Unsorted life hacks

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Got a cool trick to share? Until we work out a good home, let's use this page to collect our favorite little life hacks. Reorganize as needed, and I guess eventually we'll come up with a better way to organize and categorize everything. --Merlin 11:37, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)

Starting to be organised? Check out Category:Life hacks for your favourite life hack genre!

Contents

[edit] Hacks from 43 Folders

If it's not urgent (and if it *were* urgent, I should make a phone call, right ?), I leave *all* my email sitting there overnight. I'm always amazed at the number of typos I catch the next day just before I send them out. ... Or am I just rationalizing procrastination ?

  • Document Your Haircut - Just got a haircut you like? Ask the operator to describe it in his/her own words, and then take a photo

[edit] Links to hacks from elsewhere

  • Ian's Shoelace Site - Thought you learned to tie your shoes already?
  • Hints from Heloise - "the high priestess of household hints" Before they were hip, 3x5's were used in universities for gathering research data. Before Merlin's 43Folders, Heloise and her Mom were the original Goddesses of the domestic hack. Stay here if you want to use your Moleskine effectively. Go to Heloise to get your stinky watch band smelling clean... --Instigase
  • Lifehack.Community - Community of lifehacks: Contribute your own news and articles on lifehacks and let your voice be heard. Posts are moderated by readers.
  • http://www.technorati.com/tag/lifehack
  • organizedhome.com readers tips - Lots of good ideas for all areas of the home - by Fraser
  • http://www.lifehack.org - Some hacks and tips in blogs
  • eHow has instructions on how to do most anything, with tips contributed and rated by users following each entry.
  • WikiHow is an offshoot of eHow in wiki
  • Frugal living at About has an incredible range of tips for using stuff to do other stuff and save money... I especially like the vinegar tips.
  • Frugality Group at Flickr -- Community of money- and time-saving hacks/tips: discussions and photos.

[edit] Hacks from readers

[edit] Living better

  • Cardiovascular exercise--- running, biking, jumping-jacks, anything that gets your heart rate way up and keeps it there for at least twenty minutes--- is a life hack that people who don't exercise usually don't like to hear about. But a good cardio routine is as, or more, important for your mental health as for your physical. You won't lose any weight by running, for instance, unless 45 minutes= 1 Big Mac sounds like good math to you. I'd just skip the Big Mac. (I'd like to note that exercise does help you lose weight, not just the calories burned during exercise, but due to changing your fat/muscle ratio - the more muscle, the more calories you burn even while not exercising. See Losing weight with exercise from MedLine - SLA, March 24, 05) But a cardio workout will improve your mood and your focus, and it will help you go to sleep and wake up at regular times with no difficulty. Plus, there's nothing like a huge rush of beta endorphins in the morning!Yesno
  • Student Loan Consolidation
  • TV junkie? why not rewire your brain to jump up and exercise, every time the show you're watching is interrupted by commercials... hafif
  • TV junkie? Read the listings before you turn the television on.
  • Try to avoid keeping your cigarettes and lighter or matches in a pocket that your hand may rest in. If your hands are in your jacket pockets and there's a lighter in there, there's a subconscious signal/reminder/cue to your lizard brain: "Hmm, maybe I want a cigarette." On the other hand, if you keep your smokes & paraphernalia in your breast pocket or bag, there'll be fewer inadvertent triggers.
  • Fight Dehydration Before leaving the house to meet your buddies and their pool of beer, put a bottle of water next to your bed. Before falling asleep late at night, drink as much water as you can. This way you will have a great evening and a great awakening in the morning. Ready to do whatever you might want to do.
    • Someone told me once that the American Indians used to do this to wake up early in the morning. That is, drink as much water as possible the night before. Then, when you have to go, you'll wake up. dd (19 July 2005)
  • Sleep Better Blanket stealers; I'm one of them and so is my wife. The solution is that we each have our own blankets and/or sheets. You can choose to let your partner in to cuddle/steal heat, but if you wake up in the middle of the night with no blanket you just steal back your blanket. She brings her own when we go on trips and I just use the hotel's. This works amazingly well and we've been doing this for years. -- snert 2005.05.12 18:02:49 UTC
  • Worry Free Naps If you want to take a nap but are worried you might set the alarm clock wrong then try using a kitchen timer. This also works for short naps in your car, office or at the airport and as a "longer than 5 minute" snooze button. Just make sure it's loud enough to wake you.


  • God's Life Hack Since my office is in my apartment, I'm easily distracted, especially since I think, "Well, if I don't get it done today, I'll do it over the weekend." So I made it a rule that I can't work on the Sabbath -- in my case, Sunday. It keeps me concentrated during the week -- especially Friday -- and it's very relaxing on Sunday to know that not only am I not working, I am not even allowed to think about working. It's a commandment! Your Sabbath can be Saturday, or even Tuesday. --Gretta 00:44, 4 November 2005 (EST)
    • I do this too, but with a full weekend. The major motivation for me was that I get way more done when I only work 5 days a week. (Five chipper, motivated days instead of 6 or 7 zombie days.) --Ookpik 15:11, 4 November 2005 (EST)
  • Heal yourself by sleeping Sleep can be a very active means of helping yourself. It is one of the secrets very few people know. Most of us sleep in such a manner that we don't wake up refreshed or are hardly rested at all. This is an entire science to learn. Sleep is a school where we can learn ourselves. It teaches as it soothes.

Sleep is a curative agency. It soothes your physical organs. It has the ability to soothe your emotions. It can touch your soul.

Usually most of our sleeping hours are wasted. To sleep well one must learn how to sleep.

The following is an excerpt of a book "Living within" edited by AS Dalal which is a selection from the works of "Sri Aurobindo and the Mother".

It is better not to go to sleep when you are tired. If one is tired, one must stretch out on the bed, relax, loosen all the nerves one after another until one becomes a rumpled cloth in one's bed, as though one had neither bones nor muscle. When one has done that, the same thing must be done in the mind. Relax, do not concentrate on any idea or try to solve a problem or ruminate on impressions, sensations or emotions you had during the day. All that must be allowed to drop off quietly: one gives oneself up, one is indeed like a rag. When you have succeeded in doing this, there is always a little flame, that flame never goes out and you become conscious of it when you have managed this relaxation. This little flame rises slowly into an aspiration for the divine life, the truth, the union with the inner being. I guarantee that if you do this carefully, you are sure to sleep, and when when you get up in the morning you will be fresh, fit, content, happy and full of energy for the day."

Ranjan http://pysocks.blogspot.com

[edit] Around the house/apartment/dorm

  • My dorm room in college had a really oddly-shaped living room, with no light but a tiny fluorescent wall sconce at the entrance of the room. Lamps didn't seem to carry light very well either, since there were odd corners in the room. One thing I discovered that worked pretty well was hanging icicle Christmas lights (white light, of course) around the perimeter of the room. Not a very bright light, but enough to be comfortable and visible, and it diffuses about the entire room. Also works well if you place them near windows, since at night the light is reflected back in. -- Skadus, 03-24-2005 10:45 CST
  • Want to stop biting your nails? Buy a bunch of (say 10) nail files and keep them within arms reach in every place you regularly spend time, like your desk, the couch etc.
    • I'll vouch that this totally works, though in my case, I bought two or three nail clippers and kept them near me. --Robcourtney 21:29, 16 Apr 2005 (EDT)
      • Another trick, if you are a chronic nailbiter and not just one of opportunity, is black nail polish. It can only really be pulled off if you are a girl (or gothy), but it's worked for me a bunch of times. Basically, paint your nails black. The first time that you chew them after you've painted them you'll end up with a ton of black crud stuck between your teeth. After getting over the major embarrassment of walking around looking like you never brush your teeth, the black nails become a visual cue not to bite. Works better than the foul tasting stuff, and might make you look cool (ok, to 16 year old punks) in the process. --bibliogrrl 29 Apr 2005
      • Try this: wear a loose fitting rubber band around your wrist. When you catch yourself biting your nails, pull the rubber band and "snap" yourself. I did this when I was ~15 years old, and stopped biting my nails in about a week. It really helps if you absent-mindedly chew on the nails, and not just because you are too lazy to file them. --Sysadmn 28 Jul 2006
  • Flies Don't do it because it's "humane", do it because it works. Catch flies with a cup and a piece of paper. When the fly lands, slowly approach it with the cup. The last half-inch or so, you can slam it down, but before then move slowly enough so the fly won't feel the rush of air that triggers it to fly away. Then slide the paper under the cup and take the fly outside. If you perfect this method, you can catch flies in a few minutes, rather than swatting at them unsuccessfully for hours. Don't try to be faster than the fly, be smarter! --Merkuri 8:06, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • If you don't mind killing the fly and washing your hands, you can effectively catch flies 90% of the time by clapping your hands about an inch over their heads after they've settled. The motion of your hands scares the fly into launching itself directly into the path of your hands coming together. --Cwenham 11:32, 31 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Paper Cuts Solution Keep a small tube of Anbesol Gel (oral anesthetic) on your desk. If you get a painful paper cut or hangnail that keeps distracting you from your projects, put a dab of Anbesol Gel on it and wrap it with a bandaid (the bandaid keeps the gel from wiping off). Within 2 minutes, the annoying pain will be gone and you can get back to work distraction free. -- User:MicheleF 2:30 p.m., 29 Apr 2005 (PST)
  • If you need a doorstop in a jiffy but can't afford to block the entryway with a heavy object (such as when you're moving furniture), take a wire clothes hanger and fold it in half vertically so the two shoulders meet. Shove this under the door. --Merkuri 19:08, 30 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Whose turn is it? If you're sick of arguing with your sibling/flatmate/children over whose turn it is to do a particular chore, create a chore-card (just a card with the name of the chore on it). The rules are: Whoever is in possession of the card does the chore; when they finish the chore, they give it away to whoever's turn it is next; if they forget to give it away, and there's no consensus that it's not their turn, then hard luck and they won't forget to give it away next time!
  • Paper Recycling When sorting out a big stack of various papers to recycle, quickly tear the ones you want to throw out halfway, or do something destructive to them so they stand out. This will keep you from accidentally picking them back up instead of throwing them away. I use this trick to make sure I don't mistakenly turn in draft versions of assignments - User:ChrisMetcalf
  • Tearing things is also a great visual, tactile, and mental hack to do when you're "done" with something. Got a big stack of HPDA cards to process? After you're done with each one, tear it. It feels good... try it! - User:ChrisMetcalf
  • Drowning in a sea of expired coupons? Put your clippings in a regular Zip-Lock bag along with a magnet, and place it at eye level on your refrigerator door. Store anything that catches your eye, and sort as needed. They'll always be where you need them, and when it's time to go shopping you can just take your new coupon-keeper along with you. --sortabella
  • Put on some Pants [1]
  • Got cats? Hate it that they scratch your furniture? Me too. But my living room is crowded, and a scratching post takes up a disproportionately large amount of floor. Solution: buy some sisal rope at Home Depot or wherever, and wrap it tightly around the leg of a chair, table, barstool, or whatever. Very scratchable, replaceable, and cheap! And you don't have to declaw poor kitty either.--David Ham
    • I've heard that filled balloons work well too. The first time kitty pops one, he won't scratch that area again. Never tried it though. --PSzalapski 10:03, 4 April 2006 (EDT)
  • Moving Made Easier Moving sucks no matter how exciting your new place is. 1. I print up Avery labels: everyone gets a sheet of name labels in a specific color, and then I do a sheet of the name of the room in black. Fast, legible, and easy for movers to know what goes where. 2. Movers have free online quotes now. In-town, it winds up being $50-100 more than the whole rent a U-Haul, buy pizza and beer to coerce friends thing--and you didn't have to get that sectional and big screen TV up to your new third floor apartment. Plus, if they break something, they have to pay for it. --Rascoagogo 15:37, 23 October 2006 (EDT)

[edit] Funny, but useful

  • Nelson Algren: "Never sleep with a woman whose problems are worse than your own." Or a man, either.
  • Rule #3, never answer a question with a question. -JWS 24 Mar 05
    • I would disagree. If I'm asked an inspecific question, I'll need clarification; I can avoid phrasing it as a question, but it would still *be* a question. -- [temujin9]
    • I disagree too. If you want to stop someone from being too nosy, try this: Them: "How much do you make?" You: "Why do you ask?" They usually get the hint! --JohnGraham 17:33, 29 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • What made you come to that conclusion?  :) I disagree as well--it is sometimes important to clarify what the asker means; questions also improve communication in general. It is also very beneficial when there is a persuasive discussion happening -- see the "Columbo tactic". --PSzalapski 10:18, 4 April 2006 (EDT)
  • Messy house? Always keep several get well cards on the mantel..... so if unexpected guests arrive, they will think you've been sick and unable to clean.

[edit] Objects and products

  • Do you have friends that work in the medical field--in almost any capacity? Ask them to get you a big wad of free Post-It notes and a fistful of free pens from the drug reps. They hand out swag like candy. GH 24 Mar 05 (Ditto Allegra, Viagra, and a million other heavily-marketed drugs! --pnoeric 21:53, 26 Mar 2005 (EST))
  • Buy a big box of binder clips in various sizes. The big ones are especially handy for clipping objects together. Clip your mail to your keys, your tickets to your luggage, or a reminder to your bathroom mirror. Its like how teachers used to pin notes to you to make sure they made it home. You can't forget it if its attached to you. - CM 24 Mar 05
  • LED headlamps make great book lights for reading in bed. Get one that has multiple brightness settings so you can keep the light low while your partner is trying to sleep. --TomSackett 12:48, 25 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • LightWedge: the LightWedge is like having a clear, lit, piece of paper that you can see your book through. It's ingenious and probably easier to use and less obtrusive for both the reader and their companion. The ones I've seen have two settings and take four AA batteries I think. - dd (19 July 2005)
  • Cigarette lighters - prevent the schwagging of your lighters:
    1. Never bring the Zippo with you to anyplace public. Especially if you will be drinking alcohol or partaking of any other intoxicating substances at any point. Break this rule, and it WILL disappear.
    2. When in public, keep a stash of no less than two cheap Bic lighters on you. If you are in a social situation - especially one involving drinking - someone will inevitably ask to borrow your lighter. Bics are cheap and easy to replace when that friend mindlessly pockets the lighter and walks away.
    3. Have a cheap Bic you use all the time in social situations, and don't want to lose it? Wrap a piece of medical tape around it and write your name on the tape. This is how they keep tabs on patients' lighters in psychiatric wards.
    4. Want to REALLY make sure nobody wants to steal your cheap lighter? First, paint the exterior in the loudest, girly-est color of nail polish you can find (if you need help with this, ask a 15 year old girl). Then, get some holographic stickers, but make sure they are very girly and insipid - this is one time when you do NOT want anything cool or funky. Liberally sprinkle said holographic stickers on lighter. Finally, paint over the stickers with clear nail polish to make sure they aren't likely to peel off. Be sure all nail polish is dry before using the lighter to light anything again. Your lighter may look silly after this, but it's a safe bet the only person who will schwag it will be that 15 year old girl... nobody else will mistake it as theirs, and nobody will want anyone else to, either!

--TresWife 02:50, 28 Mar 2005 (EST)

  • Cigarettes - If you smoke infrequently, or buy them by the carton, keep them in the freezer to maintain freshness. --TresWife 02:53, 28 Mar 2005 (EST)


  • Wall Warts - I got about a hundred of these and have, on occasion, plugged the wrong one into a very expensive piece of gear and rendered it a very expensive piece of cr@p. Here's what I do now - upon getting a new wall wart (you know, those charger thingies) I label it with what it is supposed to charge. producer
    • Wall warts, usually made of black plastic, can be labeled easily with a metallic silver Sharpie marker.Link" -- GH 28 Mar 05
    • Or, just scratch the label into the soft black plastic with your knife or a push-pin. As soon as I unpack a new wall-wart, I flip it over and scratch a description of what it powers. -- User:Wolfrick 09 Feb 06
    • All plugs benefit from labeling. Use markers on the the plugs: DVD, TV, VCR... --User:Chacal 22:34, 06 Apr 2005 (GMT)
      • The plastic tags from bread bags clip onto most cords and wires and can be easier to write on than the plugs themselves (esp. for small things like USB cables). --Ookpik 18:35, 13 Apr 2005 (EDT)
      • Grease pencils, aka china markers are my personal favorite. As an added perk, if you are a dork, you can use them during parties to label glasses and then people can find their cups. Amanda 16:55, 25 May 2005 (EDT)
      • Some plugs make it difficult to see which way it goes in. (especially ones that look round on the outside). Plug it in, then draw a line on the top of the plug, all the way to the socket, then up a bit. Consider using several different colors, so that when you have the plug with the red line on it, you know it goes into the hole with the red line above it.
  • Cable Ties: When you are finished with a toilet paper roll use it to hold a spare computer cable. It beats rubber bands or twist ties - although you may not win points for style! --KLB 8:07, 29 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • Try using a hair tie. They come in a variety of sizes, are cloth-covered, don't break like rubber-bands, and look nice. --toorffej
    • I used to use the wire ties that come with garbage bags and that tie some toys into their boxes. Now I use velcro straps. Most straps you get at the computer store are actually just lengths of fabric with a velcro end; look for the (cheaper!) versions at the well-stocked office store that wrap around a single cord and are nothing but velcro on both sides. These kind will not be lost (as they are linked around that single cord) and are easier to wrap. Also - watch out for the ones that come with some portable power supplies or other things - these tend to be two strips of velcro stuck back to back; they come undone after a length of time. Amazing how such a cheap thing can be made so poorly. dd 22 August 2005
    • Make a loose loop with a zip tie and clip the loose end off very close to the zipper-gadget. You have a reusable cable "tie". Get the black ones and they even look decent.
  • Tame your power cords Next time you use the iron, wind-up the cord in your hands and shove it in the handle space instead of wrapping it around the iron. It pulls right out the next time you use it and it's much faster than unwinding the cord from around the iron. In the same thought, don't single-wrap your cords around the hair dryer (or similar appliance). Double-up the cord, then wrap it around the hair dryer. It is much faster to unwind the next time you need it. --[[User::ericksonstudio|ericksonstudio]]
  • Spindle Anytime you finish a major task or project write it on a small piece of paper and stab it on a message spindle. Keep the message spindle on your desk as a reminder of what you are (or are not) getting done. The spindle will be helpful when drafting status reports or undergoing a performance review.
  • Earphones Left/Right I've got a pair of these in-ear earphone things and am contantly getting them in the wrong ears (left in right & right in left), so I've put a bit of insulation tape around one of the cords - giving me a tactile way of identifying the one for my right ear --[[User::chrisg67|Chris Goldsmith]] 11:43, 19 May 2005 (BST)
  • Flat Shoelaces[[2]] will hold a bow without being double-knotted. They're not considered fashionable, but if we can make a stack of index cards and a binder clip "hip", we can do the same for flat shoelaces, right? Round shoelaces [[3]] only look tidier if they're double-knotted and not a hazard hanging untied on your shoes.
    • Or, learn a good way to tie your shoelaces and be free to choose any shoelaces you like. There are at least three secure knots that can be untied with one tug. I use a surgeon's knot but Ian's secure shoelace knot looks even easier and tidier. --Ookpik 17:21, 25 May 2005 (EDT)
  • Address Labels that charities send you are great for labeling things you tend to lose. Someone once returned an umbrella to my house. At work people return my pens and my stapler and tape dispenser stay on my desk. --Scrim
    • They're also handy to carry in your planner or purse to use when you need to give your name and address - for example, on a new patient form or registration blank. On bad days you can stick them to your hand so you know who you are and where you live. --Chibo 23:03, 1 February 2007 (EST)
  • Make It Easy On Yourself I used to make fun of all those As-Seen-On-TV gadgets for "seniors". Called it "Geriatric Gear". Then my horse abruptly uninstalled me out of the saddle and I got to be the first in my class with two new vertebrae and a complete inability to bend over. I'm better now but I'm still using some of the "aids" - specifically, The Grabber, or "reaching aid". [4]. It rocks, whether you're able or not so able. The magnet on the end picks up those tiny computer screws that fly out of your hand; the pulley-operated lever picks up the medication that spewed out when you opened the childproof cap. With a little practice you can turn off lights with it, and get heavy items off the top shelf without braining yourself. It spares your back, lengthens your reach, allows you to remove lizards without skin contact and terrorize the cat. The Clapper's starting to look pretty good too. --Chibo 22:52, 1 February 2007 (EST)

[edit] Tricks with tools

  • Never waste time with sticky tape - every time you finish taking some Sellotape (Scotch tape) off the roll, instead of just letting the end stick back down, fold the last centimeter or so back in on itself. That way you'll never have to spend time repeatedly picking at the end of the tape just to get started. --Tristanr 05:22, 7 Apr 2005 (EDT)
    • This is known as a "courtesy tab" in the stagehand trade. Use a courtesy tab to make it easy to find the start of the tape on the roll, but also use a courtesy tab on whatever you tape-up, to make it easier to remove the tape if necessary. --User:Wolfrick 09 Feb 2006
    • An easier way to keep a 'tab' on the tape is to stick a paper clip under the end of the tape. Alecclews 02:11, 26 May 2006 (EDT)
    • I prefer to just put a kink in the end then stick it down again, so there's a little triangle sticking over the edge of the roll. Then you can pick it up quickly without having an un-sticky tab on the end. --EJ 07:32, 11 May 2007 (EDT)
  • Right-Hand Rule When assembling or taking apart something involving threaded parts (nuts/bolts/screws/pipes), remember that the standard direction of the threads is called "right hand" for a reason: Point the thumb of your right hand in the direction that you want the part that you're turning to move. Now turn the part in the direction that your fingers curl. This works better than "righty-tighty, lefty-loosey" for things that you're not directly looking at, or for confusing things like unions. Also, remember that the left-hand pedal (on bicycles) and some left-hand axle nuts (on cars) use left-hand threads. --frankus 11:19, 29 Apr 2005 (PST)
    • Unless I'm mistaken, the left-hand threads are used in things that rotate. The threads are always (I believe) counter-rotation. dd 22 August 2005
    • I read somewhere that written on the Jumbo Jet that used to transport the Shuttle about was the phrase: 'Attach Explorer here (black side down)' and someone had added the phrase 'Righty Tighty - Lefty Loosey' - Always a handy thing to remember with bottle tops nuts etc.


  • Fun with iPod socks - iPod socks don't just keep your tunes warm, they have other uses too. Clip one to the side of office trays with a binder clip for a handy pen holder. --sam
  • While on the subject of iPods... The outer box of the iPod packaging is just the right size for storing about 7 Pocket Moleskines. Perfect for the multiple Moleskine fiend who's run out of storage space! --sam
  • Keep Meetings Short and On Topic Write up an agenda. Make everyone in the meeting drink 16 oz of water as the meeting begins. Conduct the meeting with everyone standing up. Everyone will stay on topic, and when about 30-45 minutes is up, everyone will have to pee. --User:caterina
  • Gas Cap Loser? I was too. But now I always pay for gas with a debit card, and when the screen says "receipt yes or no?" I choose yes. This extra 10-15 seconds of waiting is my reminder that I need to use that time making sure the gas cap is put back. After a while it becomes habit, and you automatically look for the gas cap when you hear or see the receipt printer working. Djwalker 11:21, 10 May 2005 (EDT)
    • My Renault's gas cap needs the ignition key to be taken out. Furthermore, unless you relock the cap, you can't take the key out. There's no way I can possibly forget the gas cap, unless I release the handbrake and push the car home. This reminds me of another foolproof Remember-Me tip: if you need something and you're afraid you'll forget it, attach it (be creative) to something you can't forget, like your car keys. Chances are, you'll remember both the car and the item, not one or the other. --Coldphage 09:38, 1 March 2007 (EST)
  • Flashlight Necklace Get a small flashlight (I can highly recommend the Dorcy AAA model for a small, bright, $9 flashlight). Hang it on a necklace, pointing down. Now you can turn it on and have it light the path just ahead of you, a very useful thing in dangerous terrain. Plus, you'll always have a flashlight with you. Having a single tool on a necklace is much more pleasant to use than a flashlight on your keychain, and it looks cooler than a headlamp. -Deicidus 04:40, 4 September 2006 (EDT)

[edit] Productivity proper

  • Save your work If you've just spent a long brainstorming or planning session using a whiteboard, take a picture of the whiteboard with a digital camera and transfer it to your computer for later reference. --wharp 11:07, 13 May 2005 (CST)
  • Manage Internet Addiction Browse once, then close the window. If you need to keep the application window open, just close all active windows. --CBrachyrhinchos
  • Todo text file (I don't know where this would fit, so I stick it here to get it off my "Actions" list ^^) When programming, I use the editor (Idle, for Python, in this case) to open an extra file that's just a log / todo list. It's just an inverse chronological file, and items are prefixed with '@' todo, '+', done, 'x' cancelled, '?' open question, '.' just blabbing away or '!' important / requires attention / thinking. It works quite well, the '@' jump to the eye and I can use indentation to identify sub-tasks. Flammifer 13:28, 16 May 2005 (EDT)
  • That which is measured improves. So keep a log of anything you're trying to change. Clients contacted, minutes walked, floors swept, books read, hours accidentally lost to TV, whatever. I do this with billable hours per day to avoid procrastination. --Ookpik 16:16, 27 Jul 2005 (EDT)
    • This hack is recommended by none other than Benjamin Franklin! dd 22 August 2005
  • Feeling tired? Keep a spray bottle full of water on your desk. When you feel lethargic, simply spray your face. Benjaminong 08:51, 2 July 2006 (EDT)
  • Don't Leave Home Without It If I absolutely must not forget to take something when I leave, I put my keys with it. I have been even known to put my keys on top of some special lunch my wife has made me in the refrigerator. They are cold, but it is impossible to leave without my lunch. I'm at a friend's house and I set down my sunglasses? I put my keys with them. Conversely, if someone needs to borrow my keys at work (I am the keymaster) I hold their car keys so they can't forget and leave the office with my keys. --Fruitpie 15:58, 21 August 2006 (EDT) Better yet, my key ring is a double-ended snap hook [5]. If you really don't want to forget something, clip your keys to it. --Sysadmn 07:13, 22 August 2006 (EDT) -- I write a note on a small piece of paper and punch my car or bicycle key through the piece of paper so it stays with my keys. That way I know what I need to remember, it can be more than one item, and I can feel the note when I put my hand in my pocket.
  • Get to work on time, instead of looking for keys, pager, etc On a day when you have finally made it into work, go to the nearest photocopier, and remove all your required paraphernalia (security pass, pager, PDA, cell phone, keys, bus pass, etc.) from your pockets and person and lay them on the glass. Photocopy. Label the white spaces, each handily shaped like the crucial object. At home, find a place for this sheet - your dresser, a counter in the kitchen, or by the door. Before you go to bed, make sure everything is in its place. This sheet tells you in a second what you are missing as well as what you have found. This piece of paper can remove a lot of stress and panic from your mornings. --Geek 15:50, 26 February 2007 (EDT)

[edit] Out and about

  • Restroom Visit Protocol Always get a little bit of toilet paper and throw it in to the toilet before you sit down, especially in public restrooms. In which case you just made sure that there is enough paper and you'll not leave anything in the bowl which doesn't flush down. -- GideonKlok 14:34, 15 May 2005 (EDT)
    • Don't just throw it in, wipe the seat down to catch any stragglers!
    • If you have a bag or backpack, hook your foot around one of the shoulder-straps, to ensue theives cannot steal the bag from under the door or cubicle wall.
  • Ran out of change at the toll booth? Stick your head out the window and look down. Most people don't bother picking up the change they drop. --Vrocket
  • Hand Stamp Placement When you go to a nightclub or anywhere they inkstamp your hand or wrist for readmission, have them stamp the front of your hand. It will scrub off easily when you wash your hair next and if it doesn't, you're less likely to have an embarrassing mark at some business meeting. --Scrim 22:32, 16 Jul 2005 (EDT)
    • Be careful if you will actually need the stamp for readmission; a stamp on the palm of your hand is more likely to be washed off when you go to the restroom, or sweated off in a hot club
    • The inside of your wrist is less apt to be sweated off and is less visible the next day if you miss scrubbing it off (or even if you run into someone later that evening). For women with a wild side, the upper breast just under your clothing is good - it is not likely you'll be wearing something more revealing the next day, and the bouncer (and you) get a cheap thrill.
    • If you know for a fact that you won't be entering the pub/club multiple time (so you don't need the stamp for re-entry), I tell the stamper that I am allergic to the stamps ink. I get in without a stamp. No scrubbing off.
  • Stuck in Traffic? Try exploiting the natural greed of other drivers by creating a larger gap between your car and the car in front of you. You'll be driving slower than the cycle of stop-and-go traffic and will do less stopping-than-going. When cars from an adjoining lane decide that they "think" your lane is faster, switch into their lane and watch them accellerate and stop, disappointed that your lane isn't actually faster, it just had fewer cars in it. --Sjanes71 21:39, 27 Sep 2005 (EDT)
  • Sharing Lockers at Disney Properties I took some students to Disneyland. Three of us shared the cost of a locker but didn't want to necessarily stay together all day. There are not keys to these lockers but a ticket that has a combination printed on it. We all used our camera phones to take a picture of the ticket. I guess we could have written the number down, but hey...pencils? paper? How quaint. This 2006! --Fruitpie 15:48, 21 August 2006 (EDT)
  • When travelling abroad I always try to learn the following phrases in the local language: "please", "thank you", "yes", "no", "a beer please", "a cheese sandwich", "Can I have one of those". That way you will be able to feed and water yourself and ask for things you can point to. Plus I find that a little effort on your part will make people have a lot more patience with you as a foreigner!

[edit] Computers & technology

  • Keyboard improvement For those with a PC keyboard who don't have perfect typing skills : rip out the "insert" and "caps lock" keys, their main use seems to be letting you accidentally hit them and either write a lot of text in the wrong case (so you need to rewrite it), or overrite some other text (so you need to rewrite it). I did that a few months ago, and have never regretted it. The only case where it's useful is one single software that uses "insert" as a "copy" shortcut (in which case I have to use the right click). Flammifer 21:56, 17 May 2005 (EDT)
    • If you're having issues with accidentally typing everything in all caps, Microsoft Word has a function to make things normal (if you have Word, that is). Simply copy into Word (if you're not there already), highlight the text you want to make small-caps, click Format in the Font... menu, and check the 'no caps' box. Presto!
    • In Mac OSX (At least in 10.4+), you can change the bindings of the modifier keys. If you go to the Keyboard & Mouse Preferences, under Keyboard, click "Modifier Keys...". From there, you can rebind Caps Lock to act as "Control" (my preference), or "None", which effectively causes apps to ignore it. Saves you ripping the keys out of your pretty PowerBook. :) Caelyx 08:21, 17 Oct 2005 (EDT)

Here's a screencapture of this setting at Flickr: Annoyance Go Bye-Bye. --Carla 13:40, 28 June 2006 (EDT)

    • In most versions of Unix, you can add the lines "remove Lock = Caps_Lock" and "keycode 106 = space" to the ".xmodmaprc" file in your home directory, then make sure the commad "xmodmap ~/.xmodmaprc" is run when you log into an X11 session. The keycode for Insert may be different depending on version and hardware, though. -- Bma 00:08, 8 May 2006 (EDT)
  • Optimize your iPod Use your favorite defrag tool and defrag your iPod for an immediate and noticeable performance boost. -- gilcintron
  • Organize your favorites/bookmarks when they start scrolling As soon as you have to scroll your bookmarks menu sort them into categories so they never get unruly -- Lolindrath 07:49, 9 December 2005 (EST)
  • In order to maintain proper posture to avoid repetitive stress injuries, it is important not to rest your wrists on the desk. To encourage this (new) behavior, I used loops of packing tape on the bottom of my Keyboard to secure it at the very edge of the desk. Seth
  • Media-related distraction? Hit the panic button! When I get the sneaking suspicion that I'm wasting valuable time on the internet, I hit the monitor's power switch and wait until I get my focus back. This also works for TV, and even the phone. --Ookpik 14:49, 7 Jun 2005 (EDT)
    • This may sound good, but it wastes a good deal of electricity when you switch off and on the "tube" (the CRT, Cathode Ray Tube, that is). Phones and LCD monitors shouldn't matter - but a CRT is quite likely the most power hungry thing on your computer.
  • Lose your cell phone? Don't go crazy trying to find your lost numbers, just look at your old cell phone bills online! hlm227
    • You can sync and save your cell phone numbers at the free site, http://zyb.com before you lose them too. Nogoodkris 00:00, 1 October 2006 (EDT)


  • Camera Phone Reminder If there's something you want to remember but you have no pen or paper, and there's something visual about it (e.g. something you can take a picture of), your camera phone can be quite handy. Take a picture of whatever it is, and then, in order to remind yourself, set that picture as your camera's wallpaper. Once you've followed up on the task, set your wallpaper back to your usual, so that you will build an instinct of knowing you have something to do just from a glance at your phone. --Peter
  • Camera Phone Reminder Part 2 The Camera Phone Reminder trick can be extended to remind you where you parked at the airport or any other other location. (Or just useful if you tend to forget where you parked everyday.) --Raster

[edit] Miscellaneous

  • Drowning in paper? Sweep through your documents. Trash any document of an insurance that is older than two months old and not related to any damage not yet paid for. Keep the first document, though. Do so for every type of document you possess -- get rid of those handbooks, too. --MartinHohenberg 08:45, 17 Aug 2005 (EDT)


[edit] Organizing a group trip?

There's a new site called TripHub that is like Evite for group travel. It allows you to setup a trip, invite people and then track who's coming. You can also share flight and hotel plans etc... Rather then having a ton of emails going back and forth, it gives you a single place to sort everything... It's like Evite on steriods !!! www.triphub.com

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