Debra: Why didn’t somebody tell me?

I’m constantly amazed at the good ideas I never had. Are you like that? Talking to a friend who says or does something so simple and brilliant that you stop and smack your forehead while saying, “Duh?” I thought I’d pass along some tips and I’m hoping you’ll offer some right back in the comments.

Save all your small errand-like chores for kids until just right at their bedtime. “It’s time to go to bed! Oh, wait. Johnny, would you take the bathroom and kitchen garbage out?”

See? That’s brilliant. What kid doesn’t want to “steal time?” You don’t do it every night, but you slip enough of those chores in while the kid is receptive and before you know it, he’s looking for things to postpone bedtime.

Can’t open jar lids? Grab the hand can opener, the kind you use to put holes in cans and pour. Gently “act” like you’re going to pop or pry the lid off, but all you’re doing is just widening the circumference of the lid so you break the vacuum seal. As soon as you hear the seal break (kind of a clunky/popping sound), the lid will be easy to open.

Stand on one foot while brushing your teeth. Crazy, but brilliant. Works your core muscles. Makes you work for that balance. It’s amazing. Very hard at first and then one day, you realize you’re balancing easily. Alternate your feet at “halftime” of the tooth brushing so that both sides have equal opportunity.

Are you tired of teenage drama and your daughter or son stalking to their room and slamming the door? Take it off the hinges. Tell ‘em they can have it back when they learn to be civil. (There will be screaming and flailing about as you’re carting it off. Be strong.) The lovely thing is that this is a “consequence” of behavior. Kids are learning valuable lessons about the luxury (not right) of privacy, about acceptable social exchange, and about “cause & effect.”

Cook once; eat twice. I had a friend who always made a double recipe of anything she cooked. Or almost always.

Don’t want to do something? Procrastinating? Use the Ten Minute Rule. All you have to do is work on the project for ten minutes. This is great for writers. You’d think they’d be raring to go, and sometimes are. But there are books and projects that hit rough patches that are liking pushing boulders up hills! When that happens, call the Ten Minute Rule, be involved and diligent for ten minutes and the don’t feel any more guilt! What normally happens is that the daily Ten Minute Rule resolves your problem. And it beats the heck out of procrastinating, no matter what kind of problem it is.

Commercial cleaning. Nope, not a service you pay. Commercial cleaning is getting up off your rump during TV commercials and cleaning…something! Anything. Keep a mental list of easy chores. Hop up and do them. Pretty soon you’ve done seven chores and watched your favority tv show. Commercial exercising works, too.

Okay. Your turn. Haul out some tips. What’s going to make my life easier and better? I wanna know!

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14 Responses to Debra: Why didn’t somebody tell me?

  1. leannebanks says:

    Debra, I love these! I’ve tried the procrastination one. I probably need to use that one every day… several times a day. Will try the commercial cleaning and standing on one foot while brushing teeth!!!:)

    • debradixon says:

      The standing on one foot thing is really one of my favorite things. It takes absolutely no time from your daily schedule and works on your balance. Core strength is really important, no matter what shape your in.

  2. michelehauf says:

    Yep, I do the exercises while brushing. Calf exercises that take about two minutes. I like that it stretches my brushing time a bit longer.
    Hmmm, tips? We don’t need fabric softener sheets, people. Just GIVE THEM UP! I did a few years ago, and have rarely had static cling. My husband freaked that first time. But…but…what if a sock is stuck to my shirt? he whined. Yeah, what if? Would the world end? I think not. Peel it off and move on. No more fabric softener sheets, less chemicals in your clothes. The world is a better place. 😉

  3. Cindy Gerard says:

    Love these ideas Deb. Have an 11 year old granddaughter who is such a ‘girl’. Fully expect there may be a slamming door in her future. Can’t wait to share this with her dad LOL. I’ve been doing the can opener thing for a long time. works like a charm. .

  4. loisgreiman says:

    I do deep knee bends while doing simple tasks like emptying the dish washer. Deep knee bends are killlllllers but really improve leg strength in a hurry.

    Also, as I write the first draft of a book I keep notes on things that will have to be changed during the next draft but I don’t go back to make those changes right away. That way I don’t disturb my too sensitive right brain. Does everyone do that?

    • debradixon says:

      Lois– I don’t think enough people make notes about changes. I think we/they all think they’ll remember, but you don’t! I’m a “go back and fix it” girl when writing for everything except something major. I’ll just stop and go back and make the fix. For something larger, I’ll tell myself it can wait and then a few days or a week later, I go back and fix it. Not efficient but required for my process! I like your way better.

  5. Nora Braun says:

    Try doing little tucks and butt cheek squeezes when you stand in line. It makes the time go faster and helps with the behind spread of sitting so much!

  6. taurus says:

    I use dryer sheets to dust venetian blinds, and deodorize shoes/sneakers by leaving a dryer sheet in overnight.

    • debradixon says:

      Oh, okay, you’ve just made the case for why I might want to keep buying dryer sheets. I can put those things in my husbands golf shoes, tennis shoes and those awful leather moccasins he wears around without socks!

  7. HI Debra! Good blog post, I just found this tumblr full of pictures of great tips! I can’t choose my favorite the first picture is a WONDERFUL TIP as is the second , the tip for adding new keys! That would save my nails! http://shialabeowulf.tumblr.com/post/33670447154/99-life-hacks-to-make-your-life-easier

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