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The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster and Better


Chapter 4

Clear Your Mind

Your mind is a powerful computer. But sometimes it works against you instead of with you. Your brain makes complex decisions and stores years' worth of information, yet there's one thing it doesn't do well: Think of what you need when you need it, and forget about nagging thoughts when you don't need them.

Hack 33
Send Reminders to Your Future Self

Level: Easy
Platform: Web

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 34
Take Great Notes

Level: Easy
Platform: Pen and Paper

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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Hack 35
Organize Your Life with Remember the Milk

Level: Medium
Platform: Web

Now it's more important than ever to consolidate your lists into one, always-accessible place. There are dozens of robust, free online organizers out there, but one of the most stable and mature in the bunch is a web application called Remember the Milk.

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Hack 36
Organize Your Life in Text Files

Level: Easy to Advanced
Platform: Mac, Windows, Linux (Command line)

No matter how many new-fangled personal organizer applications become available, new computer users and veterans alike still turn to the old standby for tracking to-do's: a file called todo.txt.

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Hack 37
Set Up a Ubiquitous Note-Taking Inbox Across Devices (New in 3rd Edition!)

Level: Medium
Platform: All

Ubiquitous capture — that is, the ability to snag any thought or idea any time and any where it happens to crop up — is a key component to nearly every productivity philosophy. You want to capture those fleeting ideas before they're gone, and you don't want to waste brain power obsessing over remembering them until you can write them down somewhere.

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Hack 38
Off-Load Your Online Reading to a Distraction-Free Environment (New in 3rd Edition!)

Level: Medium
Platform: All

Your open browser tabs should contain information you need to access now. You start keeping one or two tabs open for those "when I've got time" moments, and the next thing you know, you have 30 tabs open, eating up memory and cluttering up your browser.




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