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Lifehacking: the quest for efficiency

Permalink 04/02/10 16:03, by Ryan, Categories: Useless Blatherings, Geekery , Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

This morning, in my quest to get caught up on my RSS feeds, a discussion about the best lifehacks mentioned in the daily best-of tldr reddit caught my eye. I consider myself a bit of a lifehacker, but it's mostly that engineering mindset coming through: there must be a more efficient way to live life, too.

A few of the hacks from reddit appealed to me, and I thought it prudent to pass them along:

  • "Putting my clothes in my closet with the hangers reversed once a year. As I pull clothes out, I reverse the hanger. Every year I give away any clothes that I never took out." -- elblanco (Note: I do something like this, but since my closet has weird physics, I mostly just do it with a stack-like structure. If it hits the far end of the rod, it goes.)
  • "When you need to remember to bring something with you, put your car keys on it the night before..." -- drewlb
  • "For anyone just starting university, or grad school, in a program where you will write many papers: put EVERYTHING you ever read or remotely think will be useful into a bibliography database like Endnote (for Word users) or BibTeX. You can pdf almost everything to a massive folder and link to it. Then, not only is the info at your finger tips for however long you're in school, but the software writes the bibliography for you. NO idea why schools aren't teaching this alongside general advice on writing all sorts of term papers..." -- dolichoblond (Note: if you use Firefox and OpenOffice, check out Zotero.)
  • "Not original or clever by any means but I'll share anyway: I put my keys, cell phone, and wallet in the same, separate pockets every day. When I walk out the door I just need to tap each pocket to make sure they're in there and I can leave knowing I have my three essential items. It's never failed me." -- DT7 (Note: as kitsuneudon points out, this is the "spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch" self-check)

And last, but definitely not least:

  • "Babywipes for the bathroom. Seriously, your life will be +1." -- giveitago

There are plenty more like this out there, of course, and I highly recommend always thinking about ways to make life more efficient. Think about why you're doing something and how else you could accomplish the end goal. Even if you don't actually save time, it's a great mindset to be in.

While I don't personally follow it (yeah, I'm backlogged enough already), they tell me lifehacker.com is a popular site for these sorts of things.

Speaking of life, this post from mathematician Tanya Khovanova includes some tips for success from John H. Conway. In short, work more than one problem at a time:

If you only work on one problem and get stuck, you might get depressed. It is nice to have an easier back-up problem. The back-up problem will work as an anti-depressant and will allow you to go back to your difficult problem in a better mood. John told me that for him the best approach is to juggle six problems at a time.

Oh, and if you like to keep an eye on how far behind I am with my RSS reading, just take a look at my Google Reader shared items page. They let me share stuff with the global interweb by hitting just one button, which sure beats this whole writing-a-blog-post thing, so I tend to fire quick stuff from there once or twice a day. It's kind of a lifehack as well.

1 comment

Comment from: James Sweet [Visitor]
James SweetI definitely do the "spectacles, testicles" thing. Only drawback of that is that if for whatever reason I legitimately don't have one of them (e.g. cellphone is charging, keys loaned to wife, etc.) I experience brief moments of panic all day long. heh...

But yeah, I've natural done that for like ten years now.

(In other news, Holy Captcha!)

On Apr 15, James Sweet wrote "Physics/religion joke".

04/15/10 @ 19:16

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