11 Solid Rules of Thumb for Adult Life

iStock
iStock

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).

1. IF IT TAKES TWO MINUTES OR LESS, DO IT NOW.

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.

2. KEEP YOUR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS SAFE AND ORGANIZED.

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.

3. RESTOCK HOUSEHOLD SUPPLIES BEFORE THEY RUN OUT.

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…

4. GET ENOUGH SLEEP.

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.

5. LOOK TOWARDS THE FUTURE.

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.

6. PAY YOURSELF FIRST.

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.

7. QUIT MULTITASKING.

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.

8. LIVE A BALANCED LIFE.

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.

9. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF...

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.

10. …BUT DON’T BE AFRAID TO COMPROMISE.

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.

11. DEVELOP GOOD HABITS THROUGH REPETITION.

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.

Amazon's Best Black Friday Deals: Tech, Video Games, Kitchen Appliances, Clothing, and More

Amazon
Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Black Friday is finally here, and Amazon is offering great deals on kitchen appliances, tech, video games, and plenty more. We will keep updating this page as sales come in, but for now, here are the best Amazon Black Friday sales to check out.

Kitchen

Instant Pot/Amazon

- Instant Pot Duo Plus 9-in-115 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker; $90 (save $40)

- Keurig K-Cafe Special Edition; $190 (save $30)

- Ninja OS301 Foodi 10-in-1 Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer; $125 (save $75)

- Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Machine by Breville; $120 (save $60)

- KitchenAid KSMSFTA Sifter with Scale Attachment; $95 (save $75)

- Keurig K-Mini Coffee Maker; $60 (save $20)

- Cuisinart Bread Maker; $80 (save $97)

- Anova Culinary Sous Vide Precision Cooker; $139 (save $60)

- Aicook Juicer Machine; $35 (save $15)

- JoyJolt Double Wall Insulated Espresso Mugs - Set of Two; $14 (save $10)

- Longzon Silicone Stretch Lids - Set of 14; $16 (save $11)

- HadinEEon Milk Frother; $37 (save $33)

Home Appliances

Roomba/Amazon

- iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum with Wi-Fi Connectivity; $179 (save $101)

- ASAKUKI 500ml Premium Essential Oil Diffuser; $22 (save $4)

- Facebook Portal Smart Video Calling 10 inch Touch Screen Display with Alexa; $129 (save $50)

- Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters; $280 (save $50)

- Oscillating Quiet Cooling Fan Tower; $59 (save $31)

- TaoTronics PTC 1500W Fast Quiet Heating Ceramic Tower; $55 (save $10)

- Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler 2 Liter Capacity; $300 (save $100)

- Ring Video Doorbell; $70 (save $30)

Video games

Sony

- Marvel's Spider-Man: Game of The Year Edition for PlayStation 4; $20 (save $20)

- The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening; $40 (save $20)

- Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity; $50 (save $10)

- Marvel's Avengers; $25 (save $33)

- The Last of Us Part II for PlayStation 4; $30 (save $30)

- LEGO Harry Potter: Collection; $15 (save $15)

- Ghost of Tsushima; $40 (save $20)

- BioShock: The Collection; $20 (save $30)

- The Sims 4; $24 (save $20)

- God of Warfor PlayStation 4; $10 (save $10)

- Days Gonefor PlayStation 4; $20 (save $6)

- Luigi's Mansion 3 for Nintendo Switch; $40 (save $20)

Computers and tablets

Microsoft/Amazon

- New Apple MacBook Pro 16 inches with 512 GB; $2149 (save $250)

- Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 with 13.5 inch Touch-Screen; $1200 (save $400)

- Lenovo ThinkPad T490 Laptop; $889 (save $111)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Tablet (64GB); $120 (save $70)

- Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet (32 GB); $130 (save $70)

- Apple iPad Mini (64 GB); $335 (save $64)

- Vankyo MatrixPad S2 Tablet; $120 (save $10)

Tech, gadgets, and TVs

Apple/Amazon

- Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS; $120 (save $79)

- Seneo Wireless Charger, 3 in 1 Wireless Charging Station; $16 (save $10)

- SAMSUNG 75-inch Class Crystal 4K Smart TV; $998 (save $200)

- Nixplay 2K Smart Digital Picture Frame 9.7 Inch Silver; $238 (save $92)

- All-New Amazon Echo Dot with Clock and Alexa (4th Gen); $39 (save $21)

- MACTREM LED Ring Light 6" with Tripod Stand; $16 (save $3)

- Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; $28 (save $12)

- DR. J Professional HI-04 Mini Projector; $93 (save $37)

Headphones and speakers

Beats/Amazon

- Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones; $120 (Save $80)

- Apple AirPods Pro; $169 (save $50)

- Anker Soundcore Upgraded Bluetooth Speaker; $22 (save $8)

- Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earphones; $175 (save $75)

- JBL Boombox; $280 (save $120)

Movies and TV

HBO/Amazon

- Game of Thrones: The Complete Series; $115 (save $89)

- Jurassic World 5-Movie Set; $23 (save $37)

- Deadwood: The Complete Series; $42 (save $28)

- Back to the Future Trilogy; $15 (save $21)

Toys and Games

Amazon

- Awkward Family Photos Greatest Hits; $15 (save $10)

- Exploding Kittens Card Game; $10 (save $10)

- Cards Against Humanity: Hidden Gems Bundle; $14 (save $5)

- LOL Surprise OMG Remix Pop B.B. Fashion Doll; $29 (save $6)

- LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle 92177 Expert Building Kit; $56 (save $14)

Furniture

Casper/Amazon

- Casper Sleep Element Queen Mattress; $476 (save $119)

- ZINUS Alexis Deluxe Wood Platform Bed Frame; $135 (save $24)

- ROMOON Dresser Organizer with 5 Drawers; $59 (save $11) 

- AmazonBasics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains; $26 (save $5)

- Writing Desk by Caffoz; $119 (save $21)

- SPACE Seating Office Support Managers Chair; $112 (save $116)

- Rivet Globe Stick Table Lamp; $53 (save $17)

- Christopher Knight Home Merel Mid-Century Modern Club Chair; $188 (save $10)

- Walker Edison Furniture Industrial Rectangular Coffee Table; $121 (save $48)

Beauty

Haus/Amazon

- MySmile Teeth Whitening Kit with LED Light; $21 (save $12) 

- Cliganic USDA Organic Lip Balms Set of Six; $6 (save $4)

- HAUS LABORATORIES By Lady Gaga: LE RIOT LIP GLOSS; $7 (save $11)

- Native Deodorant for Men and Women Set of Three; $25 (save $11) 

- BAIMEI Rose Quartz Jade Roller & Gua Sha; $14 (save $3)

- Honest Beauty Clearing Night Serum with Pure Retinol and Salicylic Acid; $20 (save $8)

- WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo and Hair Conditioner Set; $30 (save $5) 

- La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser; $15 (save $5)

- wet n wild Bretman Rock Shadow Palette; $9 (save $6)

- EltaMD UV Daily Tinted Face Sunscreen Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid; $25 (save $6)

Clothes

Ganni/Amazon

- Ganni Women's Crispy Jacquard Dress; $200 (save $86) 

- The Drop Women's Maya Silky Slip Skirt; $36 (save $9)

- Steve Madden Women's Editor Boot; $80 (save $30)

- adidas Women's Roguera Cross Trainer; $40 (save $25)

- Line & Dot Women's Elizabeth Sweater; $74 (save $18)

- Levi's Men's Sherpa Trucker Jacket; $57 (save $41)

- Adidas Men's Essentials 3-Stripes Tapered Training Joggers Sweatpants; $28 (save $12)

- Timex Men's Weekender XL 43mm Watch; $32 (save $20)

- Ray-Ban Unisex-Adult Hexagonal Flat Lenses Sunglasses; $108 (save $46) 

- Reebok Men's Flashfilm Train Cross Trainer; $64 (save $16)

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Hate Brown Apple Slices? Use This Simple Trick to Keep Them Fresh

Jessica Lewis, Unsplash
Jessica Lewis, Unsplash

Though they're perfectly safe to eat, brown apple slices aren't the most appealing-looking snack. If you love sliced apples but can't stand that fading color, eating them faster isn't your only option. All you need is a bowl of water and a bit of salt to keep your apples looking and tasting fresh and crisp long after you cut into them.

This trick for keeping apple slices from browning comes from Reader's Digest. Before picking up your knife, prepare a bowl of cold water. Stir in roughly half a teaspoon of salt for every cup of water and set the bowl aside until your apple slices are ready. Soak the slices for 10 minutes, drain them, and rinse them off to get rid of any excess salt. You can eat your apples right away or store them in a plastic bag or container for later. Either way, they should keep their appetizing white color for longer than they would without the saltwater soak.

Discoloration on an apple slice doesn't mean it's gone bad. When the enzymes inside an apple are exposed to air, they produce benzoquinone and melanins in a process called oxidation. This chemical reaction is behind your apple's rapid browning. Salt inhibits these enzymes, which slow down the oxidation process.

The saltwater trick is great for keeping apples looking fresh, but it only works if they've been sliced. Here's a tip for stopping your whole apples from going bad after bringing them home from the grocery store (or picking them straight from the tree).

[h/t Reader's Digest]