Well hello there! The other day we were hanging out playing with our dollhouse (like the grown adult women that we are), and we got to talking about little things that have improved our lives in surprisingly big ways. And then we realized we were being super selfish not sharing these amazing discoveries with you. Also, we thought it we told you about these things, you might tell us about awesome things that have made your life better.
So here we go!
Okay, first up I’ve got something that has improved sleep and vacations…what could be better than that? We’ve always slept with a fan to drown out street noises, house noises, cat noises, etc, but have found that it’s so hard to sleep when we travel because we don’t have our fan with us.
Finally after a particularly fitful night’s sleep while on vacation, I decided to order a small white noise machine. I found a well-reviewed one on Amazon for $49.99 (affiliate link – read our policies), and it has changed everything.
It’s small. It’s powerful. It drowns out the sounds of our cats, and it drowns out the sounds of anyone else’s cats who we might be visiting. We’ve had it for over a year now, so I can confidently say that it works. Go get yourself one right now.
Next up is the technology that got me thinking about this post in the first place. Like most adults who spend all day sitting, I need to stretch more. Like, a lot more. But my least favorite thing about stretching is the counting. Stick with me here. My Physical Therapist has told me I should be stretching twice a day, which takes 9 minutes each time and thus involves counting to 30 eighteen times in a row.
Now, I know how to count to 30. I promise. But stretching is so much more pleasant when you can zone out to music, watch an evening TV show, hold a conversation with your husband, or just get your in your thoughts. Which is hard to do when you’re just counting over and over to 30.
I’ve searched for a timer app for my phone that dings every 30 seconds, but I haven’t been able to find one that doesn’t require restarting the timer each time. Finally, I found an app that’s meant for high intensity interval training, but it can be programmed to ding repeatedly at any interval.
Now I just press play, put on some music, and every time the phone dings I change positions. It’s awesome. And I know maybe this doesn’t sound life changing to you, but on the off chance that the thing that’s holding you back from stretching is all the counting, I wanted to share. And if this isn’t a problem you have, is there some other problem you have that’s keeping you from doing something you know you should do that you could solve easily? Give it some thought!
My first one is something that a lot of people do, but its had such a dramatic impact on the amount of joy that I have in my life that I have to talk about it here. I listen to audio-books in the car.
I used to read a lot – like a book a week a lot – and really enjoyed it. But over the last seven years or so that slowly dwindled down to nothing as smart phones, long work days, and other commitments slowly took over my life. At the same time, I spend between 1 and 3 hours a day in the car commuting to and from work and it felt like wasted time, which was frustrating because I am really jealous of my time. Now that I use this time to listen to audio-books (on Audible) and it has become one of the parts of the day that I look forward to the most, a buffer between home and work.
The revelation that made it work for me was when I realized that I needed to listen to books that are maybe a step-or-two simpler than I might choose to read. Listening while driving isn’t the time for great literature, complex sentences, or detailed hard sci-fi – at least for me. At first I got frustrated because I couldn’t follow as well and would have to keep rewinding or push on being a little confused. Now, I listen to interesting but plot-focused books that I can enjoy even if I get distracted for a moment by someone cutting me off. So if you’ve tried audio-books before and found them hard to follow, that is my advice!
Next for me involves doing math in the mornings. I am very much not a morning person, and getting up and out of bed is my most difficult and painful decision of the day. I have been known to snooze my alarm 5+ times without even realizing I’m doing it, which of course makes me late for work and generally unhappy and irresponsible.
So I’ve started using an alarm clock that forces me to do activities to turn it off. The one I am currently using is called Puzzle Alarm Clock, which allows me to limit the number of available “snoozes” and then solve math problems or simple puzzles to turn it off, making sure that I actually wake up.
It’s also a reasonably attractive app that is easy to customize, so I can switch up the types or difficulty of puzzles if I start getting complacent. It also allows to you add on extras, like an alert on your phone that confirms that you are awake 5 minutes after you disable the alarm or sets the alarm off again.
These may seem like small tweaks, but they add up to a big difference in our day-to-day! Hopefully one will help you… but really we want to hear what works for you so we can
shamelessly steal borrow it in our own lives. What life hacks have you discovered? What small changes have been a big deal for you?