Upgrade Your Life

The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better


Chapter 6

Streamline Common Jobs

No doubt you perform dozens of repetitive actions every day, such as typing www.google.com into your browser's address bar, or clicking the Start button and navigating to the Programs menu, or typing “Let me know if you have any questions” at the end of an e-mail. These are opportunities for shortcuts that can add up to large savings over time. Every movement, every task, every action is a candidate for optimization and streamlining.

Hack 45
Search the Web in Three Keystrokes

Level: Easy
Platform: All platforms with Firefox

"There are dozens of ways to do a web search from your desktop, but the most common method takes the longest."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 46
Command Your Windows PC from the Keyboard (New in 2nd Edition!)

Level: Medium
Platform: Windows XP and Vista

"The graphical user interface revolutionized personal computing because it made using a computer so much more visual. However, using the mouse is one of the most inefficient ways to drive a computer."

Hack 47
Command Your Mac from the Keyboard (New in 2nd Edition!)

Level: Medium
Platform: Mac OS X

"Skip time-wasting point-and-click mouse movement on your Mac using free software called Quicksilver, which is a keyboard interface to an astonishing variety of computing actions."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 48
Reduce Repetitive Typing with Texter for Windows (New in 2nd Edition!)

Level: Medium
Platform: Windows XP and Vista

"Define short abbreviations for phrases you use often, or misspellings you're prone to, and automatically expand those abbreviations to their full, intended form. This hack explains how to do that using the free Windows application, Texter."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 49
Reduce Repetitive Typing with TextExpander for Mac (New in 2nd Edition!)

Level: Medium
Platform: Mac OS X

"In the same vein as Hack 48, Mac users can save thousands of keystrokes daily using the text substitution application TextExpander."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 50
Text Message Efficiently

Level: Easy
Platform: Mobile phone with text message capabilities

"To the uninitiated, texting can seem inconvenient, but text messages have numerous advantages over voice calls."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 51
Batch Resize Photos

Level: Easy
Platform: Windows XP

"Everyone likes to email digital photos, but no one likes to receive pictures that are so huge they take forever to download and require you to scroll left and right and up and down to see the entire image."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 52
Send and Receive Money on Your Cell Phone

Level: Easy
Platform: Mobile phone with SMS capabilities

"Popular online payment service PayPal is a quick and easy way to email money to friends and co-workers — to cover your share of the dinner bill or to pitch in on a shared gift or to make a payment for work done."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 53
Bypass Free Site Registration with BugMeNot

Level: Easy
Platform: Web

"An active web surfer can easily accumulate dozens of logins for various sites across the web. But what about when you don't want to go through the whole rigmarole of registering for a web site—you simply want inside?"

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 54
Speed Up Web Pages on a Slow Internet Connection

Level: Easy
Platform: All

"When you're surfing the Web on a slow connection, it can seem like grass grows faster than the download progress meter on your web browser turns."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 55
Securely Save Web Site Passwords

Level: Easy
Platform: All with Firefox

"One of the most convenient features in Firefox is its capability to save the passwords you use to log on to web sites—like your web mail and online banking—so you don't have to type them in every time."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 56
Become a Scheduling Black Belt with Google Calendar

Level: Easy
Platform: Web

"This hack covers more advanced uses for GCal, such as adding and getting events from anywhere, subscribing to multiple calendars, sharing calendars, booking inanimate objects such as a conference room, and inviting multiple people to events."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 57
Scan Text to PDF with Your Camera Phone (New in 2nd Edition!)

Level: Easy
Platform: Web (Plus digital camera or camera phone)

"You're looking at a whiteboard full of notes or a paper document you want to copy quickly. Instead of manually transcribing the text, you can "scan" the information using a digital camera, including the one built in to your cell phone. Web application Qipit turns digital photos that contain text into PDF files for you automatically."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:

Hack 58
Poll Groups of People with Doodle (New in 2nd Edition!)

Level: Easy
Platform: Web

"Anyone who's had to schedule a meeting or get-together for a large group of people knows how difficult finding a date that works for everyone can be. Whether it's a family reunion or board meeting, when more than five people are involved, everyone's schedule gets in the way."

Related posts at Lifehacker.com:




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