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6 Kitchen Hacks that Save you Time and Money

6 Kitchen Hacks that Save you Time and Money
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Most people hate spending time in the kitchen. Whether you are cooking a meal or washing dishes, you tend to find yourself wishing you were somewhere else, doing something better and more productive with your time, if you’re like most of them. An hour spent baking, delicious though it might be, could have seen you reading a book or typing out a blog post.

If you were a millionaire, you wouldn’t hesitate to hire a maid and a personal chef so you would never have to spend time in the kitchen again. Unfortunately, you don’t have that type of money (yet!) So, while you wait for your fortune to accrue, you might as well want to have a glance at some kitchen hacks, which will help you spend less time in the kitchen.

So, what exactly is a kitchen hack? It’s simply a technique you can use that cuts out steps in a normal process or uses a tool in a way you never thought about before. Some of them will also allow you to save money by forgoing an expensive gadget. Most of all, they’re ways to save you time, allowing you to do more important things.

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Over the last few months, I’ve tested as many kitchen hacks I’ve come across as possible. The ones I found most useful are compiled below. Enjoy!

1. Make all your meals for the week in bulk

First off, this is probably the trick that will save you the most amount of time. Instead of cooking meals every night of the week, simply cook five dinners at once, pack them all into individual containers, and then stash them all in the fridge.

Begin by doing this: Every Sunday evening, make five lunches and five dinners. Vary the meals depending on your mood, but make sure usually each meal involves one serving of carbs, one piece of meat, and vegetables. You could cook a pot of rice, a pot of quinoa, and a handful of sweet potatoes—that takes care of the carbs for the week. Then bake five or so chicken breasts and broil five or so fillets of salmon—that would take care of protein. After that, bake a couple of sheets of assorted vegetable to round out a balanced meal. Mix and match vegetables, carbs, and protein into individual containers, and voila, you have meals ready to be microwaved whenever you need.

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Storing all these meals is the tricky part. You’ll have to invest in some more Tupperware containers – and also clear out some serious space in your fridge. But if you fully commit to this plan, and stay consistent with it, you’ll save an insane amount of time. Plus, it will keep you on a very healthy diet plan!

2. Have a flexibly-sized dining room

This one isn’t so much a kitchen hack – it has more to do with serving the food and entertaining guests. You may not have a big dining space, but everyone once in a while will want to have over a lot of people for a special occasion.

If you’re like me and have big dinner parties only occasionally, don’t invest in a big table to accommodate everyone. Instead, buy a smaller dining table that can convert into a bigger one. Experiment with diverse ideas on how to plan your dining space in a way that accommodates different configurations.

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3. Use floss to cut cake

Your knives may not be sharp, and if you use a dull knife to cut a cake, you might squish and deform your desert. Don’t do this! Instead, simply use a length of dental floss to cut the slices of cake. It cuts cake perfectly and gently, and it allows you to cut perfectly sized pieces, unlike using a knife.

4. Use a hammer and nail to open a wine bottle

We’ve all been in a situation where you really need to open a wine bottle but there’s no wine opener in site. What do you do? Go sober for the night?

Fear not. If you don’t have a wine opener, you can simply use a nail (or screw) and a hammer. If using a nail, place it with the head side flush against the top of the wine cork. Then gently strike the hammer onto the thin end of the nail. This will drive the cork down into the inside of the wine bottle. You won’t be able to get the cork out – or recork the wine – but you’ll now have an open bottle of wine. Drink up.

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5. Clean your microwave easily with lemon juice

If your microwave is anything like mine was, it’s probably encrusted with residue from dozens or hundreds of dishes. Bagel bite sauce that I never cleaned off caked onto the microwave’s ceiling. They become pretty disgusting – and they’re difficult to clean.

The easiest way I’ve found to clean the inside of a microwave is this: Take a bowl and fill it with one cup of water, then squeeze the juice of one or two lemons into the bowl. Microwave the bowl on high for three minutes. Once it’s done, the boiling lemon water will have done some magic to the surfaces inside the microwave. Now all you have to do is wipe the inside with a sponge or cloth to clean off all the food residue – no scrubbing required.

6. Ripen a banana instantaneously in an oven

Bananas are a fickle – though delicious – mistress. Often times in the store they’re an unripe green, at which stage they are hard, bitter, disgusting things. But after a few days, they often go sailing past the unripe stage straight toward the mushy, black-spotted overripe stage. It’s hard to get a banana exactly ripe when you want it.

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There’s a quick fix for this! If you have an unripe banana, simply stick it into an oven set to 250 degrees F and wait around 15 minutes. It’s a little tricky to get the timing right (if you wait too long, it will hit that cloyingly sweet, overripe stage.) But when you do get it right, it will be a regulatory experience – a ripe banana whenever you want it.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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