Tech-hacking your life
Life in a digital era
In a world dominated by technology, it’s hard to image getting anything done without the help of our laptop, tablet, smartphone, smartwatch or smart you-name-it. Although tech solutions can be overwhelming at times, they make managing our complex lives easier. Read on to find out how to make technology work for you rather than the other way around.
Technology: both the culprit and the solution for busy lives
It is often said that the solution to a technological problem is usually a different type of technology, which illustrates our deep dependence and symbiosis with it today. Whether we have embraced it or not, technology is very much upon us and it’s in our best interest to learn how to benefit from it, rather than let it impact us negatively. So, what are some life hacks that help take advantage of the ubiquitous software and hardware solutions in our daily lives?
10 hacks that will change your daily life for the better
- Save time: with the help of your smartphone, you can screen calls, mute notifications and block spammers. Filtering through the noise and tuning out what’s not important can result in huge productivity gains over time.
- Focus on what matters: In the age of social media, it is easy to get distracted by checking your latest Instagram feed or Facebook messages while trying to concentrate on an important project. While some social usage can be relaxing, it is easy to overdose and lose focus while using addictive social apps or websites. Apps like Screen Time and SelfControl help you estimate your app usage and block social networks for a limited time. Use them to get your concentration and your productivity back.
- Save money: Most banking apps allow you to block online credit card usage for as long as you’d like. By doing this you are making online shopping a hassle for yourself. Logging into your banking app, unblocking and then blocking payments again makes you think twice about whether you really need that handbag or gadget. Following this tip can help minimize impulse purchases, ensuring your credit card is only open for those that are truly necessary.
- Ask for help: Although digital assistants are still far from perfect, Alexa, Siri and Cortana can help you accomplish simple tasks quickly. Setting a timer, checking the weather, doing a Google search and calling someone are some of the commands digital assistants can understand and complete in a jiffy.
- Go location-independent: Ever wish Google wasn’t always serving you local search results and ads? Go location-independent by turning off location tracking in your browser settings (mobile and desktop).
- Tune ads out: Most up-to-date browser versions today support ad-blocking extensions. If you’re tired of being retargeted at every turn, consider using incognito mode or an ad-blocker for a complete boycott of annoying web ads. Some news sites will only display free content when ads are enabled as their readership models are based on it, though there are many others you can still browse without falling victim to excessive ad spam.
- Check your health: Your smartphone and smartwatch can track your daily physical activity, heart rate, and sleeping patterns, revealing valuable health information that you can take to your doctor at your next physical checkup. Some apps even let you send summaries via email.
- Avoid surcharges: When booking flights or hotels online, for the best rates clear your cookies before you start your search or do it in your browser’s incognito mode. Many booking sites add surcharges to fares of repeat visitors. The reason behind this is that return visitors are much more likely to make a purchase than first-time visitors who may just be browsing and a have low purchase intent.
- Stay connected: Instead of collecting printed business cards in an old-fashioned rolodex, use a scanner app like ABBYY or CamCard, which converts cards to a digital format and stores them on the cloud for easy accessibility. This way your contacts will always be at your disposal, no matter which device you’re using.
- Record your brilliant thoughts: We all have these ‘aha’ or ‘Eureka’ moments throughout the day; though, we often fail to follow up on them. Recording yourself with a simple voice-recording app on your phone is easier and more natural than note-taking. The same applies to interesting dreams that you still remember when you wake up and typically forget 5 minutes later – just record them! If you prefer note-taking, apps like Google Keep, Evernote or Vesper can help you efficiently manage your thoughts on screen.