Lifehacker the bookTable of Contents → Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Free Up Mental RAM

Whether it's remembering that you're due to make a dental appointment, or stowing away that tidbit of information you found online for next week's presentation, the only way to deal with all the stuff in your head is to get it off your mind and into a system that can help you recall it at the right time. This chapter explores various capture systems that offload distractions, pop-up thoughts, and to-do lists to your computer for easy recall, timely reminders, and, ultimately, a clear head.

Hack 1
Email your future self

"Every day you've got a lot on your mind and a lot to do. As a result, it can be nearly impossible to remember mundane recurring tasks--like when it's time to change the oil or go to the dentist--or even important yearly events, like friends' and family birthdays."

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Hack 2
Manage a todo.txt File at the Command Line

"A plain text file is a simple and effective way to keep track of your to-do list. But you don't want to fire up a full-fledged text editor like Notepad every time you update or add to your todo.txt file. Bypass the time-consuming point-and-click graphical user interface (GUI), and use keyboard commands to search, sort, add, and update todo.txt at the command line."

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Hack 3
Develop Your (Digital) Photographic Memory

"A ubiquitous capture device can change the way you remember (and forget) things for good. With a photo-sharing service like Flickr (, you can capture and file away your digital photographic memory in the internet cloud from wherever you are."

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Hack 4
Install Your Personal Wikipedia

"The collaboratively edited Wikipedia is a vast, searchable repository of information, constantly written and re-written by its readers. Don't you wish you or your group could have your own editable encyclopedia of brain dumps and documentation like Wikipedia? You can."

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Hack 5
Keep an Instiki Wiki Hyperlinked Notebook

"Install a server and wiki software on your home computer using Instiki, a package that's perfect for beginners. An alternative to MediaWiki, Instiki is easy to install and to use."

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Hack 6
Take Great Notes

"Taking effective notes is a critical skill that moves your projects, your career, and your education forward. This hack covers three practical note-taking methods, as well as how to make your own custom notepaper."

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