Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A Few Personal Lifehacks

I love Lifehacker. I can't remember when I first discovered it, but once it led me to Google Reader it became the first thing I read through it and it became the first feed I subscribed to there. They are always posting useful tips from around the internet.

So in honour of their from the tips box section I thought I'd follow in due course. I was going to make this a list of my favourite shortcuts, but then I thought that would be a) Not expansive enough, and b) Incredibly dull. So anyway, here goes nothing.

Lifehack 1: "You own your phone, your phone does not own you."


Discovered many years ago in a book called Clutter Control this is very simple. Basically you pick and choose when you answer your phone, don't feel obligated to pick it up just because you're there.

This is a great way to eliminate needless phone calls, especially when there are so many junk callers out there. They can't get to speak to you if you don't pick up the phone. And don't recommend the Telephone Preference Service, not when so many companies work internationally and consequently out of their jurisdiction.

(N.B. This is also why I ask most friends to call my mobile first. I'd get them to call the house phone, but I'm not paying the £600-£800 that BT want each month to show a caller's ID.)

So if you call me and you get no answer, don't take it personally. I'm at home, not working. Or failing that, call my mobile. I'm still friendly to my friends.

Lifehack 2: Keyboard shortcuts


Very, very handy time saver in all kinds of computer programs. Here are my top five:

  1. Open Windows Explorer: Windows key + E.
  2. Open a new Firefox tab: CTRL + T.
  3. Copy...: CTRL + C.
  4. and Paste...: CTRL + V.
  5. Switch programs: ALT + TAB.

I think most people know these already, but they are every day timesavers for me.

Lifehack 3: A backup plan


I pulled this originally from a Lifehacker post, but here's my current backup plan.

Using SyncBack, I get the data from my Documents and Settings folder and copy that over to my external hard drive. To limit possible clashes I eliminate the following data:

  • .lnk files
  • *ntuser.dat* files
  • *parent.lock* files
  • *UsrClass.dat* files
  • thumbs.db files
  • Any directories named Cache or Temp

I presently run this once a week. In addition to that once a month I move these to a monthly folder and allow the backup to recreate itself from fresh (which has been handy in regard to making sure that I've got old copies of files on some occasions).

At some point I suspect I'll incorporate an online element to this, but that's presently a wait and see option.

If you like these posts let me know and I'll consider another one in future, thanks.
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