Waste more time

January 22, 2009

“Waste more time…efficiently” is a message that may sound strange, but in fact it is a big step for a lot of people. Most people are good at what they do. If you are good at wasting time, I’ll help you to waste more time in a more efficient way. How? By using lifehacking techniques.

One of the activities we all spend an awful amount of time on is waiting. I know waiting lines are everywhere, not just when going to the bank, the airport or the supermarket. In order to optimize that waiting time, here are several tips to improve your time “wasting”.

The first thing to do is to start implementing a system where you sift all the info you need to process. Choose whatever system that suits you best. If you classify information before reading it all, you can take your efficiency to the next level. Martijn, a friend and fellow lifehacker, always tears out pages from magazines, papers, etc. He sorts it into different piles and according to his schedule works his way through those piles. When he is traveling for example, he takes one of those piles with him and after reading them, he throws away those pages that no longer serve him. Whenever he has to wait somewhere, he pulls up one of his piles and starts reading. Time that seemed wasted at first now gets recycled to do something useful. Because he filtered info upfront, it’s wasted in a more efficient way!

A second tip is to download audio books, interviews or just any knowledge you wish to acquire in audio-format. Put it on your mobile phone (memory card?) or on your iPod. While waiting in line, you can listen to it and probably learn something. My wife is learning Spanish this way.

A third tip is to automatically classify all the mailinglists you subscribed to, any short articles, RSS-feeds, etc. to a separate folder. The ones you don’t want to read, delete them immediately. If you are behind the computer waiting in a meeting room for the others to arrive, it’s a probably a great time to read those RSS-feeds. Most of them are short, so you can interrupt anytime. The more time is wasted by the others arriving late, the more up-to-date you’ll get…

Tip number four is about always taking a pen and paper with you (can be your PDA too!). While waiting, think about what you would do to improve the current situation you are in. (What would I do to shorten this waiting line? How can I improve my own products and services? Etc.) Just write down some ideas. Of course, an audio recording works just as fine too!

With any of these tips, your time will pass faster and you’ll get several things done in no time. In fact you did not have that time before and you considered it to be wasted anyway. So, you created time that was “lost” and reused it for the better. This also implies that you have created more time to do other (fun) stuff. Or you got more things done than anticipated. So, the choice is yours! There is only one thing I can recommend : Enjoy waiting in line while wasting more time efficiently 🙂

Enjoy every day,

Bert Verdonck
Lifehacker & Life Coach
Create, Connect & Contribute

Google Efficiency

December 12, 2008

Ok, I admit it! I am using Google a lot. Not only the search engine, but also other great stuff like GMail, Google Reader, Google Maps, Google Desktop, etc.

As a lifehacker I learned a couple of extra shortcuts to make my life easier and more efficient.

Here is a (first) cheatsheet of interesting shortcuts:

Sample queries   Google responses pages with…
bert lifehack     both words: bert and lifehack
Hawaii OR Bali     1 word: Hawaii or Bali
+I love    both words: I & love (force Google not to ignore I)
lifehack -computer    the word lifehack but NOT the word computer
“Enjoy every day”    the exact phrase: Enjoy every day
iPod €100..€500    iPods between €100 and €500
part-time    the words part-time, part time, or parttime
life ~coach    the words Life & both coach & its synonyms
Indian food site:about.com    Indian food from the website about.com
whales filetype:ppt    finds whales in Powerpoint files

Have fun,

Bert Verdonck

PS : did I mention that yesterday Google Chrome (Google’s Browser) is officially out of the Beta phase. Download it now!

Xobni is Outlook paradise!

June 16, 2008

Xobni welcomes you to email happiness!

XobniHow? Xobni is the Outlook plug-in that indexes your messages in a smart way! You not only have lightning fast search capabilities, but Xobni exposes email’s hidden social network by also visualizing your contacts network. It shows also your threaded conversations with him/her (no need to read all messages in threads anymore!), his/her instant contact details (auto-extracted!) and a one-click list of all attachments (most recent at the top!). Very efficient! Since the first day I use Xobni, every hour I am gaining minutes when processing my emails.

Xobni also displays useful statistics about your email relationships. At the top, you see a graph that shows you the time of day when your contact sends your email. This way you know when is (not) a good time to call him/her!

Extend this life hack even more by implementing the Skype plugin (SkypeFirefoxExtension.exe is integrated in the Skype Business Version now!). This little application turns phone numbers automatically in buttons, so you can start calling right away! Handy? Yes!

Start using Xobni today and you’ll experience how efficiency grows!

Enjoy every day,

Bert Verdonck

PS: of course you know that Xobni is the inverse for Inbox!