Small-But-Powerful Life Upgrades That Take Less Than 15 Minutes

Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
There are few feelings in the world that are quite as satisfying as crossing off the very last item on your to-do list. Seriously, think for a second about the burst of accomplishment, pride, and — dare we say — joy that accompanies that pencil-drop moment. It’s a rush, albeit an ever-so-slightly dorky one.
To get to that errand-free satisfied state, though, you actually have to do everything on your list. And if you’re anything like us, one big task — think: opening a new credit card account or building any piece of flat-pack furniture — kills our will to so much as look at what’s next on the agenda. Ahead, we’ve got the most gratifying of solutions. These 14 hacks are so ridiculously easy that not a single one takes more than 15 minutes to knock out, especially when you enlist the help of your Google Assistant. Beyond that, they all have the power to genuinely upgrade your health, bank account, home, and overall quality of life. Not bad for such minimal effort, right? Ready, set, go!
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Investing in a smart lock means you’ll never have to sweat over whether you actually locked your door ever again. The instant quality of life boost is worth the reasonable cost.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Another item to add to your shopping list? A portable phone charger. Once you’ve got ammunition to combat the dreaded 10% red battery icon, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Find 15 minutes to put in a call to your internet and cable providers asking them to renegotiate your deal. Simply asking can result in major yearly discounts.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Every week, challenge yourself to master just one adulting task. This could be anything from setting up renter’s insurance to learning to chop an onion. Ask your Google Assistant to pull up a YouTube tutorial, and follow along.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Create an automatic deposit that portions off a fraction of your paycheck into a savings account. Saving money is easier when you never had it in your checking account in the first place.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Save yourself a lifetime’s worth of back problems by flipping your mattress. Ask your Google Assistant to set a reminder to flip it again every three months.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Ready for a tougher weekly challenge? First, take 15 minutes to jot down all the less-than-ideal habits you’d like to work on. Then, going forward, challenge yourself to not do these things one day per week (think of it like a reverse cheat day). Build up to two, three, four, etc. days a week once you’ve gotten the hang of it.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Feeling down? Ask your Google Assistant to queue your favorite pump-up playlist, and see how quickly your blues disappear.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Inbox and impulse buys out of control? Take a few minutes to unsubscribe from all those annoying emails, focusing on retailers you splurge with most often. Financial experts call this move "removing a trigger," as it takes away the urgency to jump on every expertly targeted sale announcement.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Need an item on the fly but don't have time to waste running in and out of stores to check for it? Ask your Google Assistant to find the closest store that sells what you need.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Find the perfect balance between staying on top of email and being chained to it by creating an alert to check it at the same time each night. Setting aside a block of time will help you unlearn bad habits while keeping you from missing anything too urgent.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
When you’ve got the time, change up your commute to work to include more walking. One study shows this can greatly improve your creative thinking.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
As soon as you notice you’re running low on a household staple, ask your Google Assistant to add it to your shopping list. Picking up a replacement before you run out cuts down on that annoying feeling of having to duck out for a roll of paper towels on the spot.
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Illustrated by Abbie Winters.
Guilty of using the same password for all your accounts? No shame, we’ve all been there. Take a few minutes to switch up some of them in the name of cyber security.