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Unexpected Ways The Library Can Save You Money

Unexpected Ways The Library Can Save You Money
    The Library of Congress

    When I say “library” most of you are going to picture books. Getting books from the library is the most inexpensive way to read books. But there are unexpected ways that libraries can save you money:

    Preview Music

    I love buying music. Unforatunately I have often bought CDs only to find out that I didn’t like the album, or only liked one song.  This means the music languishes in the library, unplayed. Even previewing snippets online doesn’t entirely get rid of this problem, since so many songs change after the first thirty seconds.

    At the library I can borrow CDs and give them a full listen before deciding to buy them. This saves me from spending money on things I will listen to once.

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    This also allows me to try genres outside of my usual listening fare. I have listened to world music, opera, old-time blues and something that I could only classify as Scandinavian Tolkein death metal.

    Read Magazines

    I like magazines. They are great information sources and provide lots of light reading. My reading tastes vary and I love everything from archaeology to cooking to crafting to software development to political commentary. While I like magazines, I have neither the time to read everything, nor the interest to read every issue.

    There are two general ways to get magazines: buy them at the newsstand or subscribe. Buying at the newsstand allows you to pick the issues you want to read, but costs many times more than a subscription. Subscriptions are less expensive, but if you don’t get to reading the magazines, it is wasted money. They also pile up around the house, waiting for a time when you “can get to them”. In my case, this can mean six months of back issues, depending on how busy I am.

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    Most libraries still carry a wide variety of magazines and even have back issues. You can read as much as you wish, when you want to,  for free. This method has the added bonus of not having to dispose of the magazines once they are read. They are shared with others who wish to read them.

    Note: If your local library doesn’t carry a favorite, ask them to. They subscribe based on popularity.

    Activities and Lectures

    Most public libraries have large meeting rooms where they hold activities and lectures. These are usually free or low-cost, and cover a wide variety of interests. My local library had presentations on henna, fishing and quilting one week this month.

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    Some community groups will also meet at libraries, and provide public outreach informational programs in exchange for the meeting space. Our local astronomy club gave a demonstration of telescopes at the library one Saturday afternoon, allowing children to examine telescopes, and then see a presentation on constellations inside.

    Movies

    There are many ways to see movies at a price lower than the movie theater. I used to love renting movies, but I could never manage to get them back the next day. Getting movies from the library gets around this, and movies from the library are generally free. They might not have hundreds of copies of the recent release, but if you are willing to wait a week, you can get them. Plus, with multi–week check out, you don’t have to worry about getting them back the next day!

    A Bonus Tip To Making The Library Work Harder For You

    Almost all libraries these days have their catalog and reservation system online. This means that you can place a hold on an item anytime, from any computer and the item will be pulled and waiting for you to pick up. How great is it to browse the library catalogs at midnight? Items can be reserved even before they arrive at the library, making it possible to get new books and movies the moment they are released.

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    Libraries often have inter-library loan programs as well, so if your local library doesn’t have an item, they can probably arrange to have it borrowed from another library.

    Even though I read mostly e-books these days I am spending more time at my library. I read magazines, investigate new music and pick out movies. Do you have anything you use your library for that saves you money? Share below.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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