Looking to Manage Your Time Better? Try the 'Eat That Frog' Technique

iStock.com/SerrNovik
iStock.com/SerrNovik

If you are anything like most people, you probably procrastinate from time to time—perhaps more than you’d like. Rather than tackling problems head-on, it’s tempting to put off that tough assignment until the day before it's due or justify mindless social media scrolling by telling ourselves that the dirty dishes in the sink aren’t going anywhere, anyway. However, as seasoned procrastinators know, this only provides temporary relief, and might actually make our lives more difficult in the long run.

If you want to break your bad habit once and for all, there’s hope. Writer Laura Binder recently shared a productivity technique called “eat that frog” on the Monday.com blog. The idea comes from a Mark Twain quote—“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”—and it’s the brainchild of self-help author Brian Tracy.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do the most dreaded item on your to-do list first thing in the morning. While this might be the case, your “frog” is the biggest and most important task you need to complete. As Tracy writes in his book Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, it’s also the task that “can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.”

Here are the seven steps you'll need to follow:

1. Figure out your top goal that you want to achieve most.
2. Write the goal down.
3. Set a deadline.
4. List all the steps you need to follow in order to accomplish that goal.
5. Rank those steps by order of priority.
6. Get to work! It’s time to put your plan into action.
7. Do something every day that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.

This process should ideally be done in the morning to set the pace for the rest of the day. However, this list-laden technique might not be right for everyone. (Binder writes that she was one of them, and she lost interest after two days.) Everyone works differently, so if the frog method is a flop, move on to the next one. You may want to try out the Pomodoro Technique instead, which involves working for 25 minutes straight, then taking a five-minute break and repeating that cycle four times. 

[h/t Monday.com]

Your Smart TV Is Vulnerable to Hackers, According to the FBI

Ahmet Yarali / iStock via Getty Images
Ahmet Yarali / iStock via Getty Images

By this point, many of us have had the experience of mentioning a product or service out loud during a conversation, only to have an ad for that very thing pop up on a smart device mere moments later. And, although you may have gotten used to the idea of your gadgets keeping tabs on you, you might not realize that your new smart TV’s monitoring capabilities make it extra vulnerable to hackers.

KATV reports that the Portland, Oregon branch of the FBI released guidelines last week as part of its “Tech Tuesday” initiative to warn people about the risk of hackers gaining access to unsecured televisions through the routers. Because smart TVs likely have microphones and even cameras, successful hackers could do anything from petty mischief to serious stalking.

“At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos,” the FBI says. “In a worst-case scenario, they can turn on your bedroom TV’s camera and microphone and silently cyberstalk you.”

Before you head back to Best Buy, brandishing your receipt and begging for a refund, there are a number of safety precautions you can take to make yourself less of an easy target for cyberattacks.

The first step is knowing exactly what features your TV has, and understanding how to control them—the FBI recommends doing an internet search with the model number and the words microphone, camera, and privacy.

After that, you should delve right into those security settings. Disable the collection of personal information if you can, and learn how to limit microphone and camera access. If you don’t see an option to shut off the camera, black tape over it does the trick.

And, even if it’s not the most riveting reading material, it’s worth perusing the fine print on your device and streaming services to find out what data they collect, where they store it, and how they use it.

Check out all of the tips here, and then see what other everyday objects might be susceptible to hackers.

[h/t KATV]

25 Gift Cards That Give You—and Your Recipient—the Best Bang for Your Buck

flyparade/iStock via Getty Images
flyparade/iStock via Getty Images

Though gift cards can definitely solve your annual conundrum over what to buy those hard-to-please people on your list, deciding on a gift card is the easy part—deciding which gift card to give them, however, is where the challenge comes in.

To help you narrow it down, WalletHub devised a multi-factor ranking system for gift cards of all types, from home improvement outlets like Lowe’s to subscription services like Netflix. Researchers analyzed popularity (based on search volume), average buyer’s discount across major gift card exchange sites, average resale value, retailer ratings on popular review sites, and shipping fees, and then assigned an overall score to each of America’s 100 largest retailers.

According to the study, your best option this year is a Target gift card, with an average buyer’s discount of 5.76 percent, a resale value of $77.12, and a retailer rating of 3.09 out of 5.

But before you stock up on Target gift cards for your many friends and family members, you might want to peruse the rest of WalletHub’s data. IKEA, for example, which tied for third place with Home Depot and eBay, boasts an average buyer’s discount of 10.85 percent.

The top performers from the food industry were Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and Chipotle, which all tied for fourth place (among several other companies, Netflix and iTunes included) with 50 points apiece.

Even if you’ve already decided which gift cards you’re going with this holiday season, it’s still worth looking at WalletHub’s data before you buy them to make sure you’re getting a discount comparable to (or better than) the average. And, if there’s a particularly choosy recipient on your list who’ll likely try to resell their gift card, perhaps pick one with an especially high resale value, like Costco’s $84.60 or Walmart’s $84.09.

Check out the rankings below, including overall score, and find out the full details from WalletHub’s study here.

  1. Target // Score: 70
  1. Walmart // Score: 60
  1. Sephora // Score: 60
  1. eBay // Score: 55
  1. Home Depot // Score: 55
  1. IKEA // Score: 55
  1. iTunes // Score: 50
  1. Starbucks // Score: 50
  1. Costco // Score: 50
  1. Chick-fil-A // Score: 50
  1. Netflix // Score: 50
  1. McDonald’s // Score: 50
  1. Fandango // Score: 50
  1. Chipotle // Score: 50
  1. REI // Score: 50
  1. Old Navy // Score: 50
  1. H&M // Score: 50
  1. Disney // Score: 45
  1. Google Play // Score: 45
  1. Best Buy // Score: 45
  1. Macy's // Score: 45
  1. Lowe's // Score: 45
  1. Subway // Score: 45
  1. Amazon // Score: 40
  1. Gamestop // Score: 40

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER