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5 Hot Trends for Future-Proofing Your Home

5 Hot Trends for Future-Proofing Your Home

There’s no getting around it: technology is changing every aspect of our lives, and as technology continues its rapid advance, our homes run the risk of becoming obsolete—unable to accommodate the latest products and solutions designed to make them more affordable, eco-friendly, and enjoyable to live in. In addition, homes that cannot stand the technological test of time are destined to lose value and become far less desirable to prospective buyers. Although typical renovations may bring your home up-to-date for a few years, the real solution lies in “future-proofing”; looking ahead and making changes that will keep your home technologically relevant for decades to come. Here’s a look at 5 hot trends to consider in future-proofing your home.

1. Make your home “smarter”

A fast-growing trend is home renovation with smart technology. Through smart technology, homeowners can control such things as lighting, heating and AC, locks, home surveillance systems, and even appliances remotely via a smartphone or tablet computer. An Internet search for terms such as “smart home” will yield lots of information about smart products for home automation. The purchase and installation of these gadgets doesn’t have to be  hugely expensive, and it will definitely add value and livability to your home. Automated alarm systems are also a very desirable feature for any home—many companies integrate video, smart technology, and other perks into their systems, and since these technologies are relatively new, providers may offer free equipment and installation in exchange for your monthly commitment to use their service.

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Read More: A List of Smart Products for Home Automation

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2. Make energy-efficient improvements

Replacing outdated appliances with more energy-efficient models may cost more up front, but it will prove to be very cost-effective  in the long term. Aside from the monthly savings, newer high-end appliances are built to last longer. Other ways to future-proof your home would be to replace old toilets with new low-flow models, and swap out outmoded tank-style water heaters with energy-efficient, tank-less versions. Replacing single-paned windows with double-paned, energy-efficient windows is always a good move, since these windows are now mandatory in all new homes. Outdated insulation should be replaced with newer options such as spray insulation, which is less toxic and does a better job at sealing cracks and holes to keep your heating and cooling costs down.

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3. Make your home more eco-friendly

Homes that have undergone eco-friendly renovations to reduce their carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment are rapidly gaining in popularity. When remodeling, you should make use of recycled and reclaimed materials as much as possible, and with rising concerns over the use of formaldehyde in kitchen cabinets, going formaldehyde-free when updating your kitchen would be a smart move. It’s also recommended that you use 100% acrylic, low VOC paints as they are eco-friendly, odorless, and far less toxic to home occupants. The installation of a solar energy system is also one of the best eco-friendly steps you can take to future proof your home (solar is now mandatory for all new homes in Hawaii). Homes that rely less on the “grid” for electricity provide greater peace of mind by being more self-sufficient in an uncertain world.

4. Make room for an aging population 

As the baby boomer generation continues to age, future-proofing homes to accommodate the needs of senior occupants is a super hot trend these days. When remodeling or doing a room addition, it’s important to consider not just how the extra space will be utilized now, but how it might be used a decade or two down the road. Homes that have adaptable living spaces to accommodate changes in lifestyles, and meet the demands of multi-generational occupants, are rapidly gaining in popularity.

5. Make wiring changes for the future

Depending on the age of your home, it probably wasn’t wired to serve as a platform for ever-evolving technologies. As if it wasn’t hard enough to accommodate computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems and other technologies found in today’s homes, when you throw in a smart TV, you have the potential for a wiring nightmare. When upgrading wiring, think of where you want to have access to Internet, Ethernet, cable or other wiring in your home and how that may change in the future. Then wire your home accordingly. During the wiring process, it’s a smart idea to run an extra conduit to accommodate future wiring needs as technology evolves—making your home even more future-proof than ever.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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