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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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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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