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The Ultimate Garden: DIY Projects for the Frugal Homeowner

The Ultimate Garden: DIY Projects for the Frugal Homeowner

Buying garden decorations is a fleeting experience, but if you are making your own garden design, then the sense of achievement is far greater. Besides, if you make garden accessories out of materials you would naturally throw away, you will feel more resourceful. So, if you want to freshen up your backyard and already have a bunch of household stuff just lying around, you can try some of the following DIY projects.

Giant Xylophone

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    If you have kids and want to build something for their amusement in your front or back yard that is also decorative, then you can’t go wrong with a giant xylophone.

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    Here’s what you need: 90 x 35mm pine bars, 25 x 2.8mm galvanized staples, and 90 x 35mm pine bars. You will also need a paintbrush, handsaw, sandpaper, and some paint.

    First, you need to cut 9 pine bars to the length of 1200mm. Then, cut each bar by 75mm so that the first bar is 1200mm and the last one is 600mm. Paint those bars with two coats of paint. Just remember to wait for the first coat to dry before you apply the second one. Use one of the cut wooden blocks as a measure for the distance between painted bars.

    Next, cut enough rope to span them together and to have some left on both sides so that your xylophone can be tied to posts. Use two staples for each wooden bar on both the upper and lower half (so, four staples per wooden bar) to anchor the rope. Then, find a good place to tie your xylophone.

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    Pallet furniture

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      If you have tons of wooden pallets that you are not using, you can turn them into DIY pallet furniture. It looks really good and it basically won’t cost you anything when you want to redecorate. You can create garden paths with pallets, or you can craft a corner sofa on a patio. You can use them to store your gardening tools, or even to make planters.

      You can also use your pallets to create a suspended bed, a bed for your pet, or even a wooden fence. The best thing about this is that you won’t have to do much work — all you need to do is paint the wooden pallets and arrange them in a specific order.

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      Party Umbrella

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        This is an amazing decoration that goes well with the above-mentioned pallet furniture, and it will certainly come in handy during the summer. All you need to do is attach a few ribbons to lanterns, add some light-colored fabric, and combine them with your plain canvas umbrella. Whenever you want to freshen up your decorations, you can change the colors of the ribbons and fabrics.

        First, you need to measure the distance between the umbrella ribs and cut the fabric into rectangle shapes in order to fit inside the span between the ribs. Fold the long end of the cut fabric over the dowel and then use a hot glue gun to attach the fabric to the umbrella. Then, you need to glue short ribbons to the bottom of the glass lanterns and hang them using a fishing line. It’s really simple to make, and you can check it out here.

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        As you can see, all of these decorations are quite easy to pull off. You can make something for kids, or you can create your own furniture and awesome party umbrellas to go along with it. Make sure you go through the links that are supplied in the text in order to have a clear image of how the decorations should look. I hope you have a fun time crafting these items and that your garden will look as amazing as you imagined it.

        Featured photo credit: http://skitterphoto.com/?portfolio=summer-wine via pexels.com

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        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

        20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

        Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

        If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

        1. Create a Daily Plan

        Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

        2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

        Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

        3. Use a Calendar

        Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

        I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

        Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

        4. Use an Organizer

        An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

        These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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        5. Know Your Deadlines

        When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

        But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

        6. Learn to Say “No”

        Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

        Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

        7. Target to Be Early

        When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

        For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

        Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

        8. Time Box Your Activities

        This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

        You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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        9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

        Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

        10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

        Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

        You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

        11. Focus

        Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

        Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

        Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

        12. Block out Distractions

        What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

        I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

        When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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        Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

        13. Track Your Time Spent

        When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

        You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

        14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

        You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

        Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

        15. Prioritize

        Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

        Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        16. Delegate

        If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

        When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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        17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

        For related work, batch them together.

        For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

        1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
        2. coaching
        3. workshop development
        4. business development
        5. administrative

        I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

        18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

        What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

        One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

        While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

        19. Cut off When You Need To

        The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

        Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

        20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

        Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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