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Friday, 28 February 2020

How to Straighten a Beard

Taming a beard can be a lot of work, especially if your beard hair is curly. Straightening a curly beard is a great way to keep the hair more manageable and show off a new style! You can use a flat iron for longer beards, while silicone cream and relaxer kits can be used for any length. With the right materials and ingredients, you can have a straight, soft beard in no time.


[Edit]Straightening with a Flat Iron

  1. Wash your beard with a shampoo and conditioner specifically for beards. Normal hair shampoos tend to have chemicals that are too harsh for the beard. It can cause dryness in the beard hair that will make it curlier, less manageable, and possibly cause hair breakage. [1]
    Straighten a Beard Step 1.jpg
    • Unless needed, beards should only be washed and conditioned once a week for optimal results. Over-washing the beard can cause dryness and damage to the hair.
    • However, you should use conditioner every day or so to moisturize and soften the beard. [2]
  2. Blow dry and comb your beard. If you let your beard dry naturally, it will dry into tight curls. [3]. Turn on the blow dryer with a comb attachment to low heat and comb your beard in a downward motion. This will help the hair dry faster and make all of your beard hairs dry in one direction. [4]
    Straighten a Beard Step 2.jpg
    • Use the blow dryer on a lower heat setting to prevent drying out the beard hair. This will cause it to frizz and can result in brittle hair with split ends. [5]
    • Some blow dryers do not come with comb attachments. In this case, turn on the blow dryer to a low heat setting and hold it close to your beard with one hand. Then use a beard comb to comb the beard with your other hand.
    • You may also use a beard brush for this step.
  3. Straighten your beard with a small flat iron. Make sure your beard is completely dry before using the flat iron on the hair. Keeping the flat iron at least half an inch away from your skin, position the straightener at the top of your beard and place a small portion of your beard hair between the flat iron. Move the iron down the length of your beard in one motion to straighten the hair downward. Repeat for all areas of the beard until the hair is straightened. [6]
    Straighten a Beard Step 3.jpg
    • You should not keep the flat iron in any one place longer than 5 seconds. Over-exposure to heat can burn and damage your beard hair.

[Edit]Using Silicone Cream and Beard Balm

  1. Apply silicone cream while washing your beard. After using shampoo and conditioner, apply the silicone cream to your entire beard while the hair is still damp. Do not wash the cream out, just gently work it into the beard. [7]
    Straighten a Beard Step 4.jpg
    • Only use enough to cover your beard. Do not use more than needed as it will waste the cream.
    • If you prefer not to use the silicone cream, you can also use a beard oil. Beard oils are moisturizers and leave-in conditioners. However, beard oils only make the beard soft and do not work as straightening agents. [8] For very curly beards, using silicone cream is recommended.
  2. Blow dry and comb your beard. When the silicone cream sets while blow drying and grooming, your beard will be straight for the rest of the day. You will need to reapply the silicone cream the next day for the same results. [9]
    Straighten a Beard Step 5.jpg
    • Use a fine-tooth comb to make sure the silicone cream gets down to the roots of the hair follicles. Using a larger-toothed comb or a brush may not give the appearance of completely straight hair as the cream may not be applied to each individual hair.
  3. Apply beard balm to keep the beard straighter for longer. Beard balms are styling pomades that provide hold for beard styles and make beards appear fuller.[10]. After your beard is dry, apply a small amount of balm, just enough to cover your beard, to hold your straightened hair in place all day.
    Straighten a Beard Step 6.jpg
    • If your beard is able to be straightened temporarily without silicone cream, applying a beard balm directly after blow drying and combing your hair. This will hold the straightened beard in place for a few hours.
    • A stronger form of beard balm is beard wax, which is beard bald made with beeswax for added hold and straightening ability. [11]

[Edit]Relaxing Your Beard

  1. Wash your beard with beard relaxing shampoo and pat it dry with a towel. Two shampoos will come in a relaxer kit, and one is a specific relaxer shampoo. This shampoo is specialty designed to prepare the hair for the relaxer cream. Pat your beard completely dry with a towel.
    Straighten a Beard Step 7.jpg
    • Do not rub your beard when drying as this may wash out the properties of the relaxer shampoo that help prepare and strengthen the hair.
  2. Part your beard into smaller sections with a comb. This will make it easier to apply the relaxer cream to all parts of your beard first before spreading the cream across to any hairs you missed. If necessary, you can use rubber bands to hold the sections of your beard in place.
    Straighten a Beard Step 8.jpg
    • Remember that you will need to throw these rubber bands away after you’re finished.
  3. Apply the relaxer cream to each beard section with disposable gloves. The relaxer cream contains compounds specific for hair that may irritate the skin. Be very careful to apply the cream only to your beard and avoid placing any cream directly on your chin or face. [12]
    Straighten a Beard Step 9.jpg
    • If you do experience any irritation sensations after a few minutes, wash the relaxer cream out of your beard and wait before trying the cream again. Check to make sure the skin is not tender to the touch.
    • Beard relaxers do not harm the hair. They are made with ingredients like almond oil, shea butter, and beeswax that moisturize your hair follicles and promote healthy growth. [13]
  4. Comb the relaxer cream through your whole beard. Use a fine-toothed comb to spread the cream throughout your beard to make sure it has been applied to the full length of the hair. Look to make sure all of your beard is covered. [14]
    Straighten a Beard Step 10.jpg
    • Look at the roots of your beard for total coverage. If you do not get the relaxer to your roots, the hair between your face and the top of your beard may still appear curly.
  5. Wait for 30 minutes and wash out the visible relaxer with only water. The cream needs time to be soaked up by the hair and break down your curls to make them more manageable. Relaxer cream that is soaked up by the hair will not be visible to the eye but will still be actively working. After 30 minutes, wash out the visible relaxer with water to remove the access product. [15]
    Straighten a Beard Step 11.jpg
    • Do not use shampoo as it will completely wash out the relaxer before it has finished breaking down the curls. [16]
    • If you feel any burning sensations before the 30 minutes has passed, immediately wash the visible relaxer out of your beard.
  6. Dry the beard with a blow dryer. Do not use a towel when doing this or you may remove the cream that is still actively working in your hair. Fully dry the beard with the blow dryer on a low heat setting. [17]
    Straighten a Beard Step 12.jpg
    • Comb the beard in a downward motion to begin the straightening.
  7. Straighten the beard with a flat iron to work out the curls. You will need to straighten the hair while the relaxer cream is still actively working before washing the cream completely out. This will make sure the beard is completely straightened and will remain that way after washing out the relaxer. Be sure to keep the flat at least half an inch away from your skin and straighten the hair in a downward motion.[18]
    Straighten a Beard Step 13.jpg
    • Do not let the flat iron sit in one place on the beard for more than 5 seconds as it can cause damage to your hair. [19]
  8. Wash out the remaining relaxer with beard shampoo. After you have straightened and shaped your beard with the active relaxer cream, wash your beard with shampoo to fully remove the relaxer cream. Wash your beard thoroughly to make sure all of the relaxer is out. [20]
    Straighten a Beard Step 14.jpg
    • You should repeat this process 2-3 times to be sure that the cream has been washed away.
    • The beard relaxer kit should come with a shampoo for this, but any beard shampoo will do.
  9. Apply beard conditioner and wait for 30 minutes. Heat can be damaging to the hair, especially when working out curls. Fully conditioning the beard will allow the hair to pick up any moisture it lost during flat-ironing.
    Straighten a Beard Step 15.jpg
    • The relaxer kit should also include a conditioner, but you can use your own beard conditioner as long as it is not leave-in.
  10. Rinse out the conditioner and towel try your beard. Pat your beard down with a towel until it is fully dry. Use a comb to style your beard and put some beard oil in it for extra moisture all day.
    Straighten a Beard Step 16.jpg


  • Stay away from harsh shampoos and soaps. These can cause damage to the beard hair, including dryness and split ends.
  • Use beard oils every day as a leave-in conditioner to add moisture to your beard and keep it soft.


  • Beard relaxers permanently straighten beards, but new beard hair will still grow in curly. If you want your new hair to be straightened, you will need to relax that new growth as well. When doing so, do not reapply the relaxer to the already straightened hair as over-exposure can make that hair brittle or dry.
  • If you want to return to your curly beard after using a relaxer, shave or cut your current straightened hair and allow your beard to grow out again.


[Edit]Quick Summary

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How to Clean a Travel Pillow

Travel pillows are a great accessory for taking on airplanes, trains, and buses. If you’ve used your travel pillow a lot, it might be getting dirty or collecting an odor. Before you clean your travel pillow, determine what material it is made out of. Most pillows, including those made from memory foam or microbeads, can be hand-washed with laundry detergent. If your pillow has a cover on it, simply take off the cover and wash it separately from the pillow itself. You can also sprinkle your pillow with baking soda and set it in the sun to freshen it.


[Edit]Washing a Memory Foam or Microbead Travel Pillow

  1. Fill a container with lukewarm water and of detergent. Find a bucket, tub, or sink that is big enough to hold your travel pillow. Fill it up about halfway with lukewarm water, or water that is just above . Add a mild detergent and gently mix it into the water. Make sure your container is full enough that your travel pillow will be fully submerged.[1]
    Clean a Travel Pillow Step 1 Version 2.jpg
    • You should always use mild detergent when you wash memory foam so that you don’t harm your pillow.
    • If you use your travel pillow often, you should wash it twice a year.
  2. Hold your pillow underwater and gently squeeze it. Submerge your travel pillow fully and squeeze it in and out with your hands. Do not pull or rub at your travel pillow. Squeeze your pillow 5 to 10 times all over to fully clean it out.[2]

    • If there are any stains or spots on your pillow, pay special attention to them as you squeeze.
  3. Rinse your pillow out in cool water until the water is clear. Drain the container full of soapy water and carry your pillow over to a sink or tub. Use cool water that is just below room temperature to rinse all of the detergent out of your pillow. Keep rinsing until there is no soap residue coming out of the pillow anymore, or for about 5 minutes.[3]

    • Leaving soap residue inside of your pillow can harm it in the long run.
  4. Let your travel pillow dry in the sun. Set your travel pillow in a cool, dry spot where the sun can reach it. If you live in a humid climate, keep your pillow indoors. Leave it to dry until you can squeeze it without feeling any moisture, or for 1 to 2 days.[4]
    Clean a Travel Pillow Step 4 Version 2.jpg

[Edit]Cleaning a Travel Pillow in a Machine

  1. Check the tag to see if your pillow is machine washable. Some travel pillows cannot be washed in a washing machine. Look at the tag to see what the manufacturer recommends. If your pillow is dry clean or hand wash only, do not put it in the washing machine.[5]
    Clean a Travel Pillow Step 5 Version 2.jpg
    • Most memory foam and microbead pillows are not machine washable.
  2. Remove the cover if it has one. Some travel pillows have removable covers that come off with a zipper or snaps. If your pillow does, take the cover off carefully and set the pillow aside. Wash the cover separately from the pillow.[6]

    • Pillow covers help keep your travel pillow clean for a longer period of time.
  3. Wash the pillow or the cover in cold water on a low spin setting. Find the low-spin or delicate setting on your washing machine. Wash your travel pillow in cold water using a mild detergent. Don’t let the pillow sit for too long after the cycle is over, or it could lose its shape.[7]
    Clean a Travel Pillow Step 7 Version 2.jpg
    • Putting your pillow on a high-spin setting could also cause it to lose its shape.
    • You can wash other clothing items with your pillow or cover.
  4. Dry it on low or let it sit in the sun for 1 day. If you need your travel pillow dried quickly, put it in the dryer for 1 hour on a low setting. If you don’t need it dry that fast, set your pillow out in the sun to dry for at least 1 day. Squeeze your pillow to make sure it is dry on the inside, not just the outside.[8]
    Clean a Travel Pillow Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Some dryers have automatic moisture sensors. These won’t work on travel pillows, since the sensors only pick up moisture on the outside of the pillow, not the inside.

[Edit]Removing Odors and Small Stains

  1. Let the pillow sit out in the sunlight for 2 to 3 days to remove smells. If your memory foam or microbead travel pillow is starting to smell bad, let it sit out in the fresh air for 2 to 3 days until the smell goes away. Make sure the pillow won’t get wet or dirty in the spot that you put it outside. Unfold the pillow all the way before you set it in the sunlight.[9]
    Clean a Travel Pillow Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • Mild odors, like the smell of sweat, will go away when the pillow is aired out.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda on the pillow and let it sit to get rid of smells. If your pillow is really stinky, spread a thin layer of baking soda over the entire thing. Let it sit outside in the sunlight for 2 to 3 days until the baking soda absorbs all of the odor. Brush the baking soda off of the pillow outside before you use it again.[10]
    Clean a Travel Pillow Step 10 Version 2.jpg
    • Baking soda absorbs odors, but it won’t take away any stains or dirt.
  3. Rub detergent and warm water into small stains. If your travel pillow has a few small stains on it that don’t warrant an entire wash, use a washcloth with warm water and 1 drop of mild laundry detergent to gently rub at the stain until it comes out. Rinse the stain with cool water until the water runs clear to get rid of the detergent.[11]


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How to Know if Chicken Is Cooked

Chicken is an appetizing, easy dish that can be paired with almost anything. Eating undercooked or raw chicken is incredibly dangerous and can make you very sick, so it’s important to know when your food is safe to eat. Using a thermometer and inspecting your chicken is a sure-fire way to make sure that you are consuming safe, healthy, and delicious food.


[Edit]Using a Thermometer

  1. Choose a meat thermometer. Buying the right thermometer can make your cooking process much easier. To get the most accurate reading, a digital meat thermometer is best, but an analog thermometer can also be used.[1]

    Know if Chicken Is Cooked Step 1.jpg
  2. Calibrate your thermometer by reading a freezing temperature. Fill a large pitcher with ice and cold tap water, and mix thoroughly until the ice is distributed evenly. Place your thermometer into the pitcher of ice/water mixture and wait 30 seconds, or until the temperature reading stays on one number. Adjust your thermometer reading until it stays at .

    Know if Chicken Is Cooked Step 2.jpg
    • No matter what kind of thermometer you are using, making sure it is calibrated correctly is essential to ensure you get an accurate temperature reading.[2]
  3. Find the thickest part of the chicken. Testing the temperature of the thickest part of the meat ensures that your entire piece of chicken is cooked, and not just the thin portions. Identify which area of the chicken has the most meat on it, usually toward the center of the piece.[3]

  4. Insert your thermometer. Stab your thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, making sure that the end of the thermometer stays near the middle of the piece. Wait about 30 seconds, or until your thermometer reading becomes steady.

    • Chicken should be cooked until it is .[4]
    • If your chicken is above these temperatures, it may be overcooked. If it is under these temperatures, it needs more cooking time.

[Edit]Noticing Visual Cues

  1. Test the firmness of the meat to make sure it is cooked. When cooking, chicken loses moisture and will tighten up. Raw chicken feels rubbery or wobbly, while cooked chicken should feel firm and spring back from your touch.[5]

    • A good example of what cooked chicken should feel like can be felt by keeping your hand limp and pressing your middle finger to your thumb.
  2. Check for white/clear juice to test whether your chicken is ready. While cooking, there is often juice that collects in the pan or dish that your chicken is cooking in. Cooked chicken juice will be a white/clear color, while uncooked chicken juice will be more pink.[6]

    • Checking the color of the juice to test whether meat is done is a trick that only works for chicken, and not other types of meat.
  3. Determine if your chicken has shrunk in size to see if it is cooked. Uncooked chicken holds a lot of moisture which is expelled during the cooking process. Meat also tends to shrink while cooking, because the muscle fibers contract. Your cooked chicken piece will be slightly smaller than the piece of uncooked chicken that you started with.

  4. Look for a white meat color to see if your chicken is cooked. Raw or undercooked chicken has a pink tone to it. By cutting open the thickest part of your chicken and looking at the color, you can identify whether your chicken needs more cook time or not. Cooked chicken will be white on the inside with no pinkish hue, and a golden brown on the outside.


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Thursday, 27 February 2020

How to Stay Focused

Staying focused can help you accomplish a variety of professional and personal tasks, from studying for a test to finishing your work an hour early. There are various practical steps you can take to help yourself focus better and to stop checking your Facebook or phone every fifteen minutes. To stay focused on the task ahead of you, resist the impulse to give in to distractions, make a to-do list (which has built-in breaks) and resist the temptation to multi-task.


[Edit]Getting Organized for Better Focus

  1. Organize your workspace. Whether you're doing work in your office or studying at home, having a clean space can help you focus and get your work done with much more concentration. Remove anything that can distract you from your work and isn't relevant to the task. Clean off your desk to include only the things you need to work, leaving just a few photos or mementos to help you relax a bit.
    Stay Focused Step 1 Version 13.jpg
    • If you spend just ten minutes cleaning your space at the end of every day, you'll be able to maintain your new organized lifestyle.
    • If you don't need your phone to do your work, put it away for a few hours. Don't let it clutter your space and distract you.
  2. Make a to-do list. Making a to-do list at the beginning of every day or week can make you feel more focused and motivated to continue your work. If you make a list of all the things you have to do, no matter how small, you will feel more accomplished when you check those items off your list and move on to the next task. This will also keep you focused on one task at a time.[1]
    Stay Focused Step 2 Version 13.jpg
    • Prioritize your tasks. Put the most important or hardest tasks first. It's better to save the easier or more manageable tasks for the end of the day, when you're more tired and less compelled to complete the hardest tasks. If you put off the hard tasks until the last minute, you'll be dreading getting them done all day.
    • For example, a to-do list could contain: “Call mom. Order cake for kid's birthday. Call the doctor back. Post office @ 2 pm.”
  3. Give yourself a time limit for each task. Managing your time goes hand in hand with making a to-do list. Next to each item on the list, write about how long it'll take you to accomplish each task. Be realistic about this estimate. Then, try to complete each task within the confines of each time limit. This will make you less likely to slack off or text your friend for an hour instead of actually getting anything done.[2]
    Stay Focused Step 3 Version 13.jpg
    • You can break up more time-consuming tasks with shorter, easier tasks. That way you won't be overwhelming by too many tough tasks in a row. You can think of the shorter tasks as a mini-reward.
    • For example, you could write: “Make coffee: 5 minutes. Answer emails: 15 minutes. Staff meeting: 1 hour. Type meeting notes: 30 minutes. Edit reports: 2 hours.”
  4. Make time for breaks during the day. Though it may sound counter-intuitive to plug relaxation into your daily schedule, this form of organization will actually help you stay focused. You should take at least a 5-10 minute break for every hour of work, or a 3-5 minute break for every half hour of work. This will help you get more motivated to finish the task, give you a break to rest your eyes, and will give you some time to transition your mind to the next task ahead.[3]
    Stay Focused Step 4 Version 14.jpg
    • You can even set a timer to go off after every half hour or hour of work, signaling that you should take a break. If you're really “in the zone” you can skip one of the breaks, but don't make it a habit.
    • If you have a smartphone, you can also use an app like Pomodoro to schedule your workday with built-in breaks.
  5. Take breaks in a place where you won't be distracted. The break won't help relax your mind if you're still checking work emails, for example. So, get up during some of your breaks. Look out the window, take a short walk outside, or just walk up five flights of stairs to get your blood pumping. These short breaks will make you more invigorated to return to work.[4]
    Stay Focused Step 5 Version 13.jpg
    • For example, you can set a goal to read for thirty minutes over the course of three hours. Taking a break to rest your eyes from the screen and finish the chapter of a book will make you more motivated to finish your tasks.

[Edit]Improving Your Focus

  1. Improve your focus stamina. Though you may think that you'll always be easily distracted, anyone can improve his or her focus with a little motivation. All you have to do is pick a given task, and give yourself 30 minutes to work on only that task without any distractions—without even getting up. Keep going and see how long you can build up your focus stamina.[5]
    Stay Focused Step 6 Version 13.jpg
    • After a couple weeks, once you've become adept at focusing for 30 minutes, see if you can extend that focus time by 5, or even by 10 minutes.
    • Though you should take a break at least every hour, learning to focus for longer will make it easier for you to complete the tasks ahead and to focus for even a shorter period of time.
  2. Don't procrastinate on tasks that you need to complete. Avoid delaying any of your activities by leaving things to be done for tomorrow, next week, or next month. Rather, have them done now and move on to the next project.[6]
    Stay Focused Step 7 Version 13.jpg
    • For example, if you know you need to call a particularly difficult client this week, don't put it off until Friday afternoon. Make the call on Monday or Tuesday morning, and it won't be hanging over your head for the rest of the week.
    • Regularly giving in to procrastination will ruin your focus and severely decrease your productivity.
  3. Multi-task less to enhance your focus. Many people incorrectly think that multi-tasking is great because it allows you to accomplish a variety of tasks at once. To the contrary, multi-tasking actually confuses your brain and slows you down, keeping you from being fully engaged in any one task. Every time you switch back and forth between two tasks, you'll have to slightly reset your mind, which will slow you down.[7]
    Stay Focused Step 8 Version 13.jpg
    • This is where the to-do list comes in handy: it will make you more motivated to finish your tasks one at a time.
  4. Avoid online distractions. Distractions are the enemies of focus and make concentration all but impossible. If you want to be able to focus fully, then you have to know how to avoid a variety of distractions. There are several types of distractions you'll need to train yourself to avoid.[8]
    Stay Focused Step 9 Version 13.jpg
    • To avoid online distractions, aim to have as few Internet tabs open as possible. The more tabs you have open, the more you'll be multi-tasking and the more likely you'll be to get distracted. Give yourself five minutes every 2 hours to check your email, Facebook, or any other social networking sites that you can't live without. Then, stay off the sites until the next 2 hours have passed.
  5. Avoid physical distractions. Whether you're working in an office, a library, or at your own home, try not to get distracted by other people. Don't let others throw you off task, whether they're people in your study group, your colleagues, or a friend who is always asking for favors. Put the personal stuff off until after you get your work done, and you'll get your work done faster and will be able to enjoy personal engagements more.[9]
    Stay Focused Step 10 Version 11.jpg
    • Also don't get distracted by your surroundings. If you're in a loud environment, listen to calming music or invest in some noise-cancelling headphones. Though you may be tempted to look around and see what everyone else is up to, allow yourself to only look up every 10 minutes or so to stay focused.
    • Work in a productive environment like a coffee shop or library. Seeing others being productive can help you focus on your own productivity.[10]
    • Listen to classical music or nature sounds through headphones to help improve your focus. Avoid music with lyrics since they may be distracting.[11]
  6. Take a few deep breaths to settle your mind and help you focus. If you feel stressed, irritable, or over-stimulated while working, sit back and shut your eyes. Take 3 to 5 deep, full breaths. The increase in oxygen will stimulate your brain, making it easier to focus on whatever task is in front of you.[12]
    Stay Focused Step 11 Version 10.jpg
    • If you have time, you can turn the 3 to 5 breaths into a longer breathing session. Over your lunch break, for example, sit or lay down and focus on deep breathing for 15 minutes.
    • Accept the task that you need to get done. Resisting a task will make it more difficult.[13]
  7. Chew a piece of gum. Studies have shown that chewing a piece of gum can temporarily increase your focus. Chewing gum increases the amount of oxygen that your brain receives, which in turn helps you focus.[14]
    Stay Focused Step 12 Version 10.jpg
    • If you don't like gum, try eating a healthy snack, which can have the same effect as gum. Eat a handful of nuts or a few carrot sticks.
  8. Avoid too much caffeine. Though one cup of coffee or one cup of tea a day can help you feel a bit more energized and ready to start your work day, if you have too much caffeine, it can make you too hyped up to focus, or even jittery or shaky after a few hours. Resist the urge to pour yourself a full cup of coffee each time you need help focusing.[15]
    Stay Focused Step 13 Version 10.jpg
    • It's better to stay hydrated and drink just one cup of tea a day than to fill your system with so much caffeine that you feel too jumpy to get anything done.
  9. Look at a faraway object for 20 seconds. Most of us work on a computer or at a desk, and typically look at objects from a distance of . This can strain your eyes, causing some discomfort and reducing your focus. So, give your eyes a break by looking at a faraway object for a few seconds. Your eyes—and your mindset—should be able to focus better when you return to your computer screen.[16]
    Stay Focused Step 14 Version 9.jpg
    • Try following the 20-20-20 rule: each time 20 minutes passes, devote 20 seconds to looking at something that's about away.

[Edit]Staying Motivated when Trying to Focus

  1. Remind yourself of what you're working towards. Having a goal in mind will give you motivation to finish your work, and you'll be more successful at staying focused.[17] Part of the reason we lose focus is because we can't see the point of whatever task we have to get done and would rather be doing something else.
    Stay Focused Step 15 Version 9.jpg
    • For example, if you're studying, remind yourself why it's important. It may not be important for you to ace 1 quiz or test, but it is important for you to succeed in the course that will factor in your quiz or test grade, and it is important for you to get good grades so you can graduate.
    • Or, if you're doing work, remind yourself why your work is important. If the work is a means to an end, remind yourself of all the things you can buy because of the work, or about all of the fun things you can do once your work day is over.
  2. Pinpoint a specific goal you can work towards. It's easy to get bogged down in a distracting series of small tasks if you're not working towards a single, large goal. When you have a goal to work towards, it can be the carrot at the end of the stick that makes the task worth doing.[18]
    Stay Focused Step 16 Version 9.jpg
    • So, what is your goal for completing your task? Is it to simply get done with the work or school day, to save up enough money to buy a boat, or to advance your career?
    • For example, your goal could also be just to clean your whole house so you can throw a fun party, or to run for 40 minutes without giving up so you can be in better shape.
  3. Repeat or write down a “focus mantra.” When you know exactly what your purpose and goal are, you can create a focus mantra that you repeat to yourself whenever you get distracted. It can be just a simple phrase that you repeat when you're getting sidetracked that helps get you back in order. If repeating this out loud would be make you feel awkward, try writing your mantra down on a sticky note and sticking it on your desk.
    Stay Focused Step 17 Version 9.jpg
    • Your mantra could be something like, “No more Facebook and no more texting until I get my work done. When I get my work done, I'll be ready to ace the chemistry test, and when I ace the chemistry test, I'll get an A in the class!”

[Edit]Expert Advice

Follow these tips for staying focused at work:

  • Keep a time tracking log. Every half hour, stop and make a record of what you did. At the end of the week, look at your time log and determine how much of your time is spent where you need it. You might see that you spend too much time surfing the internet. Make changes from there.
  • Do what you're good at. You're more likely to stay focused when you're working on something you're good at and enjoy doing. Then, if you can, delegate the tasks you're not good at to someone else. Usually, the stuff you're not good at is the tasks you struggle to focus on.
  • Download time management apps. There are a lot of different apps to help you stay focused. Try apps that block the internet so that you're not tempted to surf the web, and you're not distracted by incoming emails. You can also find a lot more focusing tips throughout the internet.
  • Find the best environment for you. Some people need total silence while others work better with soft music in the background. Use trial and error to find the best environment to keep you focused.


  • If you find yourself losing focus often, and if you feel like you waste time during the day, try using a time log. Create a time log to see and understand how you spend your time.
  • If you're discouraged about the number of tasks you don't complete during the day, try making a track record of tasks you have done and tasks you have failed to do. Try to increase the number of successful tasks. This will motivate you to stay focused on the tasks at hand more than other things that may distract you.
  • If you're looking to step up your to-do lists, try separating your to-do list into three lists: things to do that day, things to do the next day, and things to do that week. If you finish the tasks for that day but have some time left over, you can move on to the next set of tasks.
  • Do what you can to sleep and eat at the proper times. Avoid studying too late at night.

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary

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How to Make Au Gratin Potatoes

If you enjoy scalloped potatoes but want a rich cheesy topping, make au gratin potatoes. Layers of thinly sliced potatoes cooked in a baking dish or slow cooker with heavy cream or a rich cheese sauce over them, sprinkled with cheese until the potatoes are tender and the topping is bubbly. For a sophisticated flavor, you can also sauté sliced fennel with onion to layer in between the potatoes. Top the gratin with Gruyère cheese and cook it until the cheese is browned. The instructions tell you exactly how to make this delicious side dish or light meal.


[Edit]Au Gratin Potatoes with Gruyère

  • 2½ pounds (1.1 kg) yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter
  • 1½ cups (355 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoons (0.5 g) freshly grated nutmeg
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 ounces (85 g) Gruyère cheese, shredded

Makes 6 servings

[Edit]Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

  • 5 to 6 potatoes
  • ½ cup (75 g) onion, minced
  • 3 tablespoons (42 g) butter
  • 3 tablespoons (24 g) flour
  • 2 cups (475 ml) milk
  • 4 ounces (115 g) smoked gouda, shredded
  • 4 ounces (115 g) sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons (15 g) parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 4 to 6 servings

[Edit]Potato-Fennel Gratin

  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the dish
  • 4 Russet potatoes
  • 2 cups (475 ml) plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy cream, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups (270 g) grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) kosher salt

Makes 10 servings


[Edit]Au Gratin Potatoes with Gruyère

  1. Preheat the oven to and grease a baking dish. Get out a 9 x 12-inch (22 x 30-cm) baking dish and rub 1 tablespoon of butter over the bottom and insides to prevent the potatoes from sticking. Set the dish aside while you prepare the potatoes.[1]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 1 Version 7.jpg
  2. Peel and soak the potatoes. Rinse 2½ pounds (1.1 kg) of yukon gold potatoes and peel the skins. Discard the potato peels and place the peeled potatoes into a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water and let the potatoes soak while you make the cream sauce.[2]

    • Soaking the potatoes will prevent them from becoming discolored as they sit.
  3. Heat the cream, milk, nutmeg, and salt. Pour 1½ cups (355 ml) of heavy cream into a saucepan along with 1 cup (240 ml) of whole milk, ¼ teaspoons (0.5 g) of freshly grated nutmeg, 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 g) of salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste. Turn the burner to medium and stir the liquid occasionally until it starts to bubble around the edges. Turn off the burner.[3]

  4. Slice the potatoes -thick. Lift the soaked potatoes out of the bowl of water and set them on a cutting board. Use a mandolin or a knife to slice each potato into -thick slices. Pour the water out of the bowl and wipe it dry with a kitchen towel. Pat the potato slices dry and place them into the bowl.[4]

  5. Mix the potato slices with the cream mixture. Once you've sliced all of the potatoes and put them in the bowl, slowly pour the warm cream mixture over the slices. Use your hands or a spoon to toss the potatoes in the mixture so they're completely coated.[5]

  6. Transfer the potato mixture to the dish and sprinkle the cheese on top. Use the spoon to push the potato slices down. This way the cream should cover most of the potato slices. Scatter 3 ounces (85 g) of shredded Gruyère cheese evenly over the top of the potatoes.[6]

  7. Bake the au gratin potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Place the baking dish in the center rack of the preheated oven. Set a baking sheet on the rack that's underneath it to catch any drips. Bake the potatoes until they're soft when you insert and remove a fork. The cream mixture should bubble and the cheese will brown once it's finished cooking.[7]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 7 Version 7.jpg
    • If the potatoes are still firm, cook them for 15 minutes and check them again.
  8. Serve the au gratin potatoes. Turn off the oven and let the au gratin potatoes sit for 5 to 10 minutes before you serve them. This will make it easier to handle them and the liquid will thicken a little as it cools. Serve the au gratin potatoes with sliced ham, greens, or roasted vegetables.[8]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 8 Version 7.jpg
    • Store the leftover au gratin potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

[Edit]Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

  1. Grease the slow cooker. Spray the bottom and inside walls of a slow cooker with cooking spray. If you don't have cooking spray, you can rub butter to grease the slow cooker. This will prevent the potatoes from sticking.[9]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 9 Version 7.jpg
    • You'll need to use a slow cooker that's at least 4-quarts (3.8 liters) in size.
  2. Peel and slice the potatoes. Rinse 5 to 6 potatoes and use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel. Use a sharp knife to slice the potatoes into slices.[10]

  3. Layer the potato slices with minced onion. Spread a layer of potato slices in the bottom of the slow cooker and sprinkle about 1/4 cup (37 g) of minced onions over it. Sprinkle salt and pepper according to your taste over the layer. Spread the rest of the potato slices evenly in the slow cooker and top them with the remaining 1/4 cup (37 g) of minced onions.[11]

  4. Cook the butter with the flour to make a roux. Place 3 tablespoons (42 g) of butter into a saucepan and turn the heat to medium. Once the butter melts, stir in 3 tablespoons (24 g) of flour and cook it for 1 minute. Stir the roux constantly so it thickens and becomes pale.[12]

  5. Whisk in the milk and cook the sauce for 3 to 5 minutes. Keep the heat on medium and slowly whisk in 2 cups (475 ml) of milk. Continue to whisk and cook the sauce until it thickens a little.[13]

    • Avoid boiling the sauce or it will curdle and burn on the bottom.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses. Use a spoon to stir in 4 ounces (115 g) of shredded smoked gouda, 4 ounces (115 g) of shredded sharp cheddar, and 3 tablespoons (15 g) of grated parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheeses are dissolved in the sauce.[14]

  7. Pour the cheese over the potatoes and turn the slow cooker on to HIGH. The cheese sauce should almost cover the potatoes. Put the lid on the slow cooker and turn it on to HIGH.[15]

  8. Cook the potatoes on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours then on LOW for 1 hour. Change the heat back to HIGH and cook the potatoes for 2 to 3 hours so they're completely soft. Turn the slow cooker to LOW and cook them for 1 more hour.[16]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 16 Version 6.jpg
    • The total cooking time will be 3 to 4 hours.
  9. Serve the slow cooker au gratin potatoes. Turn off the slow cooker and take the lid off. Serve the hot au gratin potatoes with roast beef, steamed vegetables, or rolls. Store the leftover potatoes in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.[17]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 17 Version 6.jpg

[Edit]Potato-Fennel Gratin

  1. Preheat the oven to and grease a baking dish. Get out a 10 x 15-inch (25 x 38-cm) baking dish and rub about 1 tablespoon (14 g) of butter over the inside. Greasing the baking dish will keep the potatoes from sticking.[18]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 18 Version 6.jpg
  2. Trim the fennel bulbs and slice them. Take 2 small fennel bulbs and cut off the stalks that poke out from the bulbs. Use a sharp knife to cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Use a paring knife to cut out and remove the hard cores from each bulb. Slice the fennel bulbs into thin slices.[19]

    • You should have about 4 cups (348 g) of sliced fennel.
  3. Sauté the fennel with the sliced onion for 15 minutes. Put 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil and 1 tablespoon (14 g) of unsalted butter into a saucepan and turn the burner on to medium-low. Stir in the sliced fennel and 1 thinly sliced yellow onion. Sauté the vegetables and stir them occasionally until they're soft and translucent.[20]

  4. Peel and slice 4 potatoes. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the Russets. Set them on a cutting board and cut them into slices. If you prefer, you can use a mandoline to evenly slice the potatoes. Transfer the potato slices to a large mixing bowl.[21]

  5. Toss the potato slices with cream, cheese, salt, and pepper. Pour 2 cups (475 ml) of the heavy cream over the potato slices and add 2 cups (216 g) of the grated Gruyère cheese. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon (5 g) of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) of freshly ground black pepper in the mixing bowl. Use a large spoon to toss the ingredients until they're combined.[22]

  6. Stir in the sautéed vegetables and transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Mix in the sautéed fennel and onion so it's combined with the seasoned potato slices. Scoop the mixture into the greased baking dish and push down on the potatoes so they're submerged in liquid.[23]

  7. Mix and scatter the rest of the cream and cheese over the potatoes. Pour the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of heavy cream into a small mixing bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (54 g) of grated Gruyère cheese and stir until they're combined. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the potatoes in the baking dish.[24]

  8. Bake the potato-fennel gratin for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The potatoes should become completely soft and the cheese on the top will melt and bubble. Insert a fork to see if the potatoes have cooked enough. If the potatoes are too firm, cook the gratin for another 15 minutes and check again.[25]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 25 Version 6.jpg
  9. Rest the gratin for 10 minutes and serve it. Turn off the oven and remove the baking dish from the oven. Let the potato-fennel gratin sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. This will help the cheese set and the sauce firm up before you dish it onto serving plates. Serve the gratin with roasts, glazed vegetables, or crusty rolls.[26]
    Make Au Gratin Potatoes Step 26 Version 6.jpg
    • Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.

[Edit]Things You'll Need

[Edit]Au Gratin Potatoes with Gruyère

  • 9 x 12-inch (22 x 30-cm) baking dish
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Saucepan
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Fork
  • Baking sheet

[Edit]Slow Cooker Au Gratin Potatoes

  • Slow cooker at least 4-quarts (3.8 liters) in size
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Saucepan
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Spoon
  • Whisk

[Edit]Potato-Fennel Gratin

  • 10 x 15-inch (25 x 38-cm) baking dish
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Paring knife
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mandoline, optional
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon


[Edit]Quick Summary

  1. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a13911/potato-gratin-recipe-mslo1210/
  2. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a13911/potato-gratin-recipe-mslo1210/
  3. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a13911/potato-gratin-recipe-mslo1210/
  4. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a13911/potato-gratin-recipe-mslo1210/
  5. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a13911/potato-gratin-recipe-mslo1210/
  6. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a13911/potato-gratin-recipe-mslo1210/
  7. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a13911/potato-gratin-recipe-mslo1210/
  8. http://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a13911/potato-gratin-recipe-mslo1210/
  9. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  10. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  11. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  12. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  13. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  14. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  15. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  16. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  17. http://www.foodguyadventures.com/recipes/slow-cooked-au-gratin-potatoes
  18. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177
  19. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177
  20. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177
  21. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177
  22. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177
  23. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177
  24. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177
  25. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177
  26. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/potato-fennel-gratin-recipe-1916177

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