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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Replacing outdated appliances with more energy-efficient models may cost more up front, but it will prove to be very cost-effective  in the long term.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 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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