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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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    Last Updated on August 16, 2018

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    The power of habit

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to make a reminder works for you

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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