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8 Hard-to-Kill Houseplants For a Cursed Green Thumb

8 Hard-to-Kill Houseplants For a Cursed Green Thumb

The wide variety of plants that thrive indoors make for affordable, versatile decor, while having the added benefits of cleansing the air in your home and circulating more oxygen. Houseplants are even a key element of effective feng shui. But some of us were born with a black thumb rather than a green one and can’t seem to keep plants alive long enough to appreciate them. It could be a curse, or you could just be way too busy to care for your plants.

The good news is there are several hardy plant species that require little skill or effort to maintain in your home. Below are eight houseplants that are made of sterner stuff, so you can get your feng shui on.

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1. Cast-iron plant

    photo source: halfrain via Flickr

    Aspidistra elatior aka the “cast-iron plant” is as tough as its name suggests. Low light, infrequent watering, poor quality soil, and even temperature fluctuation don’t bother it. It can survive in temperatures as low as 23 °F (−5 °C) before it begins to perish. Cast-iron plants are perfect for spots that aren’t next to windows; direct sunlight will damage their leaves. Ensure your pot has some kind of hole(s) for its soil to gently drain, otherwise it will do quite well with little attention. White and pink-ish flowers blossom around early summer.

    2. Spider plant

      photo source: Ordinary daily life of yoshinokichi via Flickr

      Snake plants (Chlorophytum comosum) do well even if their roots are crowded in a small-ish pot, meaning you won’t have to worry much about transferring a plant that gets too big. It typically grows to about 2 ft. (60 cm.) high and produces sparse amounts of small white flowers. They can live in temperatures down to 35 °F (2 °C), though room temperature is best for growth. There’s evidence that snake plants can reduce small amounts of indoor air pollution.

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      3. Kalanchoe

        photo source: Rachel Ford James via Flickr

        This pretty flowering plant doesn’t mind temperature shifts or dry climates. Being a type of succulent, they require little water. The Kalanchoe plant doesn’t tolerate super low temperatures, with a minimum temperature tolerance of roughly 45 °F (~7 °C), but that may not be a problem in most homes. They are a popular plant for their abundant and colorful blossoms.

        4. ZZ plant

          photo source: hollyjazzz362 via Flickr

          The ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), also called the “Zanzibar Gem”, is so hardy, drought just changes it from evergreen to deciduous, so forgetting to water it for a while probably won’t kill it. In fact, watering it too frequently increases risk for root-rot. It tolerates low-ish light levels and does best in room temperature or warmer temperatures.

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          5. Jade plant

            photo source: Steven Severinghaus via Flickr

            Crassula ovata has several common names including jade plant, lucky plant, and money tree. It doesn’t like bright sunlight and can be watered relatively infrequently in the summer, even less in the winter, when it typically sprouts tiny white flowers. The main requirement for a jade plant is that it’s planted in rich soil and has a pot that allows proper drainage. Jade plants are also good for bonsai if that interests you.

            6. Ponytail palm

              photo source: madaise

              Ponytail palms (Beaucarnea recurvate) are often planted outside where they can grow quite large, but can also be grown inside in varying sizes. They prefer to be placed by a sunny window, but don’t require a ton of watering and does well in dryer fast-draining soil. It may need to be re-potted once per year as it grows, but this is relatively low-maintenance for a pretty plant that can serve as a larger decoration.

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              7. Crown of thorns

                photo source: Shihmei Barger via Flickr

                Euphorbia milii or “crown of thorns” is a succulent that produces beautiful red-ish to white flowers with an interesting petal formation. It doesn’t like too much water but may enjoy an occasional spritz with a spray bottle on its leaves, and the flowers stick around all year. A bit of caution: contact with its sap or small thorns causes itching and swelling of the skin, so wear gloves if handling the plant.

                8. Mother-in-law’s Tongue

                  photo source: Steven Severinghaus via Flickr

                  Mother-in-law’s tongue or snake plant will thrive even under neglect, and can go a month without being watered. This plant is particularly good at tolerating low levels of light, and is probably one of the toughest houseplants to kill. It is one of the best houseplants for reducing indoor toxins like nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde.

                  Featured photo credit: Spring at Workplace/Alexander Kuznetsov 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.

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                  Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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