Selasa, 13 Desember 2011

Life Hacker

“The highest-performing people I know are those who have installed the best tricks in their lives.”—David Allen, productivity guru 1

Contrary to the popular misuse of the term to denote a computer criminal, a hacker is someone who solves a problem in a clever or non-obvious way. A lifehacker uses workarounds and shortcuts to overcome everyday difficulties of the modern worker: an interrupt-driven existence of too much to do and too many distractions to keep you from doing it. (Ding! You have 24 unread messages!)
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On a typical day at work your inbox and RSS reader are overflowing with unread items. You’ve got so many browser tabs open you can’t make out the page titles. You can’t remember where you saved the latest version of that presentation you were working on last night at home. The second you log onto
IM, your project manager messages you: “Got a minute?”

Information, interruptions, and distractions are aplenty but your attention is scarce, life’s short, and you need the right information now. How do you know what to concentrate on next? When you decide, will you be able to focus long enough to get anywhere with it? Life hacks are concrete ways you can filter out the noise and get to the signal.

In 2004, tech journalist Danny O’Brien interviewed several people he called “over-prolific alpha geeks”—skilled and highly productive technologists whose continuous output seemed unaffected by the constant disruptions of modern technology. O’Brien hoped to identify patterns in the way theseproductive techies managed their work processes. Commonalities did emerge, and the term life hacks was born.

The so-called alpha geeks had developed secret systems and tricks for getting through their daily drudgery. They used simple, flexible tools such as text files, email, and Unix command line scripts, and avoided bloated, complex software. They imposed their own structures on their information, and set up mechanisms that filtered and pushed the data they needed in front of their eyes at the right time automatically.

The life hacks concept resonated with geeks across the Internet, including the one typing these words. Amovement was born. In January of 2005, I began writing, a daily weblog devoted to life hacks. Almost two years later, I have the privilege of sharing the best life hacks that came out of that work with you in these pages.

Why Lifehacker?
My obsession with time-saving computer tricks developed through years computer programming. A programmer builds software that automates tasks to free up humans. Alife hack reprograms your personal workflow to save you time and effort. Alife hack uses technology in creative, imaginative, and unexpected ways.

The computers that hum away under our desks at home and at the office are incredibly powerful appliances, whose advanced capabilities go untapped by most. Personal computing is richer and more exciting than ever, but it takes insider knowledge and a willingness to go beyond the default settings to truly use it to your advantage.

This book will show you how.

Characteristics of a Lifehacker
In a spirit of playful curiosity, lifehackers love to discover and design new ways to get things done. When it comes to tech, lifehackers are the ultimate optimists: where there’s a will, there’s a way. Lifehackers excel at finding that needle in the haystack that is the web. Lifehackers are addicted to the “Ah-HA!” moments in life. Lifehackers go to great lengths to avoid tedious, mundane
work: they’d rather spend 2 hours and 59 minutes automating a 3-hour job than doing it manually.

Lifehackers expect to access their data from any Internet-connected device. Lifehackers keep their hands on the keyboard because mousing is inherently inefficient. Lifehackers get lost in their work and have to be reminded when it’s lunchtime. Lifehackers live and work on their computers, so their hard drives are their outboard brain.

Lifehackers use creative problem solving to work smart and get more done with less effort.

Who This Book Is For
This book is a self-help guide for the over-wired and the overwhelmed. Anyone from the technically savvy to the attention-challenged will find something useful in its pages. Seasoned Web surfers, knowledge workers, freelancers, early adopters, aspiring and accomplished geeks, programmers, tweakers, modders, and do-it-yourselfers will want to read this book. Anyone who has inadvertently burned three hours surfing the Web for no discernable reason, anyone who’s been buried under a stack of unread email messages, anyone who’s frustrated by disorder and wants to apply systematic structure in his life will find this book useful.

How to Use This Book
This book is divided into 10 chapters. Each describes a principle of the lifehacker and presents a number of hacks that accomplish that goal one way or another. There’s something here for beginners as well as the more tech-savvy reader, but not every solution will work for everyone. Each hack has its difficulty level, platform, and cost listed at the top. As much as possible, I chose to use platform-agnostic software that’s free or modestly priced.

Most of the hacks are hands-on software tutorials, so read this book near your computer to try them out as you go. Pick and choose the tricks that fit you best, and work them into your day.

You want to be one of those high performers with the best tricks installed in your life. You can be. You have the tools, you have the desire to find out more, and now you have the handbook.

Companion Web Site
The author has established a companion web site for this book: There she provides updates, links, references, and additional tips and tools regarding the hacks in the book. Additionally, you can append the chapter number to the URL (, for example) to go directly to a specific chapter’s updates.

1. David Allen, Getting Things Done (Penguin Books, 2001), 85.
2. “Interview: father of ‘life hacks’ Danny O’Brien,”, March 17, 2005 (

Copyright © 2007 by Gawker Media.
Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published simultaneously in Canada
Page 330

ISBN-13: 978-0-470-05065-1
ISBN-10: 0-470-05065-9

Manufactured in the United States of America
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