Readers show us how to measure the perfect nap length with coffee spoons, make incredibly anal (yet super-efficient) Microsoft Access shopping lists, and hide our valuables in clever ways.
Get Your Groceries in True Lifehacker Fashion
Photo by BruceTurner
Barry tells us about how he saves time at the grocery store:
I know it sounds a bit anal, but I use an Access database to plan my shopping trips.
The database contains products and aisle numbers. A printed report lists all items in aisle order with little check boxes, along with a space to indicate quantity or notes. Either I or my wife prepare the shopping list by checking off items needed, filling out the quantity and adding notes as needed.
When I get to the grocery store I just go up one aisle and down the other, in order, following the list. It makes my shopping faster since I'm not doubling back to get things, and impulse buying is eliminated as long as I stick to the list.
The only problem comes when they move an item, or worse, remodel the store. At that point I have to make notes on the list, then go back and change the database before the next printout. This has proven to not be much of a hassle, though.
Time Naps With Coffee Spoons
Photo by ojbyrne
T.S. Eliot wrote that he measured his life in coffee spoons, but according to reader Realjokie, Salvador Dali measured his naps in them:
The painter Salvador Dali used to employ the following trick to have the best nap ever:
- Hold a coffee spoon (or something else—use your imagination) in your hand
- Sit and relax on a comfy couch or chair with your arm hanging
- When you go into deep sleep (after about 20-30 minutes) your hand will relax and release the spoon, and the sound of the spoon falling will wake you up
That is the perfect timing for the best nap ever.
A Handful of Wisdom for Your Long-Distance Drive
Photo by Stig Nygaard
DiscoZombie has many bits of wisdom for long-distance driving:
- Definitely plan ahead. Tell someone else you're going, and what route you're taking.
- Don't try to drive an unrealistic distance in any single shot.
- Be prepared to run into snags like traffic, accidents, construction, weather, and breakdowns. Have contingency plans.
- When you stop, make it count. Stretch, walk around, grab a bite, and generally just take a break away from the vehicle for 20-30 minutes.
- Shift driving position often. Keeps you awake and keeps pieces of you from going numb.
- Use cruise control when you can.
- I prefer to drive with extremely comfortable footwear, like bedroom slippers or reef shoes. Tight constrictive footwear like sneakers or boots gets uncomfortable very quick when driving.
- If you get sleepy, pull over and take a break. Losing a little time for a few extra breaks is better than losing your life because you dozed off and ran into an overpass column at 70 mph.
- Don't screw around or otherwise irritate truckers. They've seen it all and some of them have very short fuses. You do not want a guy driving 40 tons of steel to be angry with you.
- When you're driving, focus on driving. Not trying to read a book, fiddle with your phone, find a road on a map, or otherwise.
- Lots and lots of music. Keep it fresh and change it up often.
Streamline Note Taking (And Doodling) With Laminated Sheets
Nathan tells us about his note-taking hack:
I just wanted to pass on a very simple, but effective method I devised and use for virtually all of my note-taking at work. I laminate one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of canary yellow lined paper (from a legal pad), and I write my notes with a fine-tipped wet-erase marker (a.k.a Vis-a-Vis overhead projector marker). You can also use a dry-erase marker, but I have found that the friction that can be caused by rubbing your arm, etc, on the sheet can smudge the dry-erase writing.
At first this may sound overly-simplistic, but there are several advantages to using this method, I have found, compared to a normal notepad or sticky notes, etc. I have two goals when taking notes, either get the task accomplished asap, or if it's something that can't be done immediately, get the info digitised (in my PIM) asap. Since we are dealing with just two pages of erasable text, there is a finite amount of room for my notes. When both sides of the sheet are full, it forces me to transfer my notes into my PIM before the amount of information can become overwhelming. Before I switched to my "laminated paper" method, I had a notebook with pages and pages of notes, a desk cluttered with dozens of sticky notes, and a PIM on my computer that was never up-to-date with what was actually on my to-do list. This laminated paper method fixed all of that for me. Also, when I go to meetings now, I just have one page to carry along with me (much easier to carry than a dry-erase board!). I also happen to be a habitual doodler, and erasable markers lend themselves well to that.
Have Fun With Security at Home and Away
Photo by Hendricks Photos
ToniaApheidas has some fun ways of hiding things:
I lived out of my car for a few years back in the early nineties, and I've always been fairly intrigued by security through the unexpected.
Over the years I've hidden things (cash, clothing that's too warm for the afternoon but I'll want later in the evening, food, etc) in all sorts of random places. One of my favourite spots is behind vending machines. Shrubbery can be useful depending on the surroundings. The physical world is full of places completely overlooked.
With digital security, obscurity isn't a viable option because space isn't a valid attribute. We tend to start searching data everywhere and only narrow our search later. In the physical world however, my experience suggests obscurity is more useful, because it doesn't give a focal point for something valuable. Agreed with the ex-thief who suggests planting "dummy treasures" to hide the real ones.
I've never been a thief, but the way I approach home security is to frequently do an audit on the most desirable elements of my home, and hide smaller valuables away from those items. Also avoiding obvious hiding places (behind paintings, in clothing drawers) and places next to desirable items (food, portable high-ticket electronic items).
Some of my favourite places to hide cash:
- A sack taped to the inside of the kitchen trash, concealed by the trash bag.
- Buy a new toilet brush, store items in there, keep the one you actually use stored under the bathroom sink. No one, but NO ONE is going to check inside a toilet brush holder.
- When going out on the town with a decent amount of cash, leave a few bucks in your wallet and put your major card and majority of cash in a box of cigarettes (regardless of if you smoke). It's far more dignified than doing something ridiculous like putting it in your sock.