Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The hard truth is that there just aren’t quick fixes for most things in life. It takes time to gain experience and build up an expertise in most fields. That being said, other abilities are easy to pick up after just a few minutes. Here are 18 foolproof tricks that can save you a lot of time and hassle when it comes to life’s little problems.
A recent Quora thread discussed valuable skills that take 10 minutes or less to master. Here are some of the best responses from the thread, with a few tips of our own thrown in:
#1 Learn to change a tyre
‘It’s very straightforward, but it’s worth thinking about before you need it. Here’s a video.’ — Ben Mordecai
#2 Identify the freshest strawberries
‘Smell them. If they smell like strawberries, buy them; they will taste divine. If they look gorgeous but have no smell, they will have no taste. Simple and foolproof.’ — Cyndi Perlman Fink
#3 …and oranges
‘Pick up the orange or grapefruit. If it feels light, it’s not juicy and will taste rather woody. Go through the bin picking the ones that feel heaviest compared to oranges or grapefruits of a similar size. They will be the tastiest ones.’ — Karen Opas
#4 Remove tourists and strangers from your photos
‘Set your camera on a tripod. Take a picture about every 10 seconds until you have about 15 shots. Open all the images in Photoshop by going to File > Scripts > Statistics. Choose: ‘median’ and select the files you took. Photoshop finds what’s different in the photos and simply removes it.’ — Vishal Gala
#5 Learn how to speed read
‘The first thing you need to do is eliminate the voice inside your head. Read with your eyes. ONLY. Whatever you do, don’t use the voice inside your head. As you learn to do this part, go ahead and read word by word and go over the lines with your finger. Just work on eliminating the voice. Why? You cannot say words nearly as fast as you can comprehend them … Since you’re reading with your eyes, try reading two or three words at a time, and then move up once you get comfortable.’ — Raj Rai
#6 Recover when you forget someone’s name immediately after meeting them
Ask them to put their number in your phone. It’s the best way to get their name without even asking for it. Typically, they will enter both their first and last names, along with their number. It’s a great way to stay in touch with them in the future and also to assure you won’t forget their name again. Find more techniques to remember names here.
#7 Comfortably fit everything in your suitcase
‘You can learn the art of packing. Watch the demo.’ — Carlos Amezquita
#8 …and pack a suit in your carry-on without wrinkling it
‘Learn John Chow’s clever technique to ‘roll the suit’ into a cabin-sized suitcase.’ — Abhiroop Medhekar
#9 Keep your pizza crust crisp, even after reheating it in the microwave
‘Place a glass of water alongside to avoid the crust from getting chewy. The water absorbs excess microwaves by acting kind of like an ‘energy sink.’ Thus, the water in the crust is preserved and not vaporized.’ — Wassim Ferose
#10 Calm nervousness
‘Chew gum when you’re approaching a situation that would make you nervous, like public speaking or bungee jumping. If we are eating, something in our brain reasons, ‘I would not be eating if I were (in) danger. So I’m not in danger.” — Abhishek A. Singh
#11 Turn your watch into a compass
‘Hold your watch horizontally and point it so that the hour hand is facing into the sun. At the center point between the 12 and the hour hand is your north/south line, with north facing away from the sun. So if the hour hand is pointing at 4, for example, the 2 would point towards the south, and the 8 would point towards the north. Just remember, this only works in the Northern Hemisphere; and during Daylight Savings Time you would use the 1 instead of the 12 to determine the center line.’ — Amarnath Ganesh
#12 Easily insert mathematical symbols and special characters into Word documents
‘Insert all your required symbols just on an arbitrary line in the document, for easy access. Open up the configuration for your word processor, and find the auto-correction/auto-replacement settings. Add auto-correction rules for each of your symbols, assigning them a kind of ‘command word’ that can be easily typed. An example is ‘/pi’ (no quotes), that would auto-correct to the actual Greek character.’ — Trey Brisbane
#13 Save time with computer shortcuts
When using Chrome on a Mac, ⌘+a selects all; ⌘+c copies; ⌘+x cuts; and ⌘+v pastes. You can also use ⌘+n to open a new window and ⌘+t to open a new tab. See a more comprehensive list of shortcuts here.
#14 Unsend emails in Google
Google recently made it easier to unsend potentially embarrassing or harmful emails. First, redownload the application on your desktop. Next, click ‘enable undo send’ under the ‘general’ tab in the top right corner, and set how long you want the cancellation period to be. Check out the full step-by-step process here.
#15 Teach yourself to fall asleep faster
‘Look for patterns in the random noise of your eyelids and try to ‘follow’ it. Once you start seeing complete images you’re under way to dreamland. It’s ok to suddenly realise that you’re doing it and thus waking yourself up a little. Try again, just relax, think about nothing and watch the pretty pictures. Don’t get upset if it takes a while — just keep going. (You can also see more tricks here.)’ — Arpit Pareek
#16 …and wake up earlier
A few simple tweaks to your morning routine — including ignoring your snooze button and getting outside as soon as possible after waking up — can help you turn into an early riser. Here’s a guide on how to train yourself to master the early wake-up call.
#17 Neatly fold a shirt in two seconds
Don’t let folding your laundry steal any more of your valuable time. This video provides a step-by-step guide on how to fold your clothes in seconds.
#18 Look more sincere
Humans are hardwired to tell fake smiles from sincere, or ‘duchenne’ smiles.
Duchenne smiles don’t just incorporate the corners of your mouth; they activate the muscles that go around your eye socket as well.
Spend a few minutes practicing in front of the mirror. It’s pretty easy to get the hang of, and flashing a real smile will help you look more sincere, whether you’re meeting new people or posing for a photo.
This story originally appeared on Business Insider.