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Last Updated on February 7, 2018

Spend 50% LESS Effort On Your Plants With These Smarties

Spend 50% LESS Effort On Your Plants With These Smarties

Gardening seems like such a relaxing hobby: retired women and men seem to love it with a passion, and lots of families like to take on gardening projects together. You just have to plant the seeds, water regularly, and wait patiently. What could be easier?

Yet a lot of people fail to grow plants successfully! If you take a closer look, there are actually a lot of things that you have to take care of…the humidity of the soil, the amount of sunlight that the plant takes in – which might impact where you plant it – and how much water the plant does and can actually absorb. This “hobby” is actually extremely time-consuming and very easy to fail if you overlook the small details.

So: here at Lifehack, we’d like to introduce you to 10 smart gardening tools and apps so that you can closely monitor your plants, with half the effort. Below, check out our descriptions and the helpful product reviews we’ve collected.

1. Click & Grow Indoor Smart Fresh Herb Garden Kit

    This reusable herb garden kit is perfect for busy home cooks who just don’t have the time or perhaps the space to keep up a garden. It’s also incredibly easy to use, because there are no fussy pumps, plant food, or extra parts that you have to worry about. Just get convenient plant cartridges to place in the container, fill up the water reservoir, and plug the device in!

    “One word, Amazing!! This plant grower is perfect, it comes with a little app that helps you keep track of your garden. The herbs grew in a question of days and it looks very stylish. Overall, super happy with my purchase and would definitely reccomend!” – Amazon reviewer Andrea Herrera

    2. Coltura LED Sunshelf

      The Coltura LED Sunshelf is the answer for those aspiring gardeners who don’t live in the appropriate climates or have sufficient space to grow a garden. The light panel provides the plant with the exact amount of light it needs to thrive – blue light stimulates root growth and photosynthesis. Not to mention, it looks totally stylish as an end table for your living room!

      “The designer gave me everything I desired for growing plants indoors. It looks like a beautiful piece of furniture but functions exactly as you would want to grow indoor plants. Love the wood accents, the tray to protect the wood are not visible.” – Ginger, a reviewer on www.gardeners.com

      3. LED Grow Light

        This light is perfect for those who business professionals just want to dip their toes into cultivating plants: it’s best for providing light to individual (or just a few) tabletop, indoor plants. This LED Grow Light would work perfectly in an office, in the kitchen, or anywhere else at home! You can clip, screw, or stick the light anywhere for ease of use.

        This is a great product for small plants if you are not looking to spend much money. I have used this now on my Wandering Jew and my African Violets with great success. The Wandering Jew had been badly chewed by my cat and I had to move it to my dimly lit cabinet top where it continued to wither. I purchased this and a few weeks later the Jew had tripled in size and was doing quite nicely. When my violets quit blooming, I can place this light on them for a few weeks and my blooms are back. You are only going to be able to light one plant at a time with this, but the light is very flexible and good for this purpose. I have had no issues leaving it on while sleeping or at work. As others have said, make sure you are m not looking directly at the light and you will be okay! – Amazon reviewer Technically Honest

        4. Parrot Pot – Smart, Connected Flower Pot

          The Parrot Pot is an automatic watering system for anybody who doesn’t have the time to constantly monitor their plants – parents, grandparents, students, and busy workers. As the perfect “Plant Sitter,” it can optimize water consumption unattended for up to a month; in addition, it can take accurate, real-time measurements about your plant’s health.

          “This [pot] doesn’t just notify you when it is time to water, it does it for you, by pumping water up from a reservoir at the bottom and spraying it onto the top of the plant soil. This means all you really have to do on an ongoing basis is fill the water tank every so often. The pot can go up to a month without a refill. This is especially good for people who travel. What do you do when you get notified that you need to water a plant back in North Carolina while you are in a hotel in Wales? That’s right, nothing. This pot waters itself while you are gone.” – Amazon reviewer Sean Logue

          5. Lechuza 13380 Cube Color 14 Self-Watering Garden Planter

            This self-watering garden planter is perfect for students, with its stylish look and affordable price point. You don’t need to repot when you have the Lechuza Cube. Instead, drop the grow pot into the Lechuza planter and fill the water reservoir. Perfect for indoor use, college students and young professionals saving up can still enjoy the benefits of gardening.

            “I buy Lechuza all the time for their quality. I will buy again!” – Amazon reviewer T

            6. Covery 3 in 1 Soil Tester Moisture Meter

              The Covery soil tester is a must-have for every gardener, especially those beginning gardeners who want to move into a more regular habit. For its modest $10.99 price, this product will help you determine: when you need to water, whether your plant is getting enough sunlight, and whether the pH of the soil is ideal for plant growth. No batteries needed!

              “I really thought my husband was throwing money out the window by purchasing the less expensive soil tester. I was proven wrong. The Covery is accurate along side a professional who came and told us the very information this inexpensive meter told us.” – Analiese Nunamaker, Amazon reviewer.

              7. ThermoPro TP55 Digital Hygrometer Indoor Thermometer Humidity Gauge

                This digital thermometer doubles as a humidity gauge, giving every indoor plant owner the information they need for successful plant growth. Powered by AAA batteries (included), ThermoPro’s digitial hygrometer and thermometer has a backlight and touchscreen for easy reading. It also displays the trend of each reading, which is useful so you can adjust temperature and humidity ahead of time. Switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit readings, depending on what you prefer!

                Many people use ThermoPro for purposes beyond gardening!

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                “This product is great. Love the accuracy that it gives. Needed it for my baby’s room as well as for my room to know the temp of the room and the humidity. So far so good…I can actually tell when the room is dry and then I use the thermo pro to confirm and it does so accurately! Wonderful product at a reasonable price. I brought three of them.” – KiaCam, Amazon reviewer

                8. Honeywell HCM350W Germ Free Cool Mist Humidifier

                  The Honeywell humidifier is beloved widely by people with dry homes! And it’s just as useful for dry homes where plants could use a greater level of humidity to thrive. With QuietCare Performance, this humidifier is extremely quiet and works hard in the background at three possible levels. It runs up to 24 hours before you have to change the filter.

                  “I finally find a humidifier I can use. At medium speed, it brings up the humidity (from 16 to 25%) in my room and the noise is not too loud so I can sleep.” – NANNAN N LEE, Amazon reviewer

                  9. House of Plants: Living with Succulents, Air Plants, and Cacti

                    House of Plants is the perfect example of total plant newbies and urban hipsters alike, written by Rose Ray and Caro Langton and beautiful photography by Erika Rax. In this wonderfully practical guide, you will learn exactly how to take care of succulents, cacti, and air plants, which are very fashionable now. The authors explain how to nurture and enjoy your plants, as well as how to arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing way in your home.

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                    “Useful book to a beginner of indoor gardening. Fun ideas and with instructions on how to make them. Would recommend if someone has seen enough inspirations online and wants to get a book for trusted information.” – Review by an Amazon customer

                    Featured photo credit: Photo by Rachel Lees on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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                    Spend 50% LESS Effort On Your Plants With These Smarties

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                    Last Updated on October 17, 2018

                    7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                    7 Natural (And Highly Effective) Ways to Improve Memory

                    How is your memory? Is your cognitive function as strong as you’d like it to be?

                    If not, then you’re definitely going to be interested in the memory improvement tips I’ll be sharing with you in this article.

                    Despite what you might think – or have been told – improving your ability to recall information is certainly possible. You just need to know the right ways to do it. (Don’t worry, as you won’t need to make any significant lifestyle changes.)

                    So how to improve memory? Let’s dive straight into the first of seven easy ways to improve your memory significantly.

                    1. Meditate

                    We live in a world of non-stop, 24/7 information. It’s like a waterfall that’s endlessly pouring news, data, facts and figures into our conscious minds.

                    Unfortunately, our brains are not designed to absorb this tremendous amount of information. It’s no wonder then, that most people struggle to remember information and recall things.

                    Even if you believe you have a good memory and are comfortable with multi-tasking, you’ll also be aware that there’s only so much information your brain can process at one time. And research suggests that the more information and distractions, the harder it is for you to transfer information to your long-term memory.[1]

                    Fortunately, meditation can help you out.

                    Even if you just meditate for 10 minutes per day, you’ll boost your ability to focus, which in turn, will make it easier for you to remember important facts.

                    If you need help in shifting into a meditative state, I recommend trying an app like Headspace – which can assist you to achieve this in a convenient and structured way.

                    And don’t forget, meditation doesn’t just have to be closing your eyes and sitting in a lotus position. Some people prefer to simply take a short walk in nature. This clears and calms their mind, and still provides the all-important boost to their focus.

                    2. Get plenty of sleep

                    If you’re sleep deprived or have not been sleeping well, then I’m guessing you’re not remembering well either. This is because sleep and memory are intimately connected.

                    If you have a busy life and regularly find yourself not getting enough sleep, then this will negatively impact your cognitive abilities – including your memory.

                    How much sleep should you be getting?

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                    Well, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you need a minimum of seven to nine hours of sleep per night. If you get this amount of sleep regularly, then within just a few days, you’ll see a tangible improvement to your ability to remember and recall things.

                    Now, I’ll be honest with you, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is not always easy (especially when the latest Netflix series has just been released!). But if you care about improving your short-term and long-term ability to remember things, then it’s critical that you try to get at least the recommended amount of sleep every night.

                    Are there ways to hack the sleep cycle?

                    Yes, there are.

                    Try these three things:

                    • Have a fixed bedtime (preferably before 10pm)
                    • Don’t eat too late
                    • Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible

                    Sleeping is a precious activity. It regenerates your body, clears your mind, and helps with the storing and retrieval of information.

                    However, don’t sleep just yet, as I want to tell you about another great way to increase memory…

                    3. Challenge your brain

                    When was the last time you challenged your brain?

                    I don’t mean challenged in the sense of overeating or undersleeping. I’m referring to stretching your mental capabilities through things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku and memory games.

                    To expand your memory bank, and to make your recall razor-sharp, you need to continually challenge your brain.

                    Feedback from Lifehack readers such as yourself, has suggested that brain training apps are a super-effective way of doing this. Used regularly, these apps can enhance your focus, attention span, problem-thinking ability and memory.

                    There are hundreds of these apps available (most of them for free), but I recommend starting out with one of the big three:

                    • Peak (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                    • Lumosity (Android/iOS, free, 10 million+ downloads)
                    • Elevate (Android/iOS, free, 5 million+ downloads)

                    If you normally spend a chunk of your week playing computer games, then instead of shooting and killing your enemies, why not let some of them live – while you put your attention into boosting your brain power!

                    Challenging your brain will strengthen your neural pathways and enhance your mental abilities. But don’t just take my word for it, try one of the apps above and see the positive benefits for yourself.

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                    4. Take more breaks

                    When I think back to my days as a budding entrepreneur, I distinctively remember working all the hours under the sun – and many under the moon too!

                    At that time, I believed that breaks were for the weak, and to become wealthy and successful, I needed to shed blood, sweat and tears.

                    However, I was wrong.

                    Taking regular breaks is the best way to keep yourself productive, creative and alive to opportunities. It’s also the best way to learn new information.

                    Let me explain.

                    Typically, when studying lots of new information, most people will spend hours reading it – in an attempt to learn and remember the content as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, they’ve overlooked something.

                    Namely, extended study sessions are rarely a good thing, as your ability to retain information naturally declines after a certain period of time.

                    It’s similar to physical exercise. You wouldn’t attempt to train vigorously for four hours in a row. Instead, you’d take regular breaks to give your lungs, heart and muscles adequate time to recover. Failing to do this will result in muscle cramps and overexertion.

                    It’s the same with your brain. If you overload it with information, you’ll suffer from mental fatigue.

                    What’s the answer?

                    Make sure you take regular breaks when learning new information. I recommend at least a 10-minute break every hour. (You may also want to take a look at the Pomodoro Method.)

                    If you don’t want to be as regimented as that, then take breaks as soon as you find yourself losing the ability to focus on the new material. Your brain will thank you – and your learning aptitude will move up a level.

                    5. Learn a new skill

                    I love this quote, as it’s 100% true – but frequently overlooked:

                    “Learning never exhausts the mind.” – Leonardo da Vinci

                    From my experience of helping to develop the careers of dozens of Lifehack employees, I can definitively say that participating in meaningful and purposeful activities stimulates the mind. It also reduces stress and enhances health and well-being.

                    Let me give you an example of this:

                    Imagine you work for a global financial institution in one of their call centers. You take over 100 calls a day – many of them complaints. When you started the job a few months back, you were excited to be in full-time employment and working for a household name.

                    Unfortunately, your initial enthusiasm quickly turned into frustration.

                    The endless complaint calls began to take their toll on you. And the supervisors irritated you too, as they were far too interested in micro-managing you – rather than letting you work in your own way.

                    Now, in the story above, the ending could be that you put up with a job you didn’t like, and led a dull and frustrated working life for years and years. However, an alternative ending is this: you channeled your dissatisfaction in to learning a new skill (computer coding). It took you a year or two to get up to speed, but it allowed you to successfully upgrade your career – and the ongoing learning made the call centre job much more bearable.

                    Clearly, learning new skills gives you impetus, focus and something to aim for. Your brain loves to learn, and you should tap into this by always seeking our new information. And when learning becomes a habit, you’ll find your ability to remember and recall things effortlessly, becomes a habit too.

                    6. Start working out

                    If you’re not already working out regularly, then here’s another reason to do so:

                    Exercising for 20-30 minutes three times a week will improve your long-term memory.

                    Regular exercise increases blood flow in your body and supplies the brain with extra oxygen and nutrients. And a well-nourished brain is a well-functioning brain!

                    “But I just don’t have the time?,” I hear you say.

                    Not a problem.

                    A research has shown that a daily burst of 60 seconds of high-intensity exercise, offered many of the benefits of the longer exercise routines.[2] So, if you’re short on time – now you know what to do.

                    Interested in getting started?

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                    Here are five different ways that will help you work out:

                    • Join a gym
                    • Join a sports team
                    • Buy a bike
                    • Take up hiking
                    • Dance to your favorite music

                    7. Eat healthier foods

                    I’m sure you’ve heard the expression: “You are what you eat.”

                    This applies to your brain too.

                    The food that you eat helps determine your brain’s capacity to store and recall information. A poor diet (think junk food + soda!) harms not just your physical health, but your mental health too.

                    Fortunately, there are several foods that are especially good for your brain and your memory. These include: blueberries, celery and dark chocolate. But anything high in antioxidants will have a positive effect on your brain and memory.

                    Conversely, highly-processed foods and those loaded with sugar will have a negative impact on your memory. This is due to them providing insufficient nutrients for your brain – leading you to easily suffer from mental fatigue.

                    Want to be mentally healthy? Then eat and drink an abundance of these for brain health:

                    • Turmeric – helps new brain cells grown
                    • Broccoli – protects the brain against damage
                    • Nuts – improves memory
                    • Green tea – enhances brain performance, memory and focus[3]
                    • Fish oilfish oil supplements can increase your brain power

                    Here’re more brain food options that improve memory!

                    Final thoughts

                    I sincerely hope these seven memory boosting ways that I’ve covered in this article will be of help to you.

                    You don’t need to implement them all. I suggest just trying the ones that appeal to you.

                    But, if you’re serious about dramatically improving your memory, then make a start right now on adopting one or more of the ways I’ve suggested. I’m confident you won’t regret it.

                    Featured photo credit: Eric Ward via unsplash.com

                    Reference

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