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5 Thanksgiving Disasters And Solutions

5 Thanksgiving Disasters And Solutions

Well, it’s getting to be that time of year again. That time when majestic shades of reds, browns, and golds grace countrysides across the nation, and the novelty of school starting back up is wearing off. You’re beginning to think about covering your rose bushes, and weekends are filled with cheers and cries from football fanatics everywhere. And of course there’s Thanksgiving: the feast to end all American feasts.

Whether you’re a long-time host or long-standing guest of this epic meal, you’ve likely experienced or heard about your share of Turkey Day disasters. Of course, when you’re preparing a meal of this magnitude, there are things that are bound to go wrong. Here are a few potential day-ruiners and some handy solutions.

1. Vegetarians on the guest list.

These days, more and more people are cutting meat out of their diets. If you have a vegetarian on your guest list, it will be a nice gesture to prepare a dish with them in mind. It can be hard to change the entire menu—the main dish is a turkey for crying out loud! But you can have an alternate main menu item, like vegetarian lasagna, and plan to make at least one batch of stuffing without any meat-based broth, along with other vegetarian-friendly side dishes.

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With a little forethought, you can adjust your Thanksgiving recipes to your guests’ dietary needs and coordinate accordingly. You could even do a quasi-potluck where guests bring some of their own favorite dishes as well. That way, you can be sure that everyone there will have a dish they enjoy, and they can share their favorites with each other, embodying the spirit of the holiday: sharing and thanks.

2. The turkey didn’t thaw all the way. (Or at all!)

Did you rely on someone else to pull the turkey out of the deep freeze for you? Perhaps you did it yourself, but didn’t allow enough time for the bird to thaw completely and the inside is still frozen solid. Never fear, for you have options here.

If you have enough time, you can thaw it using cold water. Just submerge it breast-side down in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Soak it this way for 30 minutes for each pound of the turkey that’s frozen still (you’ll probably have to make your best guess here). Now, if you’re on a time crunch, you can cut the turkey into quarters before you roast or fry it to cut down on the cooking time.

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Further, if you aren’t in a position to thaw it, contrary to popular belief, you can cook it frozen. For future reference, the bird will need to thaw for 24 hours for every four to five lbs. of girth.

3. It’s dinnertime and the turkey isn’t done.

You’ve spent all day preparing the meal of a lifetime, but come dinnertime, you pull the turkey out to carve it and it’s still completely raw in the middle. Now what? First things first: breathe. Take a deep breath and roll with it. Carve up the parts that are cooked—usually the white meat—and serve that. The key is to not panic, and not let your guests know there’s anything wrong. Put the rest of the turkey back in the oven for 20-minute increments until it’s done, and add it to the spread.

4. It won’t all fit in the refrigerator.

If you find that your goodies won’t all fit in the refrigerator, it’s time to get creative. Pull out everything that isn’t essential to the meal. Make some hard decisions about what you need to keep and what can be thrown out. Chances are there are some expired items lurking in there.

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Then channel your inner Tetris champion and stack those items in there as best you can. Remember to leave a little space between food items to encourage airflow. If it still won’t all fit, enlist the help of a neighbor, or if you live in a cool climate you may be able to temporarily store some dishes outdoors while you guests help make more space in the fridge.

5. You’re fresh out of oven space.

It’s no wonder with that many dishes people often run out of oven space. The trick is to time your masterpieces based upon the temperature they need to cook, and coordinate them accordingly. Surely there will be some items with flavors that you won’t want to cook together, but generally speaking, timing is everything. But even the most perfectly timed dinners can be more than a single oven can handle.

Counteract this potential disaster by making as many dishes ahead of time as you can. That way you’ll just have to warm them up in the oven rather than cook them from the beginning the day of your dinner party, minimizing the time spent in the oven. There are also several recipes that can be done on an outdoor grill or on the stove top. Think outside the oven!

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If you encounter any of these Thanksgiving disasters, don’t panic. There’s always something that can be done to save the day. Just stay calm and summon all the ingenuity you have at your disposal.

What Thanksgiving disasters have you experienced? How did you overcome them?

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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