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Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts That Will Keep You Out of the Doghouse

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts That Will Keep You Out of the Doghouse

    Nothing says “I forgot about Valentine’s Day” or “I don’t care” like a box of Whitman’s chocolates, a stuffed animal, and a Hallmark card bought from the closest drug store. If you have indeed left things to the last minute, resist the urge to pick out your Valentine’s Day gift at CVS or Walgreens. You’ll thank me later. Instead, look over this list of gift ideas that you could give your loved one this February 14th. They don’t take much time to purchase or plan, but still make it look like you actually gave it at least some forethought.

    For the Technology Lover

    Microsoft Zune + Zune Pass

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    If your loved one doesn’t yet have a portable music player, or is in need of an upgrade, this is a perfect gift. Instead of going for the now somewhat clichéd engraved iPod, I recommend looking to Apple’s rival, Microsoft, and their Zune player. While the Zune initially failed to impress the masses as the Apple iPod has, it’s grown up and matured and become a very quality device as Microsoft has paid more attention to fine-tuning things and making it a better experience. The Zune Marketplace, Microsoft’s equivalent of iTunes, is pretty cool. If you really want to go all out, pair your new Zune purchase with 12-month Zune Pass. This will allow the recipient to have access to pretty much all the music the Zune Marketplace offers on rental basis. While you don’t get to keep all of the music, you do get 10 downloads per month included with the Zune pass, and these are yours to keep. The Zune will run you anywhere from $120 to $300+, depending on the model and storage options you choose. The 12-month Zune Pass will run you $150. Customize your purchase and choose your recipient’s favorite color, or pick out a nice cover or case to go along with it, and if you have time install the Zune software on their computer and start downloading all the sappy love songs you want to pre-load for their immediate listening pleasure.

    For the Movie Lover

    Netflix  Subscription

    A subscription to Netflix will allow you to watch an unlimited number of movies and television shows on your TV using a Netflix-enabled device (such as Google TV, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Roku, Apple TV, etc.). You can also watch them on any computer, your phone (with a Netflix app), and other mobile internet devices. If you pay a little extra, you can also get the standard Netflix by mail service and get DVDs and Blu-Ray discs mailed to your home. You can purchase a Netflix subscription online for a minimum of 3 months or more, and have the option of e-mailing your gift subscription or printing out a certificate. I’d recommend printing out the certificate and including it in a nice card.  It starts at about $8.99 per month. If your recipient does not have a Netflix enabled device, pairing the Netflix subscription with one would be even nicer. Your cheapest option would be a Roku device, which starts at just $59. Best Buy has you covered.

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      For the Foodie

      Gourmet Station

      Scoring dinner reservations at that ultra cool restaurant you’ve always wanted to try, but haven’t gotten around to checking out might be a bit tricky on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants are notoriously packed on February 14th, and even take-out can be a painful ordeal. Instead of promising to take your love out for a nice meal at another less busy time, point your web browser to www.gourmetstation.com. Had you thought about Valentine’s Day in advance you could have ordered an awesome meal and prepared it on the actual holiday, but you did not so your option at this point is to purchase one for the future. You could select the meal yourself, but why not just purchase a certificate and let your partner decide what they’d like to order. They’ll have fun visiting the website and selecting a delectable meal.

      I actually got the classic beef wellington Christmas dinner from Gourmet Station a couple years ago and was extremely impressed. The beef wellington was to die for, and the tomato bisque soup was heavenly. The dessert put the meal over the top. They really make amazing food, and all you have to do is set the table and pop the food in the oven to warm it up. You could opt to order a meal from a similar service, but because I’ve tried Gourmet Station in the past, I highly recommend them.

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      For the Sports Fan

      Opening Day Tickets

      Baseball season is just around the corner and Spring Training is about to kick off. Delight the sports fan in your life with tickets to opening day. To acquire the tickets, just head out to your team’s local team shop, usually at a mall or near the ballpark. They’ll print them out for you, and all you have to do is pick up a V-Day card to put them in. If you want to give your gift a little extra punch, you could purchase a new t-shirt, hat, or jacket to pair with the tickets.

      For the Romantic

      The Old Stand-Bys

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      If your lover is the romantic type, you can pull off the chocolates and flowers. Please though, skip the drug store and at least go to the grocery store where you can likely find something a little higher quality than Whitman’s. Make them swoon even more with a nice poem or a heart-felt message written in your carefully selected card. Later, hit up Redbox to pick out a romantic comedy and order in Chinese and you’ll be set for the evening. Guys, if you’re not yet married or engaged and want to pop the question, doing it in a romantic way could get you out of getting a gift that day entirely.  You’ll just have to promise to take her ring shopping.

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      Julie McCormick

      Julie McCormick is a writer, and co-owner of The Cleveland Leader, a Technorati Top 1000 site.

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      Last Updated on October 20, 2020

      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.

      Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

      More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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