11 Solid Rules of Thumb for Adult Life


Being an adult is about more than the number of candles on your birthday cake. It’s about personal growth, building healthy habits, and embracing responsibility. It may sound like a daunting challenge (and in many ways it is), but it doesn’t have to be a painful process. Remember these 11 rules and you’ll do just fine (consider this your cheat sheet to life).


It’s easy for little chores to pile up and become intimidating. To cut down on procrastination, do any task that takes less than two minutes to complete right away. This applies to anything from doing the dishes to responding to personal emails (work emails are another story, as studies show it may be more productive to spend longer stretches of time focusing on a single task—see No. 7). Just get it out of the way, and you won’t have to worry about it later. Avoiding procrastination will lead to a less cluttered house and mind.


Keeping documents organized is one of those things that doesn’t feel important until it’s too late. To avoid misplaced-passport-panic in the moments before you leave to catch a flight, or having to laboriously re-write and reformat your resume when your ancient laptop finally crashes for good, keep all of your important documents—both physical and digital—well organized. For physical documents, it’s a good idea to have a designated binder or drawer to keep everything important—from tax documents to bills to your lease—in one place. And for digital files: Back everything up often, either online or in a back-up hard drive.


Never get caught without household basics like toilet paper, paper towels, light bulbs, and batteries. Paying a little bit of attention to your stock of household supplies now is easier than dealing with a spill without any paper towels later. Find out what kinds of batteries the electronic devices in your home like remote controls and smoke detectors take: If the smoke detector in your home starts running low on juice, it will beep all day and night until you replace its battery, so it’s a good idea to grab a few in advance to avoid a sleepless night. Speaking of…


Sleep is crucial to mental and physical health, but people habitually treat it like it’s optional. Fewer than seven hours a night will take a toll on your health; but, on the flip side, getting enough sleep can improve your ability to focus, lower your stress levels, and even keep you at a healthier weight. You’ll ultimately be able to get more done during the day by investing in a full night’s sleep than by staying up for a few extra hours to work.


It’s totally possible to live in the moment and plan for the future at the same time. Break down your long term goals into smaller, more immediate tasks in order to spend less time worrying about distant future events. For instance, if you’re planning for a big career shift or a new job down the line, break that goal down into things you can do in the near future, like job applications, additional education, and networking events. Breaking your big goals into smaller tasks will help you get more done now, and allow you to worry less about the future in your down time.


Start saving money right now—you’ll be glad you did. No matter how much money you’re making, it’s a good idea to put a little away each month. You can even have a set amount automatically transferred from your checking account into your savings at set intervals, so you won’t even have to think about it.


Want to get more done? Sometimes it helps to do less. While it might feel like we’re getting more work completed when we perform multiple tasks at once, most of the time, that’s not the case. Multiple studies have found that multitasking breaks our focus, makes us less efficient, and can even cause cognitive damage in the long run. Instead of trying to do everything at the same time, break down your day into different tasks, and focus fully on each one. Many of our most common distractions are technology-related: If you’re at work, designate specific times to check and respond to emails; at home, put down your phone if you’re watching a movie or hanging out with friends.


People talk about finding a work/life balance, but it’s equally important to find a balance between categories like friends and family, fitness and relaxation, and being social and spending time on your own. Finding the right balance means something different for everyone, so it’s important to follow your own instincts instead of looking at what other people are doing. For some, working out at the gym every morning feels right, while others are happy to get their recommended weekly dose of cardiac exercise by heading out for jog or yoga class a few times a week. It’s important to pay attention to how you’re feeling, and find the balance of time spent on activities, work, and relationships that feels right for you.


Learning how to stand up for yourself isn’t just about fighting back when you’re being bullied. It’s about knowing how to express your feelings with tact, and voicing your opinions respectfully. Whether you’re negotiating a pay raise or caught in an argument with your significant other, it’s important to make sure you’re getting your point across in a way that’s assertive but not combative. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you’re listening as much as you’re talking, and to remind yourself that you’re having a conversation—not a fight.


When it comes to human emotions, things often exist in a gray area. For instance, if you’re arguing with a friend or significant other, it’s often more productive to find a middle ground than it is to prove you’re right.


When you’re a young adult, you have to work to undo all of the bad habits you developed in college, like going to bed too late, eating junk food, and skipping your workout in favor of takeout. Develop good habits the same way you developed the bad ones: Through repetition. Exercising regularly or eating healthy may feel like a chore now, but eventually it’ll be as second nature as staying up until 4 a.m. watching TV once was.

6 Protective Mask Bundles You Can Get On Sale

pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus
pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Daily life has changed immeasurably since the onset of COVID-19, and one of the ways people have had to adjust is by wearing protective masks out in public places, including in parks and supermarkets. These are an essential part of fighting the spread of the virus, and there are plenty of options for you depending on what you need, whether your situation calls for disposable masks to run quick errands or the more long-lasting KN95 model if you're going to work. Check out some options you can pick up on sale right now.

1. Cotton Face Masks; $20 for 4

Protective Masks with Patterns.

This four-pack of washable cotton face masks comes in tie-dye, kids patterns, and even a series of mustache patterns, so you can do your part to mask germs without also covering your personality.

Buy it: $20 for four (50 percent off)

2. CE- and FDA-Approved KN95 Mask; $50 for 10

A woman putting on a protective mask.

You’ve likely heard about the N95 face mask and its important role in keeping frontline workers safe. Now, you can get a similar model for yourself. The KN95 has a dual particle layer, which can protect you from 99 percent of particles in the air and those around you from 70 percent of the particles you exhale. Nose clips and ear straps provide security and comfort, giving you some much-needed peace of mind.

Buy it: $50 for 10 (50 percent off)

3. Three-Ply Masks; $13 for 10

Woman wearing a three-ply protective mask.

These three-ply, non-medical, non-woven face masks provide a moisture-proof layer against your face with strong filtering to keep you and everyone around you safe. The middle layer filters non-oily particles in the air and the outer layer works to block visible objects, like droplets.

Buy it: $13 for 10 (50 percent off)

4. Disposable masks; $44 for 50

A batch of disposable masks.
Odash, Inc.

If the thought of reusing the same mask from one outing to the next makes you feel uneasy, there’s a disposable option that doesn’t compromise quality; in fact, it uses the same three-layered and non-woven protection as other masks to keep you safe from airborne particles. Each mask in this pack of 50 can be worn safely for up to 10 hours. Once you're done, safely dispose of it and start your next outing with a new one.

Buy it: $44 for 50 (41 percent off)

5. Polyester Masks; $22 for 5

Polyester protective masks.

These masks are a blend of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, and they work to block particles from spreading in the air. And because they're easily compressed, they can travel with you in your bag or pocket, whether you're going to work or out to the store.

Buy it: $22 for five (56 percent off)

6. Mask Protector Cases; $15 for 3

Protective mask case.

You're going to need to have a stash of masks on hand for the foreseeable future, so it's a good idea to protect the ones you’ve got. This face mask protector case is waterproof and dust-proof to preserve your mask as long as possible.

Buy it: $15 for three (50 percent off)

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

7 Online Tech Course Programs That Will Help You Build New Career Skills

dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus
dusanpetkovic/iStock via Getty Images Plus

It's always a good time to build new career skills, and with these tech-related courses, you can learn anything from the basics of Python to the ins and outs of G Suite. These courses will boost your knowledge of the digital world and help you put some valuable new bullet points on your resume. Many of these courses allow you to read through the materials for free, but if you want to take advantage of graded coursework and earn a certificate of completion to include on your LinkedIn profile or resume at the end, there will be a fee of anywhere from $39 to $49.

1. UI/UX Design Specialization

In this four-class specialization on UI/UX design, you’ll discover how to design digital experiences that users can navigate with ease. Over about four months, you’ll learn the basics of visual communication and you’ll be able to practice gathering user feedback to build intuitive, attractive websites and interfaces.

Sign up on Coursera to take all four courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

2. Python for Everybody

Python is quickly gaining ground as one of the most in-demand programming languages for employers. Plus, its fans say it’s highly readable and approachable for new programmers just starting to learn a coding language. If you want to understand the basics of Python, from 101 principles to more advanced database design, these courses will get you started.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

3. Data Science Professional Certificate

Data science is one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In this nine-course professional certificate program, you’ll start by learning basic data science methodology before moving into how to use Python and SQL to analyze and visualize data to forecast future trends. IBM estimates that you’ll complete the entire certificate in about 10 months if you commit four hours per week, but the timing is flexible enough to suit any schedule.

Sign up on Coursera to take all nine courses in this specialization for $39 a month.

4. Computer Architecture

This course, taught by an electrical engineering professor at Princeton, teaches students how to design computer hardware that supports powerful software. But be forewarned: This is an advanced class intended for students with extensive knowledge in computer science. If you’re looking for a beginner-level course, this class—also from Princeton—may be a better fit.

Sign up on Coursera for free.

5. AI for Everyone

If you’re worried that artificial intelligence will drive you out of the workforce, this course will help. Over the course of four weeks, you’ll learn the basics of what is and isn’t possible through AI—and you may even gain some ideas for how to use AI to augment your own career.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

6. G Suite Administration Specialization

Become a Google Cloud expert with this series of courses put together by Google itself. Over about two months, you’ll learn management tactics and security guidelines for using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Calendar. This specialization prepares participants to become G Suite administrators at their respective companies and organizations.

Sign up on Coursera to take all five courses in this specialization for $49 a month.

7. Introduction to Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is near the top of the list of skills employers are looking for, according to LinkedIn. In this introductory course, you’ll gain a basic understanding of cloud-based networks and get some practice working with IBM Cloud.

Sign up on Coursera for $49.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.