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Love Hack: How to Show Your Gadgets Some Valentine’s Day Love

Love Hack: How to Show Your Gadgets Some Valentine’s Day Love

    You know, just because our laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones are inanimate objects, doesn’t mean we can’t show them some love this Valentine’s Day. Rather than do too much for your human beloved, spend some quality time with the gadgets that you hold dear.

    Maintenance

    Devices now-a-days are pretty darn robust. Even ones that use Windows (holds for laughter). Regardless, you can show your devices and OS’s some love by doing some maintenance to them.

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    For desktops/laptops check to see if the items that are running at startup are needed as too many of them could potentially slow you down.

    • For Windows click Start > type msconfig and hit enter > click on the Startup tab > uncheck stuff you don’t want and restart.
    • For Mac click on System Preferences > click Users and Groups > under your user profile click Login Items > adjust them there.

    You can also defragment your hard drive with tools like Defraggler (the same company that makes the awesome cleanup app CCleaner) for Windows and iDefrag for Mac. You don’t really need to defragment a Mac as Apple has created routines in the background of OS X to take care of this, but every so often won’t hurt.

    Phones and tablets don’t require as much maintenance, but it can’t hurt to offload some pictures and videos, remove unneeded and unwanted apps, restart your OS every few days, and even give a good cleaning to those nasty touch screens.

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    Treat yourself – I mean, your gadgets – to some new apps

    After you have deleted some of those apps from you device, how about get some more that you really like? I mean, you love your device enough don’t you? We talk a lot about tools around here and there are some great ones for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and others. Here are some of the best that work on almost all platforms:

    Organize and tidy up

    There is nothing worse than a device that is lacking organization of files and programs. Of course, there are a host of new ways to not have to worry about organizing your devices files because of smarter and faster search utilities (like LaunchBar for Mac or SkyLight for Windows), but it’s always good to have some method to your madness.

    One good role of thumb is to have a folder in your ‘Documents’ folder for each Area of Focus in your life. One for personal, professional, side projects and businesses, your blog, etc. Inside of these folders you can take the focus even deeper, like finances, receipts (for bills and such), articles, TPS reports, etc.

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    Also, try to treat your desktop like a real desktop. Keep things that you are actively working on or need reminded of on your desktop and use efficient folder hierarchies and search for everything else.

    When it comes to your tablet and phone types of devices you are somewhat limited to the organization of files and placement of things on the desktop (that is of course if you are not on Android). Try to organize your apps in a natural way that you use them, like all of the important ones “docked” to the bottom of the screen (Android and iOS both support this). Then you could even organize your apps in folders like Entertainment, Games, Productivity, Photography, etc. Just remember to try to give everything its own place.

    Accessorize

    I’m a bit of a “all natural” kind of guy, not having too much excess added to my devices like cases and contraptions. But, there are some great additions that can be added to your beloved like new bluetooth keyboards, a pair of quality headphones (I can’t recommend Sennheiser HD 280 Pros or Klipsch Image S4 enough), or even a nice new bag for your laptop and gear.

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    A cheap way to show your devices some love is to purchase chargers for home, the car, and, your bag, and the office so you don’t get close to running out of juice throughout the day.

    Conclusion

    It isn’t hard to show your lovely gadgets true love this Valentine’s Day. But, keep in mind; you should follow our other Love Hacks before treating your gadget better than your significant others.

    (Photo credit: Smartphone and love hearts via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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