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Last Updated on February 7, 2018

Cook Healthy Meals Under 15 Minutes With These 10 Smart Products

Cook Healthy Meals Under 15 Minutes With These 10 Smart Products

We all appreciate a delicious home cooked meal at the end of a busy day. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find the time and energy to make dinner when you get in from work. You’re probably all too familiar with the sinking feeling you get when trying to find something quick and delicious to eat in your fridge. Cooking dinner takes too long, and you’re too exhausted by the time it’s ready to actually enjoy it anyway. A takeaway might seem like the perfect solution, but they are both expensive and unhealthy. The average takeaway meal is high in calories, fat, and salt, which will only make you feel worse in the long run!

That’s the bad news. But the good news is that cooking doesn’t necessarily have to take up a lot of your time. With the right equipment, it’s easy to put together a meal that requires very little planning and energy. Here at Lifehack, we’re proud to present 10 kitchen gadgets that will help revolutionize weekday dinnertime!

1. Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

    This clever cooker cuts down your cooking time by up to 70%. Not only that, but it’s actually 7 kitchen products contained within just one unit! Whether you use the slow cooker, steamer, or any other of its 5 functions, the inner steel cooking pot will save you a lot of time.

    Customer Review: “Awesome features, Very well built appliance and consistently improving for every new model. Perfect for almost every cooking need.” – Phoebe, Amazon Top 500 Reviewer

    2. Kuhn Rikon Swiss Pull Chop

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      This clever gadget makes chopping food easy. All you have to do is place the food inside the sturdy container, pull the cord a few times, and you’re done! You’ll save time on chopping and slicing.

      Customer Review: “This product is a must for your kitchen if you enjoy cooking from scratch. It easily chops all crisp veggies and nuts into fine chops.” – Donna H Holmes

      3. Dash Rapid Egg Cooker

        This device saves you the hassle of boiling water and watching over your eggs as they cook. Use it to make boiled, scrambled, and poached eggs, along with individual omelettes.

        Customer Review: “I must say, I have become very fond of this little unassuming appliance. I like the way it saves me from having dishes or pans to wash that have cooked egg white stuck to them.” – CACGH

        4. NuWave 20631 Oven Pro Plus

          This portable infrared oven cuts down your cooking time by up to 70%, with up to 75% less energy compared to a standard oven. It cooks meat, fish, vegetables, and even desserts to perfection.

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          Customer Review: “It really is and does what it says in the ads. It’s remarkably flexible, fast, easy to clean and generally a pleasure to use.” – Doctor Sardonicus

          5. Chefaith 16-Blade Apple Slicer

            If you need to slice an apple in a hurry, don’t reach for a knife – use this apple slicer instead. Simply place the slicer on top of a medium-sized fruit, and press down. The fruit will be cored and sliced within seconds!

            Customer Review: “Used this today for the first time, and I’m wondering how I ever lived without it! I used it on both large and medium Granny Smith apples from my tree.” – Sarah F. Carr

            6. Philips Airfryer

              The Airfryer’s patented “starfish” design allows a quick and result. It allows you to cook with up to 75% less fat! Just one tablespoon of oil is all you need! It also allows you to grill, bake, steam or roast food.

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              Customer Review: “Love this airfryer!! I throw all sorts of frozen goodies in here and they all come out so crispy and delicious in just a few minutes! Quiet, easy to clean, and super convenient. Machine itself is a beautiful shiny white that fits perfectly with my kitchen :)” – Mina Kim

              7. Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker

                This versatile cooker lets you throw in your ingredients the night or morning before, and then heats them up for you during the day to create a delicious meal. You can look forward to an instant dinner after a long day at work!

                Customer Review: “My wife and I like to make up enough of something to eat on for about 3 days on the weekends so we can eat better in the middle of the week. Wow everything i have cooked in this has came out like my grand mother had made it, sooo tasty :)” – Canable

                8. Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker Bluetooth

                  This kitchen gadget makes cooking sous vide easy. You will no longer have to spend time making sure the water is exactly the right temperature. Just attach it to the side of a pot, add water and ingredients, and get cooking.

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                  Customer Review: “Cooking with the Anova Sous Vide has made kitchen time much less hectic. Similar to a slow cooker, I’m able to put food items that are vacuum sealed (or water displaced) into the water bath and leave it until I’m ready to serve the item.” – KttyKat16

                  9. 45 Second Omelet Maker

                    As the name implies, this clever product enables you to cook an individual omelet within 45 seconds. Handmade in stoneware clay, it also looks stylish in the kitchen.

                    Customer Review: “I bought 2 because of the comments and I’m glad I did. One for me and one for my husband. We both use them at work for quick eggs without hassle that taste great. I’d highly recommend!” – SCGINVA

                    10. Microwave Pasta Cooker

                      This cooker means that you no longer have to wait around as the water for your pasta heats up. Instead, you’ll be able to cook it in the microwave in minutes, thus saving time and mess.

                      Customer Review: “I highly recommend this to any college student or adult who needs a fast microwave pasta cooker!” – Kelsi Murphy

                      More by this author

                      Brian Lee

                      Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                      Last Updated on July 19, 2018

                      What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

                      What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

                      If you have so many things to do that you often find yourself struggling to finish projects and tasks and move on to other stuff, you’re certainly not alone. Studies show that over 20 percent of the adult population put off or avoid doing certain tasks by allowing themselves to be overtaken by distractions.[1]

                      What about the rest of the population? What do they do to prevent procrastination?

                      In this article, I am going to explain to you why procrastination is so difficult to beat and how you can stop procrastinating once and for all by following a step-by-step guide. But first, you need to understand how procrastination happens.

                      What is procrastination

                      Piers Steel, the author of the book The Procrastination Equation: How to Stop Putting Things Off and Start Getting Stuff Done, defines procrastination in this way:[2]

                      “Procrastination is to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.”

                      In other words, procrastination is doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones. The end result is that important tasks are put off to a later time.

                      This comic is one of the typical examples of procrastination:

                        Why stopping procrastination is difficult

                        Human beings have limited self-control. Dr. Roy Baumeister, a psychologist from Florida State University, has been studying self-control and he has found that just like any muscles, human’s self-control is a limited resource that can quickly become exhausted.[3] When self-control is close to being depleted, human tend to choose what’s more pleasurable– the immediate procrastinated tasks instead of the actual works.

                        At its core, procrastination is an avoidance strategy. Procrastinators choose to do something else instead of doing what they need to do because it’s much easier to choose pleasure over pain.

                        In short, procrastination is so difficult to beat because it is a battle against human’s natural enemy, a human weakness that is in-born.

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                        A step-by-step guide to stop procrastinating

                        Despite the fact that it’s human nature to seek for immediate rewards and procrastinate, here I have a step-by-step guide for you to follow so as to stop procrastinating.

                        1. Identify your triggers: the 5 types of procrastinator

                        Identifying the type of procrastination you personally experience is an essential step for you to fix the problem at its root.

                        Take a look at this flowchart here to find out what type of procrastinator you are:

                          Which type of procrastinator are you? Let’s take a look at the triggers for your procrastination type:

                          Perfectionist

                          Being perfect is the pleasure perfectionists want. But often this leads to them being too scared to show any imperfections. Because of this, they frequently fail to complete things, as they’re forever seeking the perfect timing or approach. Tasks end up never being completed, because in the eyes of the perfectionist, things are never perfect enough.

                          Instead of finishing something, perfectionists get caught up in a never-ending cycle of additions, edits, and deletions.

                          Ostrich

                          An ostrich prefers to stay in the dreaming stage. That way, they don’t have to work for real, or deal with any negativity or stress.

                          Dreaming gives this type of people a false sense of achievement, as in their minds, they envision big, ambitious plans. Unfortunately for them, these plans will most likely stay as dreams, and they’ll never accomplish anything truly worthwhile.

                          Self-saboteur

                          A self-saboteur has bought into the line that ‘by doing nothing, bad things won’t happen.’

                          In reality, self-saboteurs have developed a fear of making mistakes or doing anything wrong. Their way to avoid these mishaps, is to do nothing at all. In the end, they may make few mistakes – but they also see few accomplishments.

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                          Daredevil

                          Daredevils are those who believe that deadlines can push them to do better. Instead of having a schedule to complete their work – they prefer to enjoy time doing their own thing before the deadline comes around.

                          It’s most likely an unconscious thing, but daredevils evidently believe that starting early will sacrifice their time for pleasure. This is reinforced in their minds and feelings, by the many times they manage to get away with burning the midnight oil. Often they sacrifice the quality of their work because of rushing it.

                          Chicken

                          Chickens lack the ability to prioritize their work. They do what they feel like they should do, rather than thinking through what they really need to do.

                          Prioritizing tasks is a step that takes extra time, so chicken will feel it’s not worth it. Because of this, they usually end up doing a lot of effortless tasks that don’t contribute much to a project. They’re incessantly busy on low-impact tasks, but seem oblivious to urgent, high-impact tasks.

                          2. Face your triggers and get rid of them

                          Whether it’s fear of failure, overwhelming feelings, avoidance or convincing yourself you’re just too busy to get something done, you can improve your ability to be productive by eliminating your procrastination triggers.

                          For Perfectionists, re-clarify your goals.

                          Much of the time procrastination tendencies form simply because we’ve outgrown our goals. We’re ever-changing and so are our wants in life. Try looking over your goals and ask yourself if they’re still what you want.

                          Take time out to regroup and ask yourself what you really want to achieve:

                          • What steps do you need to take?
                          • Is what you’re currently doing reflecting what you want?
                          • What do you need to change?

                          Write things down, scribble them out and rewrite.

                          For Ostriches, do the difficult tasks first.

                          Even if you feel you’re not a morning person, the beginning of the day is when your brain is most productive. Use this window of time to get the more difficult stuff done.

                          If you leave your difficult tasks to later, you’re much more likely to put it off because you’re tired and lack motivation.

                          Finishing lots of simple tasks at the beginning of the day such as reading all the new emails only gives you a false sense of being productive.

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                          For Self-saboteurs, write out a to-do (and a not–to-do) list each day.

                          Writing things down is powerful and psychologically increases your need to get things done.

                          Each day, make a habit of creating a list of the tasks you know you’ll try and avoid. By doing this, it brings these ‘difficult’ tasks to your mind’s attention instead of keeping them locked away somewhere in your avoidance mode.

                          Remember, think how satisfying and productive it feels to cross of a completed task.

                          For Daredevils, create a timeline with deadlines.

                          It’s common to have a deadline for a goal which seems like a good idea. But this is basically an open invitation for procrastination.

                          If it’s a self-created deadline with no pressure, we tend to justify pushing it back each time it comes into sight and feel we haven’t yet done ‘enough’ to get there.

                          Create a bigger timeline then within that, establish deadlines along the way. The beauty of this comes when each deadline completion is dependent on the next. It keeps you on track and keeps you accountable for being in alignment with the overall timeline.

                          For Chickens, break tasks into bite-sized pieces.

                          A lot of the time procrastination comes from overwhelming thoughts.

                          If something feels too big to tackle and we don’t know where to start, it feels like a struggle. This is also true if our goal is too vague and lacking direction.

                          Break down larger tasks into smaller ones and turn them into daily or weekly goals. Smaller steps may seem like the slower approach to achieving a goal, but it often leads you much more quickly to where you want to be due to the powerful momentum you get going.

                          3. Take planned breaks

                          The human brain isn’t designed to work continuously on the same task and this could be a reason for procrastination.

                          Make sure you take regular, structured breaks away from your task so that you can come back refreshed and ready to be more productive.

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                          A break as short as 5 minutes is enough to keep your mind sharp and wards off fatigue. I recommend you to use the Pomodoro Time Tracker. It is a great tool to help you take breaks at set intervals. Simply start the 25-minute timer, and follow the prompts.

                            4.  Reward yourself

                            It’s important to acknowledge and reward yourself for achieving even the small tasks. It creates a sense of motivation and releases those feel-good, productive emotions that spur you on to achieve even more.

                            Make your reward proportional to the task you completed so getting a bite-sized task done gets you a cup of your favourite coffee or snack. Then plan a weekend away or fun activity for the bigger stuff.

                            Personally I try to make staying focus more fun by using the app Forest. It turns productivity into a game. In the game, you can plant a virtual tree at the beginning of your work time. If you maintain focus for the duration of the timer, you’ll grow a tree to add to your forest. It’s rewarding when you can eventually grow a forest.

                              5. Keep track of your time in a smart way

                              If you want to prevent the bad habit of procrastination from coming back, keep track of the time you spend every day.

                              By having a clear idea of where you spend your time, you can always review your productivity and know which areas to improve.

                              It’s not easy to keep track of every minute you spend throughout the day so I recommend you to use the app Rescue Time.

                              It gets you a categorized breakdown of how you spend your time and helps you to find out how much time you’re really on-task. You can even label activities as productive and non-productive so as to block your biggest distractions.

                                Make procrastination under your control

                                Procrastination exists for many reasons and only you know for yourself what these triggers are.

                                Understanding what procrastination really is and the source of your avoidance tendencies is important in moving them out of the way and help you start the productivity momentum.

                                Reference

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