1. Playing Monopoly
Monopoly starts out pretty fun. By the third or fourth hour, though, not even Boardwalk can elicit a thrill.
That's because you're playing it wrong. Every time a player lands on an unowned property and chooses not to buy it, the banker is supposed to start a bidding war between all the other players. That shaves play time down considerably, and might even drain your opponents coffers enough for you to claim an early win.
2. Falling Asleep
When you can't sleep, odds are you lay there in bed, squeezing your eyes shut and trying to will yourself back off to slumberland. How often does that work?
Instead, you're better off getting up and doing some boring chore. Balance your checkbook or get started on those taxes. This will help to exhaust your mind, and when you return to bed, you'll find it much easier to drift off to sleep. Try it!
3. Charging Your Phone
Somewhere along the way, we all got the idea that you're supposed to let your phone discharge 100 percent before charging it up again. It's supposed to be better for the battery, we're told.
In fact, today's lithium-ion batteries don't suffer at all when you charge them at 50 percent power, or any other level of charge, for that matter. Go ahead and plug your phone in whenever it's convenient.
4. Making Spaghetti
So, you boil your pot of noodles. The next step is often to rinse the noodles in cold water to "stop the cooking process." That's actually the worst possible thing you can do to your bowl of spaghetti!
A good bowl of pasta needs a nice starch coating to make the sauce really stick. When you boil your noodles, that's exactly what you get. If you rinse them before adding sauce, though, you're washing off starch that can improve your dish.
People of a certain age (ahem) were taught to always cover their mouths when they cough. That's still a good policy, but you shouldn't use your hand, as some of us learned in elementary school.
Think about it: Coughing into your hand will just transfer germs there, where you're way more likely to share them. Instead, cough into your inner elbow. You'll contain the spray without contaminating your hands.
6. Tying Your Shoes
Are your running shoes always coming untied in the middle of the race? That's because you're tying them all wrong. Most of us don't pay attention to the way we cross our loops when we're tying our shoes.
So, start with a loop. Pull the other lace into a second loop. Then be sure to cross the second loop under the first one before pulling the knot tight. That will keep your bow nicely horizontal, where it has a better hold.
7. Washing Your Hair
Using shampoo dries out your scalp, which prompts your body to create more oils. This can lead to hair that feels oily—or hair that dries out and breaks easily.
Most people don't need to wash their hair more than once or twice per week, but you might not need any shampoo at all. In one study, participants who ditched shampoo entirely reported the best results after several weeks.
8. Using Nail Clippers
First of all, don't trim the corners; that can lead to ingrown nails. Most clippers now come with files, which can eliminate sharp edges safely. Don't cut the nails too short, as this can lead to inflammation and pain around your cuticle.
If you share your nail clippers with other people in your household, be sure to sterilize them between uses. Nail clippers can transmit fungus, but a quick dip in some rubbing alcohol will eliminate the threat.
9. Holding the Steering Wheel
Most driving experts recommend the "10 and 2" position. In other words, if your steering wheel was a clock, your hands would point to 10:00 and 2:00. This allows you to move the wheel suddenly without jerking it and losing control of the vehicle.
But the position can also damage your arms during an accident. When your airbag deploys, it could break both of your arms if you're at 10 and 2. Most experts now recommend positioning your hands at 8 and 4.
10. Making Scrambled Eggs
Here's the key: Scrambled eggs need low heat.
First, mix up the eggs in a bowl, not in the pan. Put a pat of butter into the pan and let it melt on low heat. Add the eggs, but only cook on high heat for about 10 seconds, then turn down the heat source to low for another 10 minutes, constantly moving the eggs around the pan. When they get a creamy texture, turn off the heat and add a touch of creme fraiche or milk.
Don't season the eggs until you're finished cooking. Otherwise, the proteins will break down prematurely, ruining the texture.
11. Using Q-Tips
They're for clearing earwax out of your ears. Simple, right?
Well, no, not exactly. Your ear actually needs earwax—that's why it creates the stuff. Earwax (also called cerumen) cleans, lubricates, and protects against infection. By removing the stuff from your inner ear, you could be putting your health at risk, and cotton swabs aren't designed for that purpose, anyway.
However, you don't need much earwax on the outer portion of your ear. To properly use a cotton swab, simply clean the outside; never put the swab into your inner ear canal.
12. Trying To Lose Weight
First of all, you shouldn't really concentrate on the actual numbers, as studies show that obsessing over weight can actually cause you to add a few pounds. However, if you insist on paying attention to the scale, look for slow change.
If you're losing more than 1-2 pounds per week, the weight probably won't stay off, and you could be forcing your body into starvation mode. When you resume a healthy diet, your body will store more calories as fat to prepare for the next period of "starvation."
13. Using Bobby Pins
We're about to blow your mind: the curvy part of the bobby pin isn't the top. The smooth side is supposed to be the top; the ridged side should face in.
This is because the ridged area provides the best grip, so it's more effective for keeping your hair in order. Plus, the smooth side looks better, right? You'd want that part pointing out.
14. Plunging the Toilet
Quick, picture a toilet plunger. Did you just picture a stick with a rubber red cup?
That's not a toilet plunger. That's a sink plunger; toilet plungers are typically black, and they've got a bell-like underside that's designed to properly adhere to the hole in your toilet. By creating a better seal, they're more effective at forcing down air and clearing the clog.
The cup-style plunger works great for sinks and bathtubs, however, so keep it around. Just don't keep it anywhere near the toilet.
Oh, and here's the most important piece of advice: buy both types of plungers before you need them.
15. Listening to Music to Fall Asleep
While music affects everyone differently, falling asleep to music is generally a bad idea, as it can prevent your mind from reaching deep, restorative sleep.
However, there's a simple solution: Use a music player with a sleep timer. The music will help you drift off, but it won't disturb your slumber.