Saturday Morning Special…

      You could make multiples of this broth, depending on the size of family requirements and or the size of your freezer.

      You have a real job. Most REALTORS(r) do! It takes all your time leaving you no time to cook, so you join a drive-through line-up and waste twenty minutes of your valuable time ordering ready-made food often full of preservatives that over years will sooner or later impact your health. There’s no denying it.

      Let’s say it’s Saturday morning and housekeeping demands your attention. Sheets need changing, laundry needs doing. Not to mention a quick run through with the vacuum cleaner.

      But there’s something easy to do before you start your Saturday routine. And once organized it will take care of itself. The magic key is being organized. Multi-tasking at its finest!

      You don’t have to be Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, or Mireille Guiliano (French Women Don’t Get Fat fame)… Some of us weren’t allowed in the kitchen. So we had to wait til we were adults to figure out how to cook. Even when the turnout was not quite as expected, it was always edible, even if called by some other recipe name.

      Start by adding four generous chicken breasts to a large pot of cold water; about twelve cups, so you need a large pot. (You could be using frozen chicken breasts you forgot to take out of the freezer last night. That’s perfectly okay. We’ve all been there, done that.)

      Add four large, skin-scraped fresh carrots, quickly chopped into bite size pieces. Add two generous size chopped stocks of celery including leaves, and two bay leaves.

      Quarter a generous size ordinary white onion and add to the stock pot. Add all your favourite herbs and spices. Peel a half dozen garlic cloves but add whole. Do not crush. You can mash them later. Don’t forget the salt and pepper. Add a generous spritz of Maggi (r).

      Turn on high heat (set the timer on your smart phone, ’cause you might not hear the kitchen timer) for 8 minutes, to allow the covered pot to come to a boil. Turn heat down, so the pot will simmer; tilt the lid just a little. Set timer again for 20 minutes.

      Enjoy your morning coffee in-between. Maybe with a tartine for some quick energy. Keep a verrine selection in your fridge for a quick sustenance pick me up. Panna Cotta works.

      Go about your Saturday morning routine. The chicken pot will take care of itself. Turn off the covered pot and let rest till whenever you get back to it.

      You have made an abundance of wonderful chicken broth that you can use right away, or you can freeze it when it reaches room temperature, to have at the ready several times during the coming week.

      You could make my vichyssoise, my rustic mushroom soup, or just plain chicken soup, so easily in the coming week, all while you are real estate multi-tasking (maybe phone canvassing or rearranging your do not call list). There’s a multitude of recipes you can use the chicken broth in. Freeze it in portions.

      And the four chicken breasts? Use two, perhaps the next day, to make my fabulous chicken pâté filling for sun-dried tomato tortillas: (great for a meal, for after-school snacks, or even for packed lunches).

      Use breast number three, chopped small to make a fabulous chicken salad (so simple with a little homemade mayo, chopped fine fresh celery, parsley (LiteHouse freeze-dried really is like fresh), a little sweet paprika, a pinch of nutmeg, and a tiny bit of mustard), and fabulous pepper, instant salad to eat on its own, or alongside a green salad, or to make a delicious CLT (“chicken, lettuce, and tomato” sandwich; you could even toast it, and add a strip of crispy bacon).

      Take a cooler container of the chicken salad to work for lunch. The chicken salad will keep for a couple of days, in a covered glass container in the refrigerator. Typically it doesn’t freeze well.

      You could use the chicken salad in a crepe or an omelette, or serve in a pita-pocket with shredded iceberg lettuce.

      And breast number four? Ready-made to slice thin on the diagonal and serve with my wonderful whipped mashed potatoes with a side serving of your favourite veggies that you stored in the freezer another day; perhaps my very special not so ordinary, gourmet regular spinach. (Scroll to ‘add-on Comments’) at:

      Maybe use some wonderful leftovers. Ramp up the gourmet, drizzling the sliced chicken and the potatoes with my instant “Saucy Shallot Sauce.”

      Four easy wonderful opportunities to eat homemade food, all started while you aren’t even in the kitchen. Multi-tasking at its finest, and it isn’t even Saturday noon yet, and look what all a busy REALTOR(r) has accomplished.

      All this taking care of itself while you do your regular Saturday morning chores, made from things you most always have in your own pantry or your kitchen.

      © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks”
      Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience


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