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80 How-To Sites Worth Bookmarking

80 How-To Sites Worth Bookmarking

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    Sitting on my dining room table, I currently have half a dozen projects in various states of doneness. Some involve vivisected computer parts, others will eventually be wearable and a few are just cool things I’ve ran across on the internet. I like doing things myself — I think the DIY bug is one of the best communicable diseases in the lifehack community.

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    These eighty sites are the places I turn to when I’m trying to figure out how to accomplish any particular goal. Any time I’m facing a new project, I start searching for how-tos that will help me figure out how other people did similar things and how likely I am to finish the project with all ten fingers still intact. I’ve broken them up into a few different categories, just to help you narrow down what you might be looking for. Some are simply archives full of tutorials. Some are blogs that publish how-tos fairly regularly. Some are just great resource sites. But they all have provided me with the information necessary to carry through on a project.

    Every How-To They Can Get Their Hands On

    These ten sites are more than happy to host any how-to around. I’ve seen everything from computer hardware hacks to instructions for brewing beer on these sites. This is the place to start — you can narrow down your search as you get a better idea of your project.

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    1. Make Magazine’s Blog
    2. Instructables
    3. How Stuff Works
    4. Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories
    5. wikiHow
    6. flickr
    7. Lifehacker
    8. DIY Happy
    9. Expert Village

    Become a Technophile in Ten Easy Steps

    Each of these sites focuses primarily on providing the hacks you need to make sure that you have the best hardware and software around. One word of warning: you might run across some obsolete answers to your questions in the archives. Software how-tos don’t age as well as tips on building new furniture

    1. Hack A Day
    2. Hack This Site
    3. I Hacked
    4. Hacked Gadgets
    5. Make Use Of
    6. HacksZine
    7. LifeClever
    8. Web Worker Daily
    9. Tipstrs

    Habitat Hacks You Can Live With

    If you’re ready to make your home a little more customized, these sites will walk you through projects ranging from building furniture to home theaters for beginners. Remember, when it comes to your landlord, begging forgiveness is probably easier than asking for permission.

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    1. Ikea Hacker
    2. DIY Ideas
    3. Home Doctor
    4. Acme How To
    5. Hints N Tips
    6. Ready Made
    7. FlyLady
    8. This Old House
    9. Home Tips

    Dining on a DIY Diet

    Frugality gurus and health nuts alike advocate making your own food. Very few of us have access to either Grandma or a professional chef willing to walk us through the steps of homemade food, though. It’s time to turn to a few how-tos and recipes that can help us out.

    1. Cooking for Engineers
    2. Bakers Banter
    3. The Pioneer Woman Cooks
    4. Epicurious
    5. The Amateur Gourmet
    6. Culinary Media Network
    7. 101 Cookbooks
    8. Gourmet Magazine
    9. Simply Recipes
    10. Open Source Food

    Sewing and Other ‘Feminine Arts’

    It seems like most crafters are have two X chromosomes, but there’s no reason to count out knitting just because you have a Y chromosome. Heck, even Rosey Grier, defensive linebacker for the LA Rams, knitted some nice scarves.

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    1. TipNut
    2. Craft Magazine’s Blog
    3. Craft Stylish
    4. Craftster
    5. Craftform
    6. WiseNeedle
    7. GetCrafty
    8. Crafttown
    9. Design Your Life
    10. Geek Crafts

    Doing Business Your Way

    Looking for some instructions on getting your business going a little faster? These sites have all sorts of tips, how-tos and ideas for getting your business up to speed. Keep in mind, though, that not every business is the same. Different businesses have different needs when if comes to growing.

    1. Productivity101
    2. 43Folders
    3. LifeDev
    4. Biz Plan Hacks
    5. Freelance Switch
    6. Anywired
    7. Young Entrepreneur
    8. Bootstrapping
    9. Copyblogger

    Hack Your Wallet and What’s In It

    No matter how you earn your money, keeping those dollars in your hands can be a struggle. Plenty of sites offer tips, tricks and tutorials to help you do just that — beyond improving your earning power, these sites can help you keep what you already have.

    1. Frugal Hacks
    2. WiseBread
    3. Get Rich Slowly
    4. The Simple Dollar
    5. The Motley Fool
    6. Five Cent Nickel
    7. Mighty Bargain Hunter
    8. Money Hacks
    9. Dividend Money

    Get Your Brain to the Optimal Level

    Not all projects have a clear end result. There are plenty of opportunities to improve how you approach new tasks, study for tests and generally use your brain. Personally, these projects are often my favorites: I don’t need lots of tools to carry them out and I can often use them to help my approach to other projects entirely.

    1. Dumb Little Man
    2. Zen Habits
    3. Mind Hacks
    4. Hack College
    5. Study Hacks
    6. The Growing Life
    7. Life Optimizer
    8. Lesson in Life
    9. GTD Times

    There are millions of sites out on the web with tutorials, instructions and tips for just about every project you dream up — not necessarily a site that can tell you how to do what you have planned, but definitely one that can give you a starting point. These eighty sites are just that — a starting point. These are places worth looking when you have a specific project in mind, sites that can get you started on your plans. Oh, and there’s one more that’s worth checking: LifeHack. I’d be horribly remiss if I didn’t mention this site: it’s an amazing resource when you’re trying to decide how to tackle a new project.

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    1 3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively 2 How to Master the Art of Prioritization 3 How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life 4 How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators 5 11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting Results

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    Last Updated on July 8, 2020

    3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

    3 Techniques for Setting Priorities Effectively

    It is easy, in the onrush of life, to become a reactor – to respond to everything that comes up, the moment it comes up, and give it your undivided attention until the next thing comes up.

    This is, of course, a recipe for madness. The feeling of loss of control over what you do and when is enough to drive you over the edge, and if that doesn’t get you, the wreckage of unfinished projects you leave in your wake will surely catch up with you.

    Having an inbox and processing it in a systematic way can help you gain back some of that control. But once you’ve processed out your inbox and listed all the tasks you need to get cracking on, you still have to figure out what to do the very next instant. On which of those tasks will your time best be spent, and which ones can wait?

    When we don’t set priorities, we tend to follow the path of least resistance. (And following the path of least resistance, as the late, great Utah Phillips reminded us, is what makes the river crooked!) That is, we’ll pick and sort through the things we need to do and work on the easiest ones – leaving the more difficult and less fun tasks for a “later” that, in many cases, never comes – or, worse, comes just before the action needs to be finished, throwing us into a whirlwind of activity, stress, and regret.

    This is why setting priorities is so important.

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    3 Effective Approaches to Set Priorities

    There are three basic approaches to setting priorities, each of which probably suits different kinds of personalities. The first is for procrastinators, people who put off unpleasant tasks. The second is for people who thrive on accomplishment, who need a stream of small victories to get through the day. And the third is for the more analytic types, who need to know that they’re working on the objectively most important thing possible at this moment. In order, then, they are:

    1. Eat a Frog

    There’s an old saying to the effect that if you wake up in the morning and eat a live frog, you can go through the day knowing that the worst thing that can possibly happen to you that day has already passed. In other words, the day can only get better!

    Popularized in Brian Tracy’s book Eat That Frog!, the idea here is that you tackle the biggest, hardest, and least appealing task first thing every day, so you can move through the rest of the day knowing that the worst has already passed.

    When you’ve got a fat old frog on your plate, you’ve really got to knuckle down. Another old saying says that when you’ve got to eat a frog, don’t spend too much time looking at it! It pays to keep this in mind if you’re the kind of person that procrastinates by “planning your attack” and “psyching yourself up” for half the day. Just open wide and chomp that frog, buddy! Otherwise, you’ll almost surely talk yourself out of doing anything at all.

    2. Move Big Rocks

    Maybe you’re not a procrastinator so much as a fiddler, someone who fills her or his time fussing over little tasks. You’re busy busy busy all the time, but somehow, nothing important ever seems to get done.

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    You need the wisdom of the pickle jar. Take a pickle jar and fill it up with sand. Now try to put a handful of rocks in there. You can’t, right? There’s no room.

    If it’s important to put the rocks in the jar, you’ve got to put the rocks in first. Fill the jar with rocks, now try pouring in some pebbles. See how they roll in and fill up the available space? Now throw in a couple handfuls of gravel. Again, it slides right into the cracks. Finally, pour in some sand.

    For the metaphorically impaired, the pickle jar is all the time you have in a day. You can fill it up with meaningless little busy-work tasks, leaving no room for the big stuff, or you can do the big stuff first, then the smaller stuff, and finally fill in the spare moments with the useless stuff.

    To put it into practice, sit down tonight before you go to bed and write down the three most important tasks you have to get done tomorrow. Don’t try to fit everything you need, or think you need, to do, just the three most important ones.

    In the morning, take out your list and attack the first “Big Rock”. Work on it until it’s done or you can’t make any further progress. Then move on to the second, and then the third. Once you’ve finished them all, you can start in with the little stuff, knowing you’ve made good progress on all the big stuff. And if you don’t get to the little stuff? You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished three big things. At the end of the day, nobody’s ever wished they’d spent more time arranging their pencil drawer instead of writing their novel, or printing mailing labels instead of landing a big client.

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    3. Covey Quadrants

    If you just can’t relax unless you absolutely know you’re working on the most important thing you could be working on at every instant, Stephen Covey’s quadrant system as written in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change might be for you.

    Covey suggests you divide a piece of paper into four sections, drawing a line across and a line from top to bottom. Into each of those quadrants, you put your tasks according to whether they are:

    1. Important and Urgent
    2. Important and Not Urgent
    3. Not Important but Urgent
    4. Not Important and Not Urgent

      The quadrant III and IV stuff is where we get bogged down in the trivial: phone calls, interruptions, meetings (QIII) and busy work, shooting the breeze, and other time wasters (QIV). Although some of this stuff might have some social value, if it interferes with your ability to do the things that are important to you, they need to go.

      Quadrant I and II are the tasks that are important to us. QI are crises, impending deadlines, and other work that needs to be done right now or terrible things will happen. If you’re really on top of your time management, you can minimize Q1 tasks, but you can never eliminate them – a car accident, someone getting ill, a natural disaster, these things all demand immediate action and are rarely planned for.

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      You’d like to spend as much time as possible in Quadrant II, plugging away at tasks that are important with plenty of time to really get into them and do the best possible job. This is the stuff that the QIII and QIV stuff takes time away from, so after you’ve plotted out your tasks on the Covey quadrant grid, according to your own sense of what’s important and what isn’t, work as much as possible on items in Quadrant II (and Quadrant I tasks when they arise).

      Getting to Know You

      Spend some time trying each of these approaches on for size. It’s hard to say what might work best for any given person – what fits one like a glove will be too binding and restrictive for another, and too loose and unstructured for a third. You’ll find you also need to spend some time figuring out what makes something important to you – what goals are your actions intended to move you towards.

      In the end, setting priorities is an exercise in self-knowledge. You need to know what tasks you’ll treat as a pleasure and which ones like torture, what tasks lead to your objectives and which ones lead you astray or, at best, have you spinning your wheels and going nowhere.

      These three are the best-known and most time-tested strategies out there, but maybe you’ve got a different idea you’d like to share? Tell us how you set your priorities in the comments.

      More Tips for Effective Prioritization

      Featured photo credit: Mille Sanders via unsplash.com

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