Some Things You Can Learn In Minutes

7:43 AM Amer Bekic 0 Comments

Here's a kind of motley collection of tricks I've learned, roughly in decreasing order of usefulness:

1) Buy duplicate chargers for phones, tablets, and laptops. There are two big reasons to do this. The first is that these are often nearly irreplaceable items that would significantly impact your life were you to lose them. It's better to buy the backup now than have to work minimally on your laptop or let your phone die during the days to weeks it would take to ship it to you. The second reason is that if you have multiple locations where you work (e.g. home and office), you can leave a charger at each location, and save yourself that minute each day of packing it up with you.

2) Control your sports addiction through condensed games. I'm a baseball fan, and some summers, I've spent up to several hours a day following games. It's a natural thing for me to get sucked into if they're on and nothing else is occupying my attention.

This might be particular to baseball, but in the last year, I've found a win-win solution to this. Instead of agonizingly cutting baseball out of my life, I subscribe to these 10-20-minute condensed games on my MLB At Bat app. In these, they play every important play, including most at-bats, back to back. I lose on a little bit of the mind games between pitcher and batter but get all of the excitement of the back and forth of the game, condensed into less than 20 minutes.

There's an added benefit, which is that if I'm watching it, I hate to know how it turns out in the end, or even somewhere midway through. It makes the game a lot less enjoyable. So this means that between when the game starts and the condensed game comes out, I'm now trained to avoid anything that might tell me the score. This reduces the number of websites I can distract myself with in the evenings to only Facebook, Quora, Youtube, and Feedly. :P

3) Use Chrome application shortcuts to keep common windows open. You probably keep some browser tabs open nearly all the time, like your e-mail and a web calendar. Do you really want those buried in a sea of other tabs that you have to look through to get back to them? No, and there's a solution to this. Go to one of these websites, and under the Chrome settings -> Tools, click "Create application shortcuts..." This will create an icon you can click on and (in Windows) pin to the taskbar if you want. It will also give you a little more space in that screen. Try it out!

4) Invest in a very comfortable pillow. You'll be spending more time with it than anything else, except possibly your office chair. Moreover, you don't want your office chair to be too comfortable for the same reason you want your pillow to be.

5) If you tend to lose or break items frequently, buy cheap ones. For me, I experienced this with water bottles and earbuds. I used to have a dedicated water bottle I would bring with me, until I lost it. Then I searched everywhere for it and felt bad wasting $20 buying a new one. Now I just buy and refill cheap "flip-cap" water bottles in 6-packs at the grocery store every few months and don't even notice if I lose one.

The same thing happened for earbuds. I tended to break them if I put them through the laundry or simply used them too frequently. So I found a way to buy them in bulk for cheap (~$1.50, I think) online, and just bought a dozen.

6) If you live in a city with a nearby McDonald's (or similar cheap fast food), carry around small ($5-10) McDonald's gift cards to give to those in need. You can either buy them at a grocery store or just go into McDonald's itself and stock up. I keep mine in a card holder with my debit card and ID so I legitimately don't carry much cash around with me. Everyone needs to eat, and McDonald's is a pretty good deal on a calories per dollar basis. Plus, this way you can be less worried that they might spend it on alcohol or something similarly self-destructive.