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5 Must Have Tools For DIY

5 Must Have Tools For DIY

Multimeter

    Not all lifehacks happen in front of the computer. There are plenty that require a little sweat, and a few tools. You probably already have the absolute basics of tools: a hammer, a screwdriver — maybe even a cordless drill. These are the basic necessities for keeping an apartment in reasonable shape, let alone a house. If you’re serious about voiding a few warranties or upgrading your gadgets on your own, though, there are a few tools you really need in your toolbox.

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    You don’t have to have every tool in the world, of course. I used to know a plumber who swore that he only needed two tools for any job: duct tape, for anything that needs to stick together and isn’t, and WD-40, for anything that sticks together and shouldn’t. It’s probably worth going a little further afield than my friend the plumber, but if you aren’t planning to do an awful lot of any particular type of work, these five tools can get you through quite a few different projects.

    1. Soldering Iron

    Most people buy soldering irons for electronics work, although solder can be used to attach pretty much any two metal parts. Think of solder as a more selective version of duct tape. RadioShack has some pretty cheap irons, though there’s plenty of cursing around here whenever we have to solder something with our RadioShack special. I’m planning on upgrading to Jameco’s shortly —it’s a good investment. You’ll also want to keep some solder on hand: for small projects, a thin 60/40 (60% tin, 40% lead) with a rosin core, which will help your solder flow onto and attach to the metal you happen to be soldering, is ideal. Different solders are available for other types of projects.

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    2. Vise

    There will come a time when you need an extra hand to just hold something still while you work on it. Until the doctors come up with a way to graft on extra arms, a vise is a good solution. Every hardware store carries vises and a brand name isn’t going to be a big deal. But there are a wide variety of vises available. I recommend going with a workshop vise — something heavy enough that you won’t knock it off the table while you work. A workshop vise can also hold a drying project without any help from you, freeing up your hands for the next step. For $20, you can get a 4 ½ inch workshop vise, which should handle most of your home needs.

    3. Security Bit Set

    The Man attempts to keep us from making changes to a whole variety of things by using funny shaped screws. Companies like Nintendo are notorious for this sort of thing. In order to get inside game consoles and such, you’ll need a security bit set. You can get a 33 bit set for under five bucks, but if you’re willing to shell out a full $10, you can get a full 100 bits. And remember, if you have a good security bit set, you can take apart pay phones, vending machines and other items that I am just going to assume you will come by legally.

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    4. Multimeter

    You might think that you can skip the multimeter as long as you aren’t doing electronics work. After all, why else would you want to measure voltage, current and resistance? You’d be surprised, though, how many little household projects put you in contact with electronics, though. And who wants to check if an outlet is live by sticking their finger in it? You can get an absolutely basic multimeter at some dollar stores, though it’s worth springing for the RadioShack version — under $10 for a basic model —if you plan to use your new multimeter more than once. There are plenty of fancier multimeters that measure all sorts of things but they tend to be a bit more expensive.

    5. Dremel

    Dremel Rotary Tools come in an absolute plethora of shapes, sizes and prices. I like it for more delicate tasks, personally, saving things like cutting through walls for my electric drill. The Dremel MiniMite in particular suits my needs for little things like cutting cool shapes in my desktop’s case. Oddly enough, a lot of people seem to favor the MiniMite for cutting their dog’s nails as well — although I also know jewelers, woodworkers and electricians who adore their Dremels. You can pick up a Dremel MiniMite with several accessories at Amazon or other online vendors for $30, although there are a wide variety of sets available, with all sorts of bit accessories and higher price tags.

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    There are hundreds of other tools that I would love to own some day. But I’m not going to wait to finish my household hacks. These five tools will get me by in the meanwhile. At the end of putting together this shopping list, I’ve spent a total of $90. If I chose to go with slightly higher end models of the multimeter and the Dremel, I could still keep my total price at about $100. Not too bad for the wide variety of DIY projects this toolbox could take on, especially if you already have the basics and a stock of those ancillary items (like duct tape) that help projects go faster. Just writing this post has me thinking, though, about what tools I need for my next project — any recommendations?

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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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