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15 Simple and Affordable DIY Projects

15 Simple and Affordable DIY Projects

DIY projects look fun and stylish, but many seem daunting because of 1) effort and expertise, and 2) cost. Some of us are less artistic, some of us don’t have tools to saw and drill into things, and some of us just plain can’t afford the materials to make these things. No fear, here are some affordable DIY projects that don’t require you to be a carpenter or a master artisté. Happy DIY-ing!

1. Gold Desk Organizer

Anthropologie Inspired Gold Pencil Holder - Desk Organizer  |  View From The Fridge

    It’s no surprise plenty of DIY blogs enjoy taking on some of Anthropologie’s products with cheap ways to make them yourself. This DIY desk organizer looks super modern without being expensive. You can easily find tins or small glasses around your house or at a thrift store for the compartments.

    2. Easy T-Shirt Grocery Bags

      Plastic bags are still the main option for produce even in the greenest cities. Make your own reusable produce bags out of old t-shirts with very minimal sewing. All you need are old t-shirts and a thread and needle, both of which can be bought cheaply if necessary.

      3. Mini Gardens

      Don’t have a green thumb? No worries. Succulents are tougher than the average plant and do well in pots. Your local home improvement or gardening store will have some succulents to choose from; if it doesn’t already say so on the plant tags, ask an employee which ones do best indoors. Bam, colorful and easy mini garden.

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      4. Pebble Bath/Mudroom Mat

        Easy, affordable, and not as hard to collect materials for as you think. Those who don’t want to gather stones themselves — or who simply don’t live near a body of water — can purchase bags of river rocks at most dollar stores. A few other cheap items also typically available at dollar stores, and you’re all set to make your mat.

        5. Mini Framed Dry-Erase Board

        dryerase

          Make a small DIY dry-erase board with tape and a simple frame, an easy way to leave notes in the kitchen or by the door. And fellas, don’t let the cute mom-theme put you off here — there are plenty of manly or neutral tape patterns you can use for your manly-man abode.

          6. Cereal Box Drawer Organizers

          DIY drawer dividers

            This may be another free project if you’ve got a) cereal boxes or boxes from other non-perishable foods, b) wrapping paper that isn’t covered in Santa, and c) double-sided tape. Any of these things can be bought cheaply regardless.

            7. Stamped Cloth Napkins

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              Similar to the first DIY project on this list, this napkin idea looks like an artsy store-bought product but at a fraction of the cost. What I like best about this tutorial is that it gives you ideas for common household objects to make cool patterns with. Spice up any cloth napkins you already own or buy some cheap ones from the local dollar or thrift store.

              8. Gold Sharpie Mugs

                This DIY project is a great opportunity for super-creative people, but the less artistic folks can easily do simple, classy designs. The link above suggests oil-based sharpies for the best chance of staying-power, though I’ve personally had luck with a regular black sharpie by baking the mug a little longer and not owning a dishwasher. Either way, the possibilities are many.

                9. Natural Room Scents

                Scents_for_home5.jpg

                  While a little more involved, but there are plenty of ways to get creative with the ingredients to use some things you already have in your kitchen. These room scents are just a fun way to make a room smell yummy for a gathering or just a day of relaxation, without the toxic chemicals found in most store-bought air-fresheners.

                  10. Wire and Stone Photo Display

                    The tutorial specifies a type of wire, but you can use any kind that suits your taste and budget. Take your favorite pictures, find some medium-sized rocks (probably for free, unless you live in a strangely rockless environment), and display them with an industrial-chic style.

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                    11. Constellation Jar

                      Mason jar + aluminum sheet + small light = instant star-filled bedroom. You don’t even have to be that artsy to do this project, as it requires little more than cutting a disposable cake pan, puncturing holes, and putting one thing inside of another. And, of course, it requires only affordable and easy to obtain materials.

                      12. No-Sew Covered Pillow

                        While many of us would love to make stylish home decor on the cheap, the whole sewing thing that many of those projects require is a lost art for some. This no-sew pillowcase idea has to be one of the easiest DIY home decor projects I’ve seen. All you need is a cheap decent-sized chunk of fabric (you could even use old sheets, or old clothing items if they’re big enough) and you can follow these easy instructions for chic DIY pillows.

                        13. Colorful Paint-Bottomed Glasses

                        colorfulglasses

                           

                          If you can find it and afford it, there are paints for glasses that won’t wash off when you do the dishes, but a cheaper option is to use acrylic paint and seal it. Buy some dollar store tumblers or other glassware and make them look ultra-modern with these cool paint design ideas.

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                          14. Hat Organizer

                            Store hats or scarves cheaply and conveniently with this no-brainer idea. If you want, you could even spray-paint the hanger to make it look extra nice.

                            15. Photo Magnets

                            photofridgemagnets

                              A unique way to save photographs, AND an awesome gift idea for someone you share memories with. Your fridge will never be boring again, and you have a quick and affordable gift/party favor idea for the future. It’s a win-win.

                              Featured photo credit: Untitled/Jamie Henderson via flic.kr

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                              Last Updated on November 19, 2019

                              20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                              20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                              Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                              If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                              1. Create a Daily Plan

                              Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                              2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                              Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                              3. Use a Calendar

                              Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                              I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                              Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                              4. Use an Organizer

                              An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

                              These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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                              5. Know Your Deadlines

                              When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                              But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                              6. Learn to Say “No”

                              Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                              Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                              7. Target to Be Early

                              When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                              For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                              Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                              8. Time Box Your Activities

                              This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

                              You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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                              9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                              Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                              10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                              Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                              You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                              11. Focus

                              Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                              Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                              Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                              12. Block out Distractions

                              What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                              I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

                              When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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                              Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                              13. Track Your Time Spent

                              When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                              You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                              14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                              You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                              Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                              15. Prioritize

                              Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                              Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                              16. Delegate

                              If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

                              When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                              17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                              For related work, batch them together.

                              For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                              1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                              2. coaching
                              3. workshop development
                              4. business development
                              5. administrative

                              I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                              18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                              What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                              One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                              While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                              19. Cut off When You Need To

                              The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                              Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                              20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                              Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                              More Time Management Techniques

                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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