There are countless problems you encounter on a daily basis that can put a little speed bump in your day. Life hacks are those “a-ha!” moments where you find the simplest solution to your daily problems, often using items immediately at your disposal. Each month this column will take you through some creative hacks to use in all different areas of your life to make your day to day as simple as possible. For January we’ll explore hacks to help you keep your resolutions for 2017.
If your resolution is to have a more profitable year, there are several hacks you can use to pinch your pennies more in 2017. This year, try a simple cash saving challenge jar. There are several versions of the challenge jar so you can cater it to your budget and comfort level. You can easily save $1,050 in a year with an easy monthly savings plan. In January you simply save $25, then $50 in February, $75 in March, $100 in April, $125 in May, $150 in June, $150 in July, back down to $125 in August, $100 in September, $75 in October, $50 in November and just $25 in December when Christmas spending gets tight.
To help yourself make 2017 a cleaner year, try making yourself a weekly schedule that plans out set chores you’ll do each day of the week to eliminate the need for regular day-long cleaning sessions. On Mondays, set aside 25 to 30 minutes and vacuum the house thoroughly, including detailed spots you usually miss, like curtains, vents and windowsills. On Tuesdays, set aside 15 to 20 minutes to dust your home, and include furniture polishing every other week or once a month as needed. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, take 15 to 20 minutes and split up cleaning your bathrooms, wiping down toilets, counters, showers, tubs and mirrors, and sweeping and mopping floors. On Fridays, take 15 to 20 minutes to clean your kitchen. Wipe down your counters and cabinet doors with a disinfectant cleaner, wipe down the stove, removing the eyes of the stovetop and sweep and mop the floor.
If you’re resolution is to make 2017 a more productive year, there are several hacks you can utilize. Start getting up earlier so you can have more time in your day to get more tasks done. Set your alarm clock earlier one minute every day so you can adjust to the change easily.
Make a daily to-do list and put your most difficult tasks at the top of the list. Getting the most difficult items on your list done at the start of the day eases the workload for the rest of the day. Your mind functions best at the beginning of the day, so your bigger tasks will be easier to tackle earlier.
Break up your workday to work a full 25 minutes followed by a five-minute break to reach your peak levels of productivity.
We should all strive to end each year wiser than the year before. In 2017, try a reading challenge by finding a checklist online and seeing if you can read books that take you outside your comfort zone and challenge your views.
If reading isn’t your speed, you can listen to podcasts or audio books. There are hundreds of podcasts out now to choose from. Try picking topics that you have no background on, or that hold an opposite viewpoint from you, so that you broaden your horizons.
Every year could use a little more kindness but if your resolution is to make sure you put more kindness into the world in 2017, try spending 10 minutes each day beautifying the spaces around you. Clean up litter from the roadside in your neighborhood or plant flowers outside the windows of a local nursing home. During the workday, carry around a pack of sticky notes and leave kind and encouraging messages on your co-workers’ desks.
Every day, pay a compliment to first three people you see. This may be your family, or it may be the drive-thru worker or barista at your local coffee shop. That one small compliment may be the spark that changes their day and spreads kindness even further than yourself.