Unsorted life hacks

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* Rechargable Batteries - Wrap an elastic band around any charged batteries : usually you can't insert them complete with band into a device, so thus you know that if you find a battery with a band on, it's charged... --[[User:Ajt|Ajt]] 18:33, 21 Mar 2005 (EST) * Rechargable Batteries - Wrap an elastic band around any charged batteries : usually you can't insert them complete with band into a device, so thus you know that if you find a battery with a band on, it's charged... --[[User:Ajt|Ajt]] 18:33, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)
* Saving Batteries - If you have a device that uses batteries but you don't use it regularly and it seems like the batteries are always drained when you need it because it got turned on in you bag: turn one of the batteries around (flip + and -). That way the device cannot be turned on by mistake. --[[User:Victor|Victor]] 10:53, 23 Mar 2005 (EST) (this is a terrible idea, and can destroy your battery, or your device. Better to fold a small scrap of paper over the end of one battery to prevent electrical contact from being made.) * Saving Batteries - If you have a device that uses batteries but you don't use it regularly and it seems like the batteries are always drained when you need it because it got turned on in you bag: turn one of the batteries around (flip + and -). That way the device cannot be turned on by mistake. --[[User:Victor|Victor]] 10:53, 23 Mar 2005 (EST) (this is a terrible idea, and can destroy your battery, or your device. Better to fold a small scrap of paper over the end of one battery to prevent electrical contact from being made.)
-* Keep bread in the freezer- Tired of having your bread get moldy before you eat it? Keep it frozen, and just make toast when you want a sandwich. Don't store it in the refrigerator, though: that makes it go stale more quickly.+* Keep bread in the freezer- Tired of having your bread get moldy before you eat it? Keep it frozen, and just make toast when you want a sandwich. Don't store it in the refrigerator, though: that makes it go stale more quickly.[[User:Yesno|Yesno]]
* The least crowded time to shop at the cheap warehouse supermarkets during daylight hours is on Sunday, when church is in session. -- GH 21 Mar 05 * The least crowded time to shop at the cheap warehouse supermarkets during daylight hours is on Sunday, when church is in session. -- GH 21 Mar 05
* If you're a slob, and therefore haven't developed an efficient cleaning regimen, and you need to clean up fast: have your most anal-retentive, clean freak friend come over and walk through your place with a tape recorder and dictate what you need to do in the order it should be done. -- GH 21 Mar 05 * If you're a slob, and therefore haven't developed an efficient cleaning regimen, and you need to clean up fast: have your most anal-retentive, clean freak friend come over and walk through your place with a tape recorder and dictate what you need to do in the order it should be done. -- GH 21 Mar 05
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* Nelson Algren: "Never sleep with a woman whose problems are worse than your own." * Nelson Algren: "Never sleep with a woman whose problems are worse than your own."
* If you live in snow country, use a cheap plastic sled to haul all your groceries at once from your car to your door in the winter. GH 22 Mar 05 * If you live in snow country, use a cheap plastic sled to haul all your groceries at once from your car to your door in the winter. GH 22 Mar 05
-* Honor thy circadian rhythms. If your wake/sleep schedule doesn't coincide with mother nature's, trick your internal clock with artificial lighting as many ways as you can. If you know you're going to go to bed at two in the morning, start dimming the lights in your house around 12:30. If you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, don't turn on any lights. There's nothing you need to see and you can probably find your way to the toilet blindfolded. When I wake up at o'dark thirty, I look at a light bulb (for brightness) with my eyes shut (to avoid retinal damage). It's like a cup of coffee.+* Honor thy circadian rhythms. If your wake/sleep schedule doesn't coincide with mother nature's, trick your internal clock with artificial lighting as many ways as you can. If you know you're going to go to bed at two in the morning, start dimming the lights in your house around 12:30. If you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, don't turn on any lights. There's nothing you need to see and you can probably find your way to the toilet blindfolded. When I wake up at o'dark thirty, I look at a light bulb (for brightness) with my eyes shut (to avoid retinal damage). It's like a cup of coffee.[[User:Yesno|Yesno]]
-* If you really need to get your motor running in the AM, after your nice warm shower, make your water as cold as it gets and see how long you can take it. Just be careful that your heart doesn't explode.+* If you really need to get your motor running in the AM, after your nice warm shower, make your water as cold as it gets and see how long you can take it. Just be careful that your heart doesn't explode.[[User:Yesno|Yesno]]
-* 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 [http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002087.htm 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!+* 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 [http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002087.htm 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![[User:Yesno|Yesno]]
-* Most men look in the mirror while shaving, but this is an activity that can be done by most by feel. If you're like me, you're going to linger uselessly in the shower, just standing there, no matter what. Knock out your shaving during your daily standing time. Shaving while in or after your shower makes shaving easier, because the hot water and steam open up your pores.+* Most men look in the mirror while shaving, but this is an activity that can be done by most by feel. If you're like me, you're going to linger uselessly in the shower, just standing there, no matter what. Knock out your shaving during your daily standing time. Shaving while in or after your shower makes shaving easier, because the hot water and steam open up your pores.[[User:Yesno|Yesno]]
-* Audiobooks, smart radio shows like This American Life and In Our Time , and particularly, recorded lectures, are sometimes better to fill your iPod with than music. They can make any time somewhat productive, keeping your mind busy when running or doing chores, and teaching you of topics arcane. I have listened to more than a dozen lectures from The Teaching Company and Barnes and Noble's Portable Professor. (You can get them free or cheap through the library or through friends you share with.) I regularly purchase audiobooks from iTunes and Tell-Tale Weekly. I prefer to listen to non-fiction. Fiction just doesn't translate well for many into audio, though epic and heroic poetry--- particularly Seamus Heany's recording of his translation of Beowulf--- works well too. A few colleges offer free lectures in MP3 format, and the lectures of Richard Feynman are always floating around on the net.+* Audiobooks, smart radio shows like This American Life and In Our Time , and particularly, recorded lectures, are sometimes better to fill your iPod with than music. They can make any time somewhat productive, keeping your mind busy when running or doing chores, and teaching you of topics arcane. I have listened to more than a dozen lectures from The Teaching Company and Barnes and Noble's Portable Professor. (You can get them free or cheap through the library or through friends you share with.) I regularly purchase audiobooks from iTunes and Tell-Tale Weekly. I prefer to listen to non-fiction. Fiction just doesn't translate well for many into audio, though epic and heroic poetry--- particularly Seamus Heany's recording of his translation of Beowulf--- works well too. A few colleges offer free lectures in MP3 format, and the lectures of Richard Feynman are always floating around on the net.[[User:Yesno|Yesno]]
**As a grad student in British lit, I use my iPod to try to force myself to memorize Shakespeare. Like, all of Shakespeare. Constant exposure == osmosis. I hope. --JW 23 Mar 05 **As a grad student in British lit, I use my iPod to try to force myself to memorize Shakespeare. Like, all of Shakespeare. Constant exposure == osmosis. I hope. --JW 23 Mar 05
**Audio books are great for cheap mp3 players with not much memory because you can convert spoken work audio to much low bitrates than you would probably be willing to tolerate for music. I use a Windows program called dBpowerAMP (anyone know an OS X equivalent?) to convert books on the fly as I copy them to my mp3 player. I can cram quite a bit into just 256MB. -- MVance 23 Mar 05 **Audio books are great for cheap mp3 players with not much memory because you can convert spoken work audio to much low bitrates than you would probably be willing to tolerate for music. I use a Windows program called dBpowerAMP (anyone know an OS X equivalent?) to convert books on the fly as I copy them to my mp3 player. I can cram quite a bit into just 256MB. -- MVance 23 Mar 05
-**iTunes and the iPod will do bookmarking with any AAC audio file--- even unprotected ones you've made yourself. On OS X, change the file type with a program like [http://www.everydaysoftware.net/quickchange/ Quickchange] to M4B. On Windows, just change the extension to M4B. (You can just change the extension with OS X too, if and only if the AAC has no file type. Because in a fight between file type and extension, iTunes picks the file type.) Now, you can easily pick up where you stopped listening to long recordings--- this is good for long music recordings, also.+**iTunes and the iPod will do bookmarking with any AAC audio file--- even unprotected ones you've made yourself. On OS X, change the file type with a program like [http://www.everydaysoftware.net/quickchange/ Quickchange] to M4B. On Windows, just change the extension to M4B. (You can just change the extension with OS X too, if and only if the AAC has no file type. Because in a fight between file type and extension, iTunes picks the file type.) Now, you can easily pick up where you stopped listening to long recordings--- this is good for long music recordings, also.[[User:Yesno|Yesno]]
* On the subject of shaving, here are two more hacks: * On the subject of shaving, here are two more hacks:
** Shave after Shower. Remember the old-school barbers who put a hot towel on the face? Same theory. Makes the shaving process much easier on your skin. ** Shave after Shower. Remember the old-school barbers who put a hot towel on the face? Same theory. Makes the shaving process much easier on your skin.

Revision as of 19:26, 24 March 2005

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 - please follow the links below or check out Category:Life hacks for your favourite life hack genre! --Akchizar 03:02, 23 Mar 2005 (EST)

Contents


Hacks from 43 Folders

  • The Forehead Ticket Trick - The car doesn't move until we know everyone has their ticket (as described at ETech '05)
  • The Sick Box - Gather all the stuff you'll need when you're sick: today
  • The One-Fork Rule - Beat back kitchen chaos by issuing everyone one piece of each item of cutlery and crockery
  • Just Buy Two - Buy multiples of stuff you always lose
  • Flame Yourself - Save relationships and embarrassment by sending that angry email to yourself
  • 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

Links to hacks from elsewhere

  • 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

Hacks from readers

Please add your new hack to the bottom of the list, and be sure to include your username and the date by using the signature tag: --~~~~. If you're adding or responding to an existing hack, please add it right below the one you're responding to. Thanks!

  • Coin flip hack - If I can't make a quick decision about something that can be simplified into two outcomes, I designate them as head and tails, flip a coin, call it in the air, and then (here's the important part!) completely disregard the result -- I nearly always feel a quick flash of "c'mon, come up tails" as it lands, so I just go with that. The distraction of flipping a coin pierces the indecision. --sckot Vokes 11:25, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Rechargable Batteries - Wrap an elastic band around any charged batteries : usually you can't insert them complete with band into a device, so thus you know that if you find a battery with a band on, it's charged... --Ajt 18:33, 21 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Saving Batteries - If you have a device that uses batteries but you don't use it regularly and it seems like the batteries are always drained when you need it because it got turned on in you bag: turn one of the batteries around (flip + and -). That way the device cannot be turned on by mistake. --Victor 10:53, 23 Mar 2005 (EST) (this is a terrible idea, and can destroy your battery, or your device. Better to fold a small scrap of paper over the end of one battery to prevent electrical contact from being made.)
  • Keep bread in the freezer- Tired of having your bread get moldy before you eat it? Keep it frozen, and just make toast when you want a sandwich. Don't store it in the refrigerator, though: that makes it go stale more quickly.Yesno
  • The least crowded time to shop at the cheap warehouse supermarkets during daylight hours is on Sunday, when church is in session. -- GH 21 Mar 05
  • If you're a slob, and therefore haven't developed an efficient cleaning regimen, and you need to clean up fast: have your most anal-retentive, clean freak friend come over and walk through your place with a tape recorder and dictate what you need to do in the order it should be done. -- GH 21 Mar 05
  • Befriend a shade tree mechanic. -- GH 21 Mar 05
  • For easy cleanup when you have a lot of vegetables to peel, line your sink with newspaper. It will hold up when wet and all you'll have to do is gather it up and throw everything away. -- GH 21 Mar 05
    • Along with lining your sink with newspaper (which is a waste of perfectly good litter liner :) ), you could just use a large bowl, and empty that and throw it in the dishwasher. -DB
    • Or, better yet, just peel them straight into the garbage can. In chef school I'd just pull the industrial can over to my station and peel away. At home, I'll peel right into the compost bucket, if I'm composting at the time. --JW 23 Mar 05 ( bonus of this is that you don't need to chop your compost! nice tip JW. )
    • If you do go with the newspaper base for peeling veggies, you can throw the whole thing -- paper and peel -- right into a composter. --JP 24 Mar 05
  • Remember the number - sometimes you have a range of things to remember. Work out how many things you have to remember, and keep that number in mind. That way, you can quickly check if you've forgotten something. --Akchizar 02:13, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • ADHD - Not a specific hack but seeing as Merlin thinks he may have ADD/ADHD and from what I have been reading, GTD seems as if it would apply to people with the disorder. What about a section on the front page of this Wiki for the disorder and any hints/tips experiences with solutions both medical and otherwise and their relative success? --Mikeanegus 09:32, 22 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Nelson Algren: "Never sleep with a woman whose problems are worse than your own."
  • If you live in snow country, use a cheap plastic sled to haul all your groceries at once from your car to your door in the winter. GH 22 Mar 05
  • Honor thy circadian rhythms. If your wake/sleep schedule doesn't coincide with mother nature's, trick your internal clock with artificial lighting as many ways as you can. If you know you're going to go to bed at two in the morning, start dimming the lights in your house around 12:30. If you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, don't turn on any lights. There's nothing you need to see and you can probably find your way to the toilet blindfolded. When I wake up at o'dark thirty, I look at a light bulb (for brightness) with my eyes shut (to avoid retinal damage). It's like a cup of coffee.Yesno
  • If you really need to get your motor running in the AM, after your nice warm shower, make your water as cold as it gets and see how long you can take it. Just be careful that your heart doesn't explode.Yesno
  • 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
  • Most men look in the mirror while shaving, but this is an activity that can be done by most by feel. If you're like me, you're going to linger uselessly in the shower, just standing there, no matter what. Knock out your shaving during your daily standing time. Shaving while in or after your shower makes shaving easier, because the hot water and steam open up your pores.Yesno
  • Audiobooks, smart radio shows like This American Life and In Our Time , and particularly, recorded lectures, are sometimes better to fill your iPod with than music. They can make any time somewhat productive, keeping your mind busy when running or doing chores, and teaching you of topics arcane. I have listened to more than a dozen lectures from The Teaching Company and Barnes and Noble's Portable Professor. (You can get them free or cheap through the library or through friends you share with.) I regularly purchase audiobooks from iTunes and Tell-Tale Weekly. I prefer to listen to non-fiction. Fiction just doesn't translate well for many into audio, though epic and heroic poetry--- particularly Seamus Heany's recording of his translation of Beowulf--- works well too. A few colleges offer free lectures in MP3 format, and the lectures of Richard Feynman are always floating around on the net.Yesno
    • As a grad student in British lit, I use my iPod to try to force myself to memorize Shakespeare. Like, all of Shakespeare. Constant exposure == osmosis. I hope. --JW 23 Mar 05
    • Audio books are great for cheap mp3 players with not much memory because you can convert spoken work audio to much low bitrates than you would probably be willing to tolerate for music. I use a Windows program called dBpowerAMP (anyone know an OS X equivalent?) to convert books on the fly as I copy them to my mp3 player. I can cram quite a bit into just 256MB. -- MVance 23 Mar 05
    • iTunes and the iPod will do bookmarking with any AAC audio file--- even unprotected ones you've made yourself. On OS X, change the file type with a program like Quickchange to M4B. On Windows, just change the extension to M4B. (You can just change the extension with OS X too, if and only if the AAC has no file type. Because in a fight between file type and extension, iTunes picks the file type.) Now, you can easily pick up where you stopped listening to long recordings--- this is good for long music recordings, also.Yesno
  • On the subject of shaving, here are two more hacks:
    • Shave after Shower. Remember the old-school barbers who put a hot towel on the face? Same theory. Makes the shaving process much easier on your skin.
    • If you're trying to even up your sideburns, stop using the guestimate method: look straight in the mirror and put the tips of your index fingers at the bottom of both burns -- an instant level.
    • also to shave, use warm water to soften your hair/beard, then use cold water to shave and rinse. it helps keep the blood out of your pores, and the swelling down. i learned this from a plastic surgeon who used it on pre-surgery shaves. --bp [I've always done hot water pre-rinse and shave, cold water rinse. Keeps the pores open and hair soft during shaving, closes them up afterwards to minimize bleeding. DN 20050324]
    • Avoid using an aftershave with alcohol. The alcohol causes in-grown hairs, which both hurt and make you look like a shlub. --Tyler 10:58, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Tidying a particularly messy bedroom? Take everything off the floor and dump it onto the bed. Don't start sorting until everything is off the floor and on the bed. It makes sure you don't miss anything, and finally making the bed is a fantastic way to finish up a tidying session. --jk
  • One more on shaving: If you can't shave after a shower or your skin is really sensitive, use shaving oil, let it sit for a few minutes, then apply your regular shaving product & shave as you would do normally. Shaving oil reduces friction, and softens hair almost as much as a shower does. --wfl
  • If you use hanging folders with insert folders for reference materials, keep a stack of coloured ordner bookmark cards (or some other card that would stick out of the foder) that you can put in the hanging folder as placeholder when you take the insert with you or lend it to someone (like your accountant or someone that needs it for a delegated tasks). -- wfl
  • More on shaving: I read it takes as long as three minutes for shaving cream to really soften your beard. Assuming you wash from the top down, apply your shave cream right after washing your face. By the time you're done in the shower, and have dried off, your shaving cream should be at its most effective. --agw
  • If your coffee pot tends to burn the coffee within an hour or two, place three pennies on the hotplate. It will keep the coffee warm and not scorch.
    • Even better, get a thermal carafe pot. My wife regularly wakes up with my son at 6 AM, but I don't get up until 8 or so. Coffee is still hot and no burned taste. -- Douglas Welch 8:33, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
    • I agree, I love my thermal carafe!! Keeps coffee hot all day without turning it into toast scrapings AND when I am running late I can just grab the whole pot and haul it into work with me. --Mose 10:55, 24 Mar 2005 (CST)
  • My dorm room in college had a really oddly-shaped living room, with no light but a tiny flourescent 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
  • Do you take medication in the morning and the evening (or more than once a day)? Can you remember if you've taken it? To help me, I flip the bottle over in the morning after I take mine, and when I see the bottle upside down (or right side up in the evening), I know I've already taken my pill. -- Donna 3/24/05
  • DRIVING - If you are driving to a crowded area where parking is contentious, park a few blocks away instead of driving around in circles looking for that rock star spot. In most cases you will actually save time, and you probably need the exercise anyway. -–Mose 03/24/2005 11:27 AM CST
  • More shaving: shower after. Skip commercial canned shave creams/foams (always too drying for me) and use face-friendly lotion and warm water instead, letting them do the whisker moistening. Then the shower itself is a great rinse of the face and helps any nicks heal so quickly most virtually disappear. And no need to defog the mirror. --Tim 13:03, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • Trying to line up your car to pump gas? Pop the little door open before you start backing up, giving you a perfect visual marker to align with the pump nozzle. --RobertDaeley 13:21, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • More coffee: If you're a cream or sugar person, first put those in the cup, then pour the coffee. No stirring required. --Mrbbking 13:24, 24 Mar 2005 (EST)
  • When I have to do something that I'm not looking forward to (like housework or paper filing), I set a kitchen timer for a short amount of time and start working. Once the timer goes off, I finish the immediate task and stop. I get more completed in that 15-30 minutes than I would otherwise, because I know that when the timer goes off I'm done. --Jeni 13:26, 3/24/05
  • Have whipping cream but no mixer (and you don't want to do it by hand)? If you have one, a blender (like for milkshakes) works in a pinch. Put on high speed, and only do a little at a time. Only takes about five seconds. Any longer and it turns into butter. --AWOL
  • Instead of using "Shuffle" in iTunes on a large music collection, set your library to sort by song title and play them sequentially instead. The names themselves are a source of entropy.
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