Life Hacks

Life Hacks

Lately I’ve been dipping my toe, ever so tentatively, into the world of life hacks. I’m just looking thank you, but it is pretty fascinating. [Ed note: The fact that I’ve just recently become aware of it coupled with my compulsion to skim almost everything I read is bound to lead to some inaccuracies in my post, so rather than getting all huffy about it email me and I’ll post corrections, where needed.]

So far as I can tell, life hacks are a geek-friendly approach to getting things done. I’m not talking about coding or testing or developing here – it’s more about taking your medicine in the morning, getting your bills paid on time, kick-starting your inspiration, things along those lines.

The most prominent wizard of this (pun intended, so sorry, couldn’t resist) is Merlin Mann. He didn’t come up with the term, nor did he write the book, but he cheerfully and methodically collects and catalogs what works for him and other life-hackers via his site 43 folders and other web-based tools like the 43 folders Wikipedia and his comprehensive bookmark sets on delicious, as well as making all kinds of excellent recommendations for various books and tools.

What got me was the notebooks. I’m a sucker for notebooks. I have lots. My weapon of choice is Clairfontaine, but in the life hacks world it’s all about the Moleskines. Well, that, and index cards. One of the most amusing-yet-practical things I’ve come across on the 43F site is Hipster PDA, which consists of index cards, a binder clip and the proper state of mind.

I am blessed with a pretty excellent memory. I still remember my best friend’s phone number. My best friend in grade school. It’s but one of a vast list of numbers that somehow keep themselves organized in my brain. It’s a nice party trick, and it makes friends feel super loved when I can rattle off their home, work and mobile numbers without hesitation. But it’s a trap – my brain maxed out a while ago. Not completely, but what I am able to remember is unpredictable. My bravado with regard to memory is deeply ingrained, so I rarely write stuff down. Fact is, I don’t know HOW to write stuff down. Everything is rattling around upstairs. This makes it hard to delegate, hard to keep track of what’s done, what needs to be done and what I’m forgetting to do. I’m hoping Merlin can help me.