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Solutions for 10 MORE Annoying Modern Day Problems

Solutions for 10 MORE Annoying Modern Day Problems
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    A few months ago, I wrote about Solutions for 7 Annoying Modern Day Problems. With modern life comes convenience, but also new problems. Here are 10 more solutions for 10 more annoying problems.

    1. Need a Reliable Contractor?

    • Head on over to Angie’s List where their tagline says it all: “Home service contractors reviewed and rated by real homeowners like you!”


    2. Trouble Keeping Track of Passwords?

    Check out these two informative and useful articles.

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    3. Need to Write a Business Plan but Have No Money for Business Planning Software?

    Go to the U.S. Small Business Adminstration’s website for tons of free business planning resources:

    4. Backing Up Your Computer.

    Do you use some mish-mash system of flash drives, CD’s, and DVD’s? Or worse yet, do you not back up your computer at all?

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    Basically the advice is to have 2 backups, one on site and one offsite. Here are 3 back up solutions:

    5. Got a Great Idea, but No Pen to Write It Down?

    • Just call Jott. This is a free voice memo service that will convert your voice message to a text email message. Never


    6. Need Stuff Cheap or Free?

    I guess this isn’t a modern problem, but the solution is.

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    • Cheap Stuff: Craigslist: Buy and Sell anything. Find cars, housing, jobs, rideshare, contractors, childcare, even a date
    • Free Stuff: Freecycle. This is a Yahoo! group that has local chapters all over the country. As a member you can donate and request stuff for free!

    7. Need to Be Saved from a Bad Date or Meeting?

    • PopularityDialer.com can do this and more. How would you like to receive a call that tells you how great you are? Wow, what a concept. You need to schedule the calls ahead of time, but at the price it’s worth a try!

    8. Sick of Paying for 411 Calls?

    • Try sending a text message to Google instead. Just send to 46645 (GOOGL). Example: “Joe’s Pizza 90210” “The Palms Las Vegas”
    • For business listings: Call Google for free: 1-800-466-4411 (800-GOOG-411)
    • For residential listings: 1800-FREE-411 (800-3733-411) You will need to listen to an advertisement first, but the call is free.

    9. Always Forgetting Things? (Anniversary, birthdays, dentist appointment)

    Set reminders for yourself even if you don’t carry an electronic organizer.

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    • Google Calendar. Go to “Settings” then “Mobile Setup.” Enter your phone number. Then enter important reminders into GCal via your computer or even your phone if you have web access. You’ll receive a text message reminder.
    • Memotome.com – free reminder service that will send you an email reminder. (phone reminders cost extra)
    • Textmemos.com – free text message reminders.

    10. Need to Shed Some Books? Need Some New Ones Cheap?

    The following sites act as an auction for free swaps. All you pay is the shipping.

    K. Stone is author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements. A few of her most popular articles are Fluid Yoga, Fluid Power, How to Write a Book in 60 Days or Less, Should You Start Your Own Work at Home Business?, and 7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Financial Life.

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    K. Stone

    The founder of Life Learning Today, a blog that's dedicated to life improvement tips.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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