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Published on October 5, 2017

Google Search Tricks to Make Your Searches 10x Faster and Better

Google Search Tricks to Make Your Searches 10x Faster and Better

Let’s face it, Google’s impressive search engine has almost all the answers that you could possibly be looking for. You think of a query or questions, and then you ‘just Google it.’

We spend on average four hours per week on Google searches. Seems implausible? Think of all the times that you don’t quite get the search result you want. You may make several different efforts at entering search phrases. Not only that, but even if you enter the correct search phrase, you may need to have scrolled through pages of listings before finding exactly what you were looking for.

Your time is precious, don’t waste it with inefficient web searches. I’m going to introduce to you several little-known Google search tricks to supercharge your online searching!

1. Use the Exact Phrase

If you’re looking for something specific, then make sure you search by using the exact phrase. For example, if you’re looking to find out Tom Cruise’s height, type in the exact phrase into the Google search bar as follows: “Top Gun” This will instantly return only articles or websites that contain that exact phrase. (Please note that the “___” is what tells Google you’re only wanting exact phrase results.)

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    2. Exclude Terms With Minus

    This second tip is actually an extension of the first one. Staying with Top Gun, let’s say your exact phrase search “Top Gun” brings up dozens of articles that mention Tom Cruise. You could trim down the results list by excluding the word Cruise.

    To do this, you need to use the minus symbol before the word you want to exclude. Here’s how it should look: “Top Gun” -Cruise

      3. Say Hello to *

      In Google searches, the asterisk (*) offers two clever tricks.

      Firstly, it can help Google find a missing word in a phrase or quote. For example, try searching for this: Whether you *that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right I’ll leave you to discover the missing word and author of this quote.

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      The second trick the asterisk can perform is to search all words starting with a specific word. For instance, if you search: inst* This will bring up not just results with the words inst in it, and also variants such as instagram, institute and instructure.

        4. Make OR Your Search Friend

        This tip is super easy to use, and is a bit like going into a coffee shop and saying: “I don’t mind which cake I have, and I’m happy with either chocolate OR lemon.” In the virtual world, if you are unsure of the best search, or would like to do a multiple search at the same time, use the OR function. Here’s an example of how it should look: Batman or Thor This search will return results for both Batman and Thor. (Some results may be separate, others may contain both searched terms.)

          5. Use Synonym Searches

          I’m sure you’ve come across times when you can’t remember the exact name of an establishment or website. Your initial searches fail to find what you’re looking for. In cases like this, you might want to try a synonym search. How does it work? Well, let’s say that you were looking for Cafe Days in Haledon, New Jersey. But wait… you’re not sure if it’s Days or Daze? The quickest way to resolve this is to type the following into the search bar: Cafe Days Haledon ~Daze Google will immediately give you the answer you’re looking for.

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            6. Search Between Two Values

            I’m guessing that you won’t have come across this search tip before. However, it’s a super useful one to know about. For example, have you ever wanted to quickly find a list of U.S. presidents between certain years? Google can make this really easy for you. All you need to do is enter the following search phrase: U.S. presidents 1950.. 2000 In this example, the phrase will quickly return results showing all the U.S. presidents that served between 1950 and 2000. Just to be clear, the “..” followed by a space is what triggers this search function.

              7. Bring up Related Sites

              I personally use this handy search function a lot. It allows you to find websites similar to other websites. This is best explained with an example. Let’s say that you love going to National Geographic’s website, but you’d also like to see what other similar websites are available. Here’s what you need to type into the Google search bar: related:nationalgeographic.com This search will instantly return a list of similar sites to National Geographic. As I mentioned earlier, a super useful function.

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                Save Time and Frustration with Lightning-Fast Google Searches

                You want to find your football team’s latest score.

                You need advice on how to make a claim on your insurance.

                You’d love to know just how high your favorite mountain is.

                The list of possible searches is endless, but by using the seven tips I recommend in this article, you’ll save yourself valuable time, energy and headache.

                Whether at work or at home, you’ll find yourself being able to pinpoint information in super-quick time. You’ll also find yourself having a new relationship with the internet. One where you are a confident and masterful commander.

                I’m sure this article will give you everything you need to be a rapid-fire Google searcher, but if you need anymore information – just Google it!

                Featured photo credit: FirmBee via pixabay.com

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                Leon Ho

                Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

                Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

                There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

                How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

                Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

                Why is multitasking a myth?

                The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

                Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

                You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

                Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

                We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

                Your brain on multi-tasking

                Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

                When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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                But I can juggle multiple tasks!

                You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

                For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

                Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

                Why multitasking is failing you

                Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

                Multitasking wastes your time.

                You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

                In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

                It makes you dumber.

                A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

                You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

                This is an emotional response.

                There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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                Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

                It’ll wear you out.

                When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

                We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

                How to stop multitasking and work productively

                Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

                In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

                Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

                1. Consciously change gears

                Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

                As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

                This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

                2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

                Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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                Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

                This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

                3. Set aside distractions

                Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

                If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

                Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

                Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

                4. Take care of yourself

                We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

                Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

                In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

                5. Take a break

                People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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                Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

                6. Make technology your ally

                Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

                Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

                The key to productivity: Focus

                Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

                Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

                If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

                How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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