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Beat the Heat this Summer with these Home Improvement Tips and Projects

Beat the Heat this Summer with these Home Improvement Tips and Projects

Do you find that your home gets way too hot during the summer months and you need to find a bit of relief? There are all kinds of simple things that you can do in order to cool your home down, and you don’t have to spend a whole lot of money. In fact, most of the things you can do won’t cost anything at all. Here are a few ways you can beat the heat this summer (and get some things done around your home).

1. Block Sunlight

When sunlight beams in your home, it can really heat it up. Your pets may enjoy the comfortable sunbeams, but you won’t enjoy the heat. Simply close the blinds or curtains during the hours when the sun shines in. Keep the windows open to allow air to pass through and circulate.

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2. Make an Air Conditioner

You can easily make your own air conditioner without spending a single penny. All you have to do is fill a bowl with ice, and place it in front of an electric fan. The fan will blow the coolness from the ice throughout the room.

3. Use a Damp Sheet

An old desert trick that really works is to hang damp sheets in open windows. The air flowing in will be cooled by the dampness in the sheet and lower the temperature inside your home by several degrees. This is also a good way to dry freshly cleaned sheets, and you don’t have to use the dryer or stand outside in the heat hanging them out on the line.

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4. Maintain Your AC

Make sure that routine maintenance is regularly performed to ensure that it is running efficiently. It should be inspected by an HVAC technician, and you should replace the air filter every month so air flows through easily. Learn more about this and other household maintenance tips at Invitation Homes.

5. Run Appliances at Off Peak Times

When temperatures are lowest (early mornings and evenings), this is the best time to run appliances. They throw off heat, so you don’t want to use them when it is really hot outside. Another option is to invest in small appliances that don’t give off as much heat, such as electric roasters, slow cookers, and pressure cookers.

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6. Do Inside Projects

When it is hot outside, start doing things inside that you have been putting off. Hang those pictures, or clean up that basement (you will also stay a lot cooler if you are working in the basement). Avoid working in the attic when it gets too hot.

7. Use the AC and Fans Together

When you use an air conditioner and a fan at the same time, you get a much cooler home. Don’t worry about using more electricity. With the fan helping to circulate the air, the air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to cool your home, so there will be little difference in the amount of electricity used.

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8. Cool the AC

The outside portion of your air conditioning unit should be in a shaded area. The cooler it is, the better and longer it is going to work. Plant some shrubs around the unit, or even create a shade screen all around it. Either way, in addition to helping to keep your home cool, it will also be an attractive addition to the property and cover up the ugly air conditioning unit.

9. Use Your Ceiling Fan Properly

In the hot summer months, make sure your ceiling fans are switched so they move counter-clockwise. This will move the warm air upward, leaving more comfortable, cool air throughout the home.

Featured photo credit: Binyamin Mellish via pexels.com

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Jane Hurst

Writer, editor

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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