Pillar To Post Newsletter July 2016 https://www.pillartopost.com/img/p2pLogo.png
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Have you ever become so absorbed in an activity that time seemed to just fly by? You were able to focus - without looking for distractions - and found you were super productive. Wouldn’t it be great if you could have that same experience with the tasks you’ve been putting off - like tidying up your house or tackling your taxes?

The tendency to put off repetitive routine chores is common, so you are not alone. In fact, many people feel physically uncomfortable when faced with these types of tasks, because they find them downright boring. If you can’t seem to find the motivation to do what you have to do, you might just be avoiding boredom.

There are several ways to combat boredom and make mundane tasks more exciting - or at least more bearable.

The secret is to make the job more stimulating by keeping your mind engaged:

1. Spice things up. A meal without spices would be bland. What ingredients can you add to your tasks to liven them up? How about adding a few drops of essential oil to your laundry detergent to brighten up wash day, getting some stylish file folders to make filing fun, or listening to music (or an audio book) to help make cleaning the house more pleasurable?

2. Add some fun. Adding an element of play can make even the most boring tasks more exciting. Get creative and make a game out of chores you’ve been avoiding. Set a timer and challenge yourself to beat the clock. You can also plan something enjoyable to do right after you complete the task, as a reward.

3. Invite a friend. Sorting hundreds of old photos on your own can be tedious. Inviting a friend to sit with you at the dining room table as you sort the photos can turn a boring task into a social event. Partner up and suddenly you can sort for hours without even realizing it. Your friend doesn’t even have to help you; the person can be there for company and conversation.

4. Find a stimulating environment. Working at home or sitting at a desk is not for everyone. For a more interesting environment, take your laptop to a neighbourhood coffee shop. Being in the company of others may be all the stimulation you need to focus and get that report done.

Next time you find you are procrastinating on a job that needs to get done, become aware of how you are feeling. Notice your thoughts. If you are dreading it because you hate to be bored, try some of these boredom busters. Not only will you be amazed at what you can accomplish, you might even enjoy yourself.

What have you been putting off and which boredom busters work best for you?

Hellen Buttigieg
professional organizer & life coach

A barbecue master is looking for the best prime performance at all times, no matter whether they fire up the old-faithful every year or splurge on a new top-of-the-line grill. Here are some go-to cleaning tips to get the most out of your barbecue all summer long.

Give it a good wipe down.
Clean the exterior with soapy water to remove any build up that can occur from sitting outside. Try to do this every couple of weeks to help remove any dust and residue.

Choose your weapon wisely.
When cleaning inside, traditional brushes with bristles work well for porcelain enamel-coated grates, whereas grillstone blocks or a warm cloth with soapy water are good for stainless steel grates. Not familiar with grillstone blocks? When you rub these back and forth, the shape of the block will conform to the grates to make access to narrow areas easy.

Turn it up before turning it off.
Make your clean-up process easy by increasing the heat after cooking. Close the grill and set the control on high for 10 minutes. The extreme temperatures will burn off any remaining food items like cheese or chicken and the charred remnants will be easier to remove.

No one likes a party crasher.
Gas pipes are notorious for housing spiders and getting clogged with spider webs which can affect the level of gas getting to your burners over time. Once you have made sure that the propane tank is turned off, use a pipe cleaner to remove anything that may be stuck.

With these stylish secrets for keeping cool, you can relax all summer without worrying about the energy bills.

Use nature’s air conditioner. Open the curtains and crack the windows in the a.m. hours to let in cool air, then close them when it starts to heat up.

Bring nature in. Give your rooms a quick pick-me-up by filling them with plants from your garden. The plants will filter indoor toxins so you feel fresher.

Enjoy your outdoor room. Expand your living area onto a covered porch or deck, which will shade you from the heat of the sun. Plump pillows and potted plants make you as comfy as indoors.

White is right. White reflects rather than absorbs sunlight, keeping rooms cool. Give tables, shelves or cupboards a coat of shiny white paint.

Dine outside. Enjoy family dinnertime on the patio at night when the temperature is cool and comfortable. Keep kitchen heat under control by using small appliances like a microwave or toaster oven instead of the stove oven when possible.

The hot weather has finally arrived, and while many of us enjoy basking in the sun, when we are inside our homes we prefer the cool comfort of air conditioning. That said, it is important to keep a close watch on how you use it, because keeping the air conditioning on full blast could lead to hefty energy bills.

Use ceiling fans to circulate cool air. Fan blades should operate in a counter-clockwise direction to move air downwards and maximize air circulation so your air conditioner does not have to work so hard and cost you more.

Don’t lose money cooling rooms not in use. Close vents and shut the doors in unused rooms. Also make sure to clear the vents you are using from dust and obstructions. Close curtains or blinds on windows that receive direct sunlight to keep heat out of the house.

Landscaping around your air conditioner unit can help block the sun so it works more efficiently, but make sure trees, plants and hedges are planted at least three feet from the unit to avoid restricting airflow.

The face of air conditioning is changing from efficiency to comfort.

A/C Efficiency
The goal of air conditioning is to get as much cooling as possible for the least amount of energy input. SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is a measure of efficiency. The higher the number, the more efficient the system. Minimum SEER legislation has kicked in requiring all new A/C systems to be at least SEER 13, with many of the top models are now over SEER 17.

Avoid Installation Problems
One way manufacturers are making their systems more efficient is by making the heat exchangers larger. The outdoor and indoor components are larger than before. You may have to replace your air handler or furnace. There may be workarounds that a novice may not know about. If you are in this situation, make sure you ask if there is an alternative such as any minor ducting modification. It is probably worth a second opinion if the installer has no suggestions.

Two Stage Compressors
Modern two stage compressors solve the capacity dilemma. If the air conditioning system is sized to operate optimally on the hottest day of the season, it’s probably oversized the rest of the time. An oversized system will cool the house very quickly. This means short on cycles. This is inefficient and it does not dehumidify the house properly. The result is that many systems are not achieving their rated SEER and the houses are cold and clammy. There are systems that will operate at two capacities. It’s like having two air conditioning systems in one package. An undersized mode that will have very long on cycles and a larger capacity mode to keep you comfortable on the hottest days.

From great frothy milkshakes to sky-high sundaes, there are plenty of ways to enjoy this unofficial dessert of summer - and the way you take your ice cream can say some surprising things about you.

Just find your favorite ice cream “style” to learn more about yourself.

If your style of ice cream is …

A cup of ice cream: You’re a future-focused go-getter.

A milkshake: You’re a youthful dreamer.

A sundae: You’re an adventurous novelty-seeker.

A popsicle: You’re an in control multitasker.

A cone: You’re a risk taker.

An ice cream sandwich: You’re a laid-back people-person.

The kitchen is the center of the family’s financial, physical and emotional well-being. Here are some tips to increase your clan’s good fortune.

1. Use lots of warm accent colors, like yellows and reds, and images of flowers, fruits and vegetables. Their symbolic bounty will boost the family’s abundance.

2. Place something green in the room, like a plant. Stoves and sinks represent fire and water, and in the same room can encourage conflict. But green, a healing feng shui color can temper frayed nerves.

3. Put out a bowl of nine oranges. Nine is a feng shui number and oranges represent good luck.

4. Keep knives in a drawer. Displayed knives create “poison darts” of negative energy.

A well-maintained air conditioning system will last longer and cool better than a neglected system.

Clean or replace the filter in the air handler regularly, not just for clean air, but also because the filter protects your heating and air conditioning equipment. Dust can clog the evaporator coil, reducing the heat transfer, efficiency, and life of the system.

Trim vegetation away from the condenser for free air flow. Do not enclose the condenser with trellis or anything else that might block air flow.

Have the system serviced regularly. Servicing is inexpensive and will increase the life and efficiency of the system. A technician typically cleans the condenser coils and checks the refrigerant pressures, adjusting the refrigerant charge if needed.

Like any system in your home, a central air conditioner will work at its peak efficiency and performance when it is properly fitted for capacity and regularly maintained.


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