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People procrastinate for a swarm of reasons. Some say it’s simply habit, a product of how we were brought up, while others think it’s a clear sign of mental health issues.

Here is a short, fun quiz to see what kind of procrastinator you might be.

When confronted with a large, complex task you:
A. Get on it immediately - too much on your plate makes you anxious.
B. Start thinking about ways to tackle the project by making lists.
C. Put it out of your head completely - due date is a month away.

Your in-laws are coming to dinner. You want to impress them so you:
A. Paint the living room two weeks before the big day.
B. The day before, you clean house, buy fresh flowers and a prime roast.
C. Order in.

At work, colleagues describe your work style as:
A. Diligent but uptight.
B. Conscientious and fair.
C. Reasonable but a little flaky and unreliable.

Here’s the interpretation of your answers:
If you pick A’s: You need to procrastinate more or at least relax a bit.
If you pick B’s: You’re well balanced in the procrastination department.
If you pick C’s: It’s time to curb your procrastinating because it’s annoying others.

Here are some helpful suggestions to stop you from your delay tactics.

• Time to jump in - literally.
Your mantra should be stop thinking and start doing. By over thinking and attempting to dream up the perfect plan you put off the inevitable. Get on with it.

• Do something, anything.
If you tend to magnify and blow things out of proportion, you end up imagining that it’s much worse than it is. Take the big first step.

• Make deadlines.
To help yourself set a manageable pace other than breakneck, set deadlines or mini deadlines for the completion of something.

• Large complex tasks.
Need to be broken down into smaller more manageable segments. Attempt each separately. Break four hours of dreaded paperwork into one-hour slots. Start with the easiest. Take a break after each block of time and perhaps even treat yourself to a latte.

• Be accountable.
Use the friends and family approach by making yourself accountable to them for completing a project. Look to a trusted friend for encouragement and support.

• Turn down the volume.
Because we are so hyper-connected these days this can be hard to do, but it’s a must if you’re a diehard procrastinator who gets easily distracted. No TVs, radios, iPods because their job is to divert your attention.

• Finish.
As difficult as it is to start a project, remember also to finish it. There is nothing like completing a task, no matter how small, to earn you a sense of accomplishment.

Whatever your procrastination tendencies may be, here’s to overcoming them and making your life a real success.

Many people think of adding physical square footage to create more space. But you can make your home appear bigger visually. Remember what the eye needs is the illusion of spaciousness not actually more space. Here’s how to create the illusion of space without adding square footage.

Think diagonal views. Your house will appear much bigger if you are able to stand in one corner and look to the far corner without any obstructions. Diagonal tiles also help to push out the walls, visually.

Think like a sailor. Aim for no wasted space. Try built-ins, space-saving cabinets, drawers under beds, etc.

Lighting will open up space. Give your house an airy feeling with simple window dressings that let in natural light and steal space from outdoors.

Play with the furniture. Move furniture away from walls if space allows.

Accessorize. the bigger a piece of artwork, the bigger the feeling of space.

Color your world. Use just one or two colors per room for visual simplicity that expands a space. White, neutral or pale colors best reflect light, visually pushing back walls.

Let there be height. Use at least one tall element in a room to draw the eye upward, towards the ceiling to maximize vertical space. And also draws the eye up to the less crowded ceiling space above.
Minimize the amount of furniture in each room. Select furniture and accessories that perform multiple tasks.

Feel greater serenity and clarity in your home and be able to welcome guests in your home with the joy-boosting principles of feng shui.

Clear Clutter. Disorder can stop “chi” or positive energy in its tracks, so your entryway should be kept as tidy as possible.

Hang a mirror. Mirrors symbolically enlarge tight spaces - such as entryways - and are an excellent feng shui tool to “expand” positive energy.

Use the right accents. Bright reds, warm pinks and shiny metallic will encourage good fortune, and make guests feel good about entering your home.

Pick the perfect mat. Your interior mat or area rug should be as wide as your door’s width. Anything smaller can make people feel uncomfortable upon entering your home

Hanging a mirror? Make sure it’s high enough to show 8” of space over your head, so as not to “cut off” your potential success.

Turn your deck or patio into added living space, combining the comfort of indoors with the enjoyment of outdoors by the addition of an awning. Here are some of the benefits.

1. An awning shields out harmful sun rays while keeping you cool. It blocks the sun from entering your home, cuts cooling costs and protects furniture and carpet from fading.

2. Awnings are fully customizable and available in a wide variety of style options and vibrant acrylic fabrics to compliment any home.

3. An optional wind or motion sensor automatically retracts the awning when wind speeds reach a predetermined level.

4. A sun sensor can be added to allow for automatic operation determined by the sun’s strength.

5. An Interior wireless remote control can be added for easy-access operation.
When not in use, awnings can easily be retracted, safely stored, and will subtly blend in with the exterior beauty of any home.

Called an evaporative cooler, or “swamp cooler” this cooling system uses seventy-five percent less electrical energy than a refrigerated central air-conditioning system. Evaporative coolers have a catch: they only work in very dry climates.

How Does it Work?

Evaporative cooling takes advantage of a simple physical principle: the process of water evaporating (changing from a liquid into a vapor), which uses a great deal of heat energy. So how does this process cool your house? This diagram shows a simple evaporative cooler:

* Water is sprayed on a mesh of plastic or melamine, or trickles through pads made of excelsior (wood wool, aspen fibers).
* A blower draws hot, dry air from outside the house through the mesh or pads and blows the now-cooled air into the house.
* Water sucks heat out of this incoming air stream.
* The air emerging from the evaporative cooler is 20 to 30 degrees cooler than what went into it.

So Why Only Dry Climates?

The water involved in the vaporization process also goes into house as moisture. In a hot, dry climate, this moisture is probably a welcome addition. But in a humid climate, additional moisture is uncomfortable and can cause all kinds of problems such as mold, rust and rot. The hotter and dryer the climate, the more evaporation will occur, and the more effective the cooling system. For example, at the time this article was written, the forecast for Phoenix, AZ called for a high of 100o F and a relative humidity of 5%. In these conditions, the air generated from the evaporative cooler will be about 70F.

Air Balance

Since the evaporative cooling system draws air into the home from outside, excess air in the home must be expelled through open windows. The amount of cooling for any room of the house is controlled by adjusting the window opening. Opening a window wider allows more air out of the room and more fresh cool air to flow into the room.

Maintenance

Evaporative coolers need more frequent maintenance than conventional central air conditioning systems: a major cleaning and maintenance every season as well as routine inspection and cleaning throughout the season. A technician usually performs the seasonal maintenance. But you can do routine maintenance yourself. The homeowner maintenance protocols depend on the type of system you have, but in general the following should be done several times during the cooling season, or as often as once per month in very hot climates:

* Shut off the power to the cooler.
* Drain and flush the water and remove scale and sediment from the water reservoir.
* Inspect and replace, or clean, pads and filters.
* Inspect and clean the water distribution system.

If you live in a hot and humid climate, this system is not for you. But if you live in a hot dry climate, you can take advantage of this economical and effective form of cooling.

Your identity is often defined as a cocktail of characteristics - humor, intelligence, warmth - and that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Various research has revealed that a few physical traits can provide a telling glimpse of who you are beneath the surface. If you:

Have dark eyes: You think quickly.

Tend to be ticklish: You’re sociable.

Are left-handed: You’re an artistic genius.

Have light eyes: You’re introspective.

Have allergies: You’re resilient.

Furniture can be so easily damaged. Here are a few “easy” ways to fix some minor mishaps.

• Cover it up. Fill in scuffed areas with a matching wax crayon or furniture marker.

• Iron it away. To even out a dent, cover it with a damp washcloth, and iron the washcloth on medium heat. Caution: The moisture helps lift the dent out of real wood, but can damage veneers.

• Ice it off. Don’t wipe off wax if it’s dripped onto a surface. Instead, let it dry, then place an ice cube in a bag on top until it hardens, and then scrape off with a credit card.

• Erase it with mayo. If a cold drink or vase left its mark on your table, coat the area with mayo, leave for an hour, and wipe away the mark.

There are many benefits to an evaporative cooler:

They are inexpensive to install and operate.
They work better as the day heats up, performing at peak operation during the hottest part of the day.
They provide a steady stream of fresh air from outside, and a constant cool breeze throughout the home.
Humidification makes the home more comfortable and helps keep woodwork from drying out.

And now the cons

They do not work well on humid days.
Allergy sufferers may have a problem from the constant stream of air and pollen from outside.


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