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Apples & Oranges: 5 Ways to Compare Products the Right Way

Apples & Oranges: 5 Ways to Compare Products the Right Way

It happens to all of us. The time comes when we need to upgrade one of our household products, such as a vacuum cleaner or a blender, but we don’t know where to begin to compare products.

How can you tell which product is better or cheaper among the abundance of options out there online? The ugly truth is, comparing products can be an unnecessary hassle when you don’t even know where to begin.

As a self-confessed online shopaholic, here are some useful tips I learned along the way. Use this advice the next time you’re in the market for a new item.

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1. Know Your Wants & Needs

When looking to buy a TV, for example, having a foundation as to what you’re looking for will give you a good head-start. Going in blind and looking at every model will only exhaust you. You’ll actually end up more confused than when you started. Shopping should be a fun experience.

Let’s say you’re more inclined to buy a 50 inch TV that is under $2,000. Well, you’re already on the right path by narrowing down what you need to sift through and compare before you make a decision. It’s not necessary to know exactly what you need, but having an idea will go a long way. This will make your shopping experience much easier and less stressful.

2. One Piece of Criteria is Never Enough

Just because a product is more expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s superior. It’s helpful to dig a little deeper and research the product that you have your eye on. Listen to what Alon Gamzu, CEO of Roundforest and founder of Comparaboo, has to say:

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“People can get hung up on one feature or the aesthetics of a product. The key is to analyze as much of the information as possible in order to make an informed decision. Comparing a variety of products or using algorithmic tools which can balance all the criteria make for much better indicators of quality.”

Relying on price alone is not recommended. Sometimes a single factor can increase the price of an item twofold.

A pricey microwave may have all the same basic functions as a modest one, but those silver dials are what make it $100 more. The important thing is to take everything into consideration and see the bigger picture — that way you’ll ultimately be happy with the product you choose.

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3. Read the Reviews (With Caution)

If thousands of people already bought the items that you’re looking at, chances are some of them wrote reviews and gave their two-cents. Look for in-depth analysis and verified purchases, as those will give you the best idea of what the products have to offer.

Be careful though. You don’t want to get lost reading reviews, as too many will distort your opinions on the products you’re looking at and can leave you in a daze. We also need to be wary of faux reviews. A recent Harvard University study suggested that 15 to 30 percent of online reviews are fake. Some people write good reviews on their company’s products and bad ones on their rivals, while others simply like to troll the internet. Be alert.

4. Take Advantage of Technology

There are plenty of useful sites out there. Price comparison sites can help you find the lowest cost when you’ve decided on an item. Other sites can tell you if an item is in stock at various locations. This is perfect for when that new gaming system seems to be sold out everywhere.

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The internet is a goldmine for helpful shopping tools, so be sure to utilize them where you can. Just beware of sites that require you to download software or ask for private details. When you use the available resources, the choice between products becomes much simpler.

5. Save a Bit More

Let’s say you’re deciding between two brands and price is the final obstacle. An internet search with terms “discount” or “coupon” may help you save on the cost of an item. A simple coupon code can net you 5 to 20 percent off. Many sites even offer discounts for first-time users after you’ve signed up. Lastly, there are also sites that search the web for the best deals and discounts daily, giving you another tool to save some money as you decide on a product.

Good Luck Out There!

Now that you have a bit more knowledge on product comparison, the time has come to put it to good use. Remember, these tips are just a taste of how you can be prepared when you go out shopping. Knowledge is power when finding the perfect product.

Do you have any additional tips? Share them with us in the comments!

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Yoav Vilner

CEO at Ranky

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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