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Freeing Up Your Mind So You Can Think (Differently)

Once a year, or so, I like to step away from my practice of providing something provocative to ponder and instead introduce you to some sort of new tool or gadget I have found extremely helpful.

This time it's the concept of Life Hacking - Defined by Wikipedia as: any small productivity tool that solves an everyday problem in a clever or non-obvious way.

I've found three such hacks useful in taking care of things I previously thought about more than I needed to. You may have heard of these. If so, skip to the end and read an update on my free book promotion.

Life Hack #1 is the aforementioned Wikipedia. The online free encyclopedia has an ill-deserved reputation because too many people rely on it for what it isn't - a reliable source of factual information. I find it to be great starting point. If I hear a new term on the radio or learn of something I'd like to explore, Wikipedia has already "been there, done that." I have a Wiki widget on my Dashboard and use it frequently.

Life Hack #2 is del.icio.us. (That's a URL, by the way. No dot com, org or net). Most of my consulting assignments involve a good bit of research and del.icio.us allows me to catalog every web page I visit with literally one click of a mouse button. Download a very small application to your Firefox toolbar and you are ready to go. I can access my saved tags from any computer and I've used it to send groups of pertinent URLs to clients for their review.

Life Hack #3 is a fantastic memory enhancer for me, and an effective communication tool for others. With JOTT, I push a speed dial button on my Treo, dictate notes to myself (or anyone else I've previously set-up) and within minutes my voice message is transcribed and emailed to the recipient. It helps me keep track of expenses on the road. I used to have little scraps of paper all over my car from notes I tried to write to myself while whizzing down the freeway. I still have scraps of paper, but there's nothing written on them because the important stuff is already in my IN box.

I am sure there are others. You may have some of your own. The idea is to give your brain more time to do what it was created to do, which is something more than keep bunch of To Do lists up-to-date. If you have one you'd like to share with me, fire it off.

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