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10 Resolutions For Your Home In the New Year

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10 Resolutions For Your Home In the New Year

Every year, the New Year arrives, brimming with possibilities. Promises and resolutions are abundant. You feel this time, it’s really going to be different and nothing will stop you from accomplishing your goals.

Now that January has rolled around, you must be really looking forward to a great 2016. You might have vowed to quit smoking, lose some weight, travel new places or spend some more time with your family. But what about your home – the place where you’ll spend most of your year? Below we present to you ten resolutions for your home this year, in the perfect spirit of new beginnings. They say home is where your heart is but a lovelier, better organized, and more comfortable place to live will surely work wonders.

1. Cut down the use of energy.

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    How about trying to improve the planet as well while you’re improving yourself? Going green could be a great way to make this year truly remarkable. You could start with solar panels or a hybrid car but those are not the only things that can make a difference.

    Learn to properly recycle, remember to turn off lights while you’re not using them and turn the taps off when you’re brushing your teeth. This way, you’ll not only contribute towards a better planet but also cut down your bills significantly.

    You can trim energy use by sealing and insulating your ductwork. This increases the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by almost 20%. It will make your home more comfortable and also extend the life of your furnace, heat pump and air conditioner.

    2. Create a healthy and family-friendly kitchen

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      The kitchen is the place where families gather together in the midst of all of the hassles of everyday life. While each of us are busy in our work and studies throughout the day, the kitchen is what brings us together.

      So why not make as healthy and family-together kitchen as possible? Make your kitchen clean and organized and keep it full of healthy and nutritious ingredients. Look out for some healthy recipes in cookbooks or online. Throw out anything that has overstayed in your kitchen by checking out their expiry dates. And also, transform your kitchen into a place that’s not just about cooking but also about connecting. Make the kitchen more accessible. You could also create a zone for kids in the kitchen. Try to make it multi-purpose and also elegant.

      3. Keep indoor air uncontaminated

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        Indoor air quality is one of the most important indicators of the quality of the environment you are living in. Prolonged exposure to polluted air can lead to complications like chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and lung cancer.

        Indoor air can be full of contaminants like dust, pollen and mold spores. The problem can be even more severe during winter when we prefer to keep our doors and windows shut all the time.

        The harmful irritants in your home can be eliminated by maintaining your HVAC system and changing furnace filters regularly, using low-VOC paints during remodeling of rooms and using localized ventilation in your bathrooms and kitchens to get rid of smoke, cooking fumes and surplus humidity.

        4. Install low-maintenance and durable materials

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          This year, shift your focus towards materials that are low-maintenance and durable. They will provide you a trouble-free service for a long time and since you have to spend minimal time maintaining them, they will spare you from worrying about looking after them. You could use fiber-cement siding which is weather-proof, exceptionally stable and resistant to fire, dents and rot and lasts for as long as 50 years. LED bulbs meanwhile last a phenomenal 18 to 46 years even when they are used for 3 hours every day.

          Seasonal artificial plants can be used to decorate your home if you don’t have time to spend hours every week tending to your flowers and trees in the garden.  Ceramic tiles which look extremely good on floors and walls meanwhile also last for decades.

          5. Make your house safe and sound

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            Your home may look wonderful and it’s properly organized also. How about putting some efforts into making it safe as well? You should ensure you’re not living with a potential fire, health or security risk. Besides installing fire detectors, check your house for gases like radon and carbon monoxide also. The hardware that perform these tests are not particularly expensive either. And, also watch out for dryer lint.

            Make sure your house is properly ventilated. You could also install door and window alarms, that don’t cost much these days. And also, ensure that your house is up to date with latest safety standards.

            6. Get your space organized

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              Getting rid of clutter is a must. In fact, it’s probably the best and cheapest way to feel better about your home. Of course, the act itself however can be quite overwhelming but can you think of a better way to start the year than with a clear and organized home? Keeping your space organized basically comes down to two things if you stick to them. One is to periodically get rid of whatever things you don’t use often or don’t like at all. The other is to only bring in things that you actually need.

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              Creating extra space for storage is another way to keep your home organized. With added space, you can store your possessions easily without your room looking untidy. So this year, how about making use of your imagination at creating a little more space in the most unimaginable places?

              7. Spend some time on home improvement projects together

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                How about trying your hand on some cool home improvement projects this year with your family? Such projects will not only improve your living place but you will also get to spend lots of quality time together as a family. You could try out some DIY projects. They are a fun and creative way to spend time and when finished, you’ll have something elegant to decorate your house with. They come in at all sorts of different budgets. Some of them don’t require much time to complete either.

                You could also try something organic. Plant a tree in your backyard or spend some time in the garden together with your family. Preparing home emergency preparedness kit or making your entrance more inviting is also a great idea.

                8. Get your finances right

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                  This probably could be the year you finally get your finances right. Creating a yearly budget will help you a lot. That way, you know how much you’ll need to spend this year and will also help to avoid overspending.

                  Do not forget to allocate some budget for improvement and maintenance of your house. Cutting down the use of energy will also help a lot. So turn off your air conditioner when you are not at home and dial your heater down to a lower temperature at night. Sound financial health is assured when you make enough money and when you do not overspend the money that you have worked hard to earn. So think of the ways to make enough money this year and also try to cut down costs as much as possible.

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                  9. Work out a system to keep your house clean

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                    Everybody loves to live in a clean house but almost everyone dreads the act of cleaning itself. Coming up with a solid plan to keep your house clean could be the best thing you did this year. Devise a daily, weekly as well as monthly plan to keep your entire house clean.

                    It’s best to focus on one particular type of cleaning at a time. You can wipe windows and mirrors first and then move on to sweeping the floors. And also, keep the cleansing utensils like sponge, scraper, cleaning cloths, plastic bags and apron in a place where you can easily find them.

                    You could also divide the cleaning job among the members of your family. Some of them can do dusting and vacuuming while the others can clean up the bathroom. This way, you can clean the entire house in no time.

                    10. Make your place more welcoming

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                      Every year, we vow to spend more time with family and friends. So why not make your house friendlier to increase the odds of real conversation and connection this year? All it takes is a little bit of rearrangement and a couple of updates.

                      You could start with your living room – the place where you welcome your family and friends. It doesn’t need to be very complicated either. Even adding a few bright cushions or placing down a new rug can make a huge difference. Guest bedrooms constitute the other essential part of the friendly experience. The experience of the guests in the places where they sleep can create lasting memories. So try to make them cozy and comfortable.

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                      Featured photo credit: Kitchen Renovation by leyla.a via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on October 7, 2021

                      Are You Addicted to Productivity?

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                      Are You Addicted to Productivity?

                      “It’s great to be productive. It really is. But sometimes, we chase productivity so much that it makes us, well, unproductive. It’s easy to read a lot about how to be more productive, but don’t forget that you have to make that time up.”

                      Matt Cutts wrote that back in 2013,[1]

                      “Today, search for ‘productivity’ and Google will come back with about 663,000,000 results. If you decide to go down this rabbit hole, you’ll be bombarded by a seemingly endless amount of content. I’m talking about books, blogs, videos, apps, podcasts, scientific studies, and subreddits all dedicated to productivity.”

                      Like so many other people, I’ve also fallen into this trap. For years I’ve been on the lookout for trends and hacks that will help me work faster and more efficiently — and also trends that help me help others to be faster. I’ve experimented with various strategies and tools . And, while some of these strategies and solutions have been extremely useful — without parsing out what you need quickly — it’s counterproductive.

                      Sometimes you end up spending more time focusing on how to be productive instead of actually being productive.

                      “The most productive people I know don’t read these books, they don’t watch these videos, they don’t try a new app every month,” James Bedell wrote in a Medium post.[2] “They are far too busy getting things done to read about Getting Things Done.”

                      This is my mantra:

                      I proudly say, “I am addicted to productivity — I want to be addicted to productivity — productivity is my life and my mission — and I also want to find the best way to lead others through productivity to their best selves.

                      But most of the time productivity means putting your head down and working until the job’s done.” –John Rampton

                      Addiction to Productivity is Real

                      Dr. Sandra Chapman, director of the University of Texas at Dallas Center for BrainHealth points out that the brain can get addicted to productivity just as it can to more common sources of addiction, such as drugs, gambling, eating, and shopping.

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                      “A person might crave the recognition their work gives them or the salary increases they get,” Chapman told the BBC.[3] “The problem is that just like all addictions, over time, a person needs more and more to be satisfied, and then it starts to work against you. Withdrawal symptoms include increased anxiety, depression, and fear.”

                      Despite the harmful consequences, addiction is considered by some experts as a brain disease that affects the brain’s reward system and ends in compulsive behavior. Regardless, society tends to reward productivity — or at least to treat it positively. As a result, this makes the problem even worse.

                      “It’s seen like a good thing: the more you work, the better,” adds Chapman. “Many people don’t realize the harm it causes until a divorce occurs and a family is broken apart, or the toll it takes on mental health.”

                      Because of the occasional negative issues with productivity, it’s no surprise that it is considered a “mixed-blessing addiction.”

                      “A workaholic might be earning a lot of money, just as an exercise addict is very fit,” explains Dr. Mark Griffiths, distinguished professor of behavioral addiction at Nottingham Trent University. “But the thing about any addiction is that in the long run, the detrimental effects outweigh any short-term benefits.”

                      “There may be an initial period where the individual who is developing a work addiction is more productive than someone who isn’t addicted to work, but it will get to a point when they are no longer productive, and their health and relationships are affected,” Griffiths writes in Psychology Today.[4] “It could be after one year or more, but if the individual doesn’t do anything about it, they could end up having serious health consequences.”

                      “For instance, I speculated that the consequences of work addiction may be reclassified as something else: If someone ends up dying of a work-related heart attack, it isn’t necessarily seen as having anything to do with an addiction per se – it might be attributed to something like burnout,” he adds.

                      There Are Three “Distinct Extreme Productivity Types

                      Cyril Peupion, a Sydney-based productivity expert, has observed extreme productivity among clients at both large and medium-sized companies. “Most people who come to me are high performers and very successful. But often, the word they use to describe their work style is ‘unsustainable,’ and they need help getting it back on track.”

                      By changing their work habits, Peupion assists teams and individuals improve their performance and ensure that their efforts are aligned with the overarching strategy of the business, rather than focusing on work as a means to an end. He has distinguished three types of extreme productivity in his classification: efficiency obsessive, selfishly productive, and quantity-obsessed.

                      Efficiency obsessive. “Their desks are super tidy and their pens are probably color-coded. They are the master of ‘inbox zero.’ But they have lost sight of the big picture, and don’t know the difference between efficiency and effectiveness.”

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                      Selfishly productive. “They are so focused on their own world that if they are asked to do something outside of it, they aren’t interested. They do have the big picture in mind, but the picture is too much about them.”

                      Quantity-obsessed. “They think; ‘The more emails I respond to, the more meetings I attend, the more tasks I do, the higher my performance.’ As a result, they face a real risk of burnout.”

                      Peupion believes that “quantity obsessed” individuals are the most common type “because there is a pervasive belief that ‘more’ means ‘better’ at work.”

                      The Warning Signs of Productivity Addiction

                      Here are a few questions you should ask yourself if you think you may be succumbing to productivity addiction. After all, most of us aren’t aware of this until it’s too late.

                      • Can you tell when you’re “wasting” time? If so, have you ever felt guilty about it?
                      • Does technology play a big part in optimizing your time management?
                      • Do you talk about how busy you are most of the time? In your opinion, is hustling better than doing less?
                      • What is your relationship with your email inbox? Are you constantly checking it or experience phantom notifications?
                      • When you only check one item off your list, do you feel guilty?
                      • Does stress from work interfere with your sleep?
                      • Have you been putting things off, like a vacation or side project, because you’re “too swamped?

                      The first step toward turning around your productivity obsession is to recognize it. If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then it’s time to make a plan to overcome your addiction to productivity.

                      Overcoming Your Productivity Addiction

                      Thankfully, there are ways to curb your productivity addiction. And, here are 9 such ways to achieve that goal.

                      1. Set Limits

                      Just because you’re hooked on productivity doesn’t mean you have to completely abstain from it. Instead, you need to establish boundaries.

                      For example, there are a lot of amazing productivity podcasts out there. But, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them all in the course of a day. Instead, you could listen to one or two podcasts, like The Productivity Podcast or Before Breakfast, during your commute. And, that would be your only time of the day to get your productivity fix.

                      2. Create a Not-to-Do List

                      Essentially, the idea of a not-to-do list is to eliminate the need to practice self-discipline. Getting rid of low-value tasks and bad habits will allow you to focus on what you really want to do as opposed to weighing the pros and cons or declining time requests. More importantly, this prevents you from feeling guilty about not crossing everything off an unrealistic to-do list.

                      3. Be Vulnerable

                      By this, I mean admitting where you could improve. For example, if you’re new to remote work and are struggling with thi s, you would only focus on topics in this area. Suggestions would be how to create a workspace at home, not getting distracted when the kids aren’t in school, or improving remote communication and collaboration with others.

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                      4. Understand Why You Procrastinate

                      Often, we procrastinate to minimize negative emotions like boredom or stress. Other times it could be because it’s a learned trait, underestimating how long it takes you to complete something or having a bias towards a task.

                      Regardless of the exact reason, we end up doing busy work, scrolling social media, or just watching one more episode of our favorite TV series. And, even though we know that it’s not for the best, we do things that make us feel better than the work we should do to restore our mood.[5]

                      There are a lot of ways to overcome procrastination. But, the first step is to be aware of it so that you can take action. For example, if you’re dreading a difficult task, don’t just watch Netflix. Instead, procrastinate more efficiently,y like returning a phone call or working on a client pitch.

                      5. Don’t Be a Copycat

                      Let’s keep this short and sweet. When you find a productivity app or technique that works for you, stick with it.

                      That’s not to say that you can’t make adjustments along the way or try new tools or hacks. However, the main takeaway should be that just because someone swears by the Pomodoro Technique doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

                      6. Say Yes to Less

                      Across the board, your philosophy should be less is more.

                      That means only download the apps you actually use and want to keep (after you try them out) and uninstall the ones you don’t use. For example, are you currently reading a book on productivity? Don’t buy your next book until you’ve finished the one you’re currently reading (or permit yourself to toss a book that isn’t doing you any good). — and if you really want to finish a book more quickly, listen to the book on your way to work and back.

                      Already have plans this weekend? Don’t commit to a birthday party. And, if you’re day is booked, decline that last-minute meeting request.

                      7. Stop Focusing on What’s Next

                      “In the age when purchasing a thing from overseas is just one click and talking to another person is one swipe right, acquiring new objects or experiences can be addictive like anything else,” writes Patrick Banks for Lifehack .

                      “That doesn’t need to be you,” he adds. “You can stop your addition to ‘the next thing’ starting today.” After all, “there will always be this next thing if you don’t make a conscious decision to get your life back together and be the one in charge.”

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                      • Think about your current lifestyle and the person you’re at this stage to help you identify what you aren’t satisfied with.
                      • By setting clear goals for yourself in the future, you will be able to overcome your addiction.
                      • Establish realistic goals.
                      • To combat addiction, you must be aware of what is going on around you, as well as inside your head, at any given time.
                      • Don’t spend time with people who have unhealthy behaviors.
                      • Hold yourself accountable.
                      • Keep a journal and write out what you want to overcome.
                      • Appreciate no longer being addicted to what’s next.

                      8. Simplify

                      Each day, pick one priority task. That’s it. As long as you concentrate on one task at a time, you will be less likely to get distracted or overwhelmed by an endless list of tasks. A simple mantra to live by is: work smarter, not harder.

                      The same is also accurate with productivity hacks and tools. Bullet journaling is a great example. Unfortunately, for many, a bullet journal is way more time-consuming and overwhelming than a traditional planner.

                      9. Learn How to Relax

                      “Sure, we need to produce sometimes, especially if we have to pay the bills, but, banning obsession with productivity is unhealthy,” writes Leo Babauta. “When you can’t get yourself to be productive, relax.” Don’t worry about being hyper-efficient. And, don’t beat yourself up about having fun.

                      “But what if you can’t motivate yourself … ever?” he asks. “Sure, that can be a problem. But if you relax and enjoy yourself, you’ll be happier.”

                      “And if you work when you get excited, on things you’re excited about, and create amazing things, that’s motivation,” Leo states. “Not forcing yourself to work when you don’t want to, on things you don’t want to work on — motivation is doing things you love when you get excited.”

                      But, how exactly can you relax? Here are some tips from Leo;

                      • Spend 5 minutes walking outside and breathe in the fresh air.
                      • Give yourself more time to accomplish things. Less rushing means less stress.
                      • If you can, get outside after work to enjoy nature.
                      • Play like a child. Even better? Play with your kids. And, have fun at work — maybe give gamification a try .
                      • Take the day off, rest, and do something non-work-related.
                      • Allow yourself an hour of time off. Try not to be productive during that time. Just relax.
                      • You should work with someone who is exciting. Make your project exciting.
                      • Don’t work in the evenings. Seriously.
                      • Visit a massage therapist.
                      • Just breathe.

                      “Step by step, learn to relax,” he suggests. “Learn that productivity isn’t everything.” For that statement, sorry Leo, I say productivity isn’t everything — it’s the only thing.” However, if you can’t cut loose, relax, do fun things, and do the living part of your life — you’ll crack in a big way — you really will.

                      It’s great to create and push forward — just remember it doesn’t mean that every minute must be spent working or obsessing over productivity issues. Instead, invest your time in meaningful, high-impact work, get into it, focus, put in big time and then relax.

                      Are You Addicted to Productivity? was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

                      Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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