Lifehacking originated amongst computer geeks, who, after discovering they needed to nerd things up more efficiently, devised scripts and tools to perform unwanted or repetitive tasks for them, like shaving. The term "lifehacking" has since expanded in scope beyond the computer world, and now includes any creative solution to everyday problems. Productivity enhancers still dominate the field, but if youre looking for a clever way to hang a cabinet or get skid marks out of your underpants, rest assured someone out theres got your back.
Because people are always asking us here at Cracked how we do the things we do (a question only exceeded by its mate: Why do you...) I thought Id share some of the lifehacking tips weve accumulated over the years that help us produce the high-in-quality-but-low-in-brow comedy weve become famous for.
1. Use To-do lists
Any paint huffing idiot can make a to-do list, but making a to-do list that actually works requires the higher cognitive power only a felt-pen sniffing idiot possesses. Leading felt pen sniffers agree that three key steps are required to get your to-do lists to work:
1a. Break items up into manageable chunks
Lets say I put in my to-do list the following entry: Defraud Swaim out of Swaim family fortune.
Looks good right? Its important, and now I wont forget to do it. But theres a problem here. The task is too big. Dozens of steps will be required in executing it, and I might not know where to begin (I do in this case: past post scheme at a rigged cockfighting parlor, or a confidence scam hinging on the price of potato futures). But by breaking this item up into several steps, I can tackle them individually with minimal stress and delay, and before I know it, I'll be$5,000 richer.
1b. Review the list regularly
Just like pornography, a to-do list wont work if you never look at it. Either keep your to-do list front and center in your work environment so its impossible to not see it, or set a regular time to review it each day. Like right after pornography time.
1c. Keep separate lists for different environments
The tasks youll have to do at work will be different from the tasks you have to do at home, so why confuse your to-do lists? Anywhere you have a lot of work to do or spend a lot of time is a valid candidate for a to-do list. I keep separate lists for work, home and school, and I know DOB keeps a special one just for the bathtub.
1d. To-do list software
In terms of software, theres tons of options available. I'm a minimalist, so I just use a plain text file and a program called Samurize to embed it in my desktop.
Note my simple priority system.2. Coding Tips
Cracked.com makes use of all the latest web technologies like HTML, CSS, XML, TDI, GHB, etc... Given the challenges of working with these diverse technologies, our web developers have developed a number of Greasemonkey scripts which they use to steal code from better websites. Most of our front end is simply Fark with some different colors, and our forum was lifted entirely from this place here.3. Keeping A Schedule
This shouldnt be that hard. Calendar programs like those found in Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar or your smartphone are all great at keeping schedules and reminding yourself of deadlines.
4. Find pictures of crotch bulges
Google Image Search is the classic way for doing this, but there are other superior ways as well. Try installing a pinhole camera in the dressing room of your local vintage dress store, and youll soon have pictures of hipsters trying on tight pants--along with other images of some value--streaming into your inbox faster than you'll know what to do with them. (Hint: You can sell them.)
5. Bail a coworker out of jail
Its a common enough occurrence at Cracked that we have a system all set for this. In our area, the bail amount typically set for public nuisance is a few hundred dollars, depending on how many chickens were set loose. So not a huge amount, but not trivial either. Fortunately weve got a mason jar in our kitchen area, which works sort of like a swear jar, only its for frustrated crying jags. Every time someone bursts out in tears and says, Fuck you guys, I quit, they have to put in a quarter. Theres usually a couple thousand bucks in there, so we just dip into it when we need it.
6. Put out fires
In the Cracked offices, none of our fire extinguishers are charged, and havent been since Gladstones last birthday party (Fuck you guys, I quit.) So were a little limited with firefighting options. Fortunately you can make your own fire extinguishing system by dumping a bottle of Mr. Bubbles in a dishwasher and taking the fuck off. Finally, remember that stop, drop and roll only works if its you thats on fire. We found that out the hard way one hilarious, but tragic, (but hilarious) day.
7. Look like youre working harder than you are
Oh dont look so surprised, Jack. Angling your computer monitor away from coworkers, using alt-tab and wearing a green accountants visor are all time honored ways to look like youre doing more work than you are. Heres another little trick I picked up from Brockway:
Replace your keyboard with a really loud one. Clickity clack clack clack. You know, super loud. Cowbell loud. Make sure everyone knows how loud it is. Then record yourself typing very rapidly. Then, when you find a suitable time, playback the recording on a loop. Then, when everyone thinks you're working, whiskey jacks. ("Whiskey jacks" is a game Brockway has devised where he drinks a pint of rye whiskey, and then throws things on the ground.)
8. Instantly come up with synonyms for male genitals
Whether you're a comedy writer or an appeals court judge, you can never have enough synonyms for junk. Here's a pro tip: Grab a thesaurus and look up all the synonyms for "Love" or "Lust." Pick one of those at random, then go to the Home Depot website, close your eyes and click around a bit.
"Love Baluster"? Good, but maybe a little esoteric. "Passion Lathe"? Sure, why not. "Deep Caulk Gun"? Yes.9. Get rid of a whole bunch of puppies
Because of the amount of comedy that gets done in back alleys and underneath bridge overpasses, Cracked staffers are always finding and bringing home stray dogs, on account of our enormous hearts, and the uncooked ground beef management requires us to carry around at all times. (Official company motto: Never a bad time for tacos.) This means that we constantly have to sweep the office of puppies and dogs, and because of the strict ethical code Cracked employees follow, we have to do it safely and hygienically. Our best trick is putting them in the elevator and sending them to the eighth floor, where Redbook is published. If Redbook is not published in your building, consider moving.
10. Hide in a toy store overnight
Comedys written during the day, and its starting to get dark out. Time to find a place to sleep. Like all who hail from the race of Men, Cracked writers constantly dream of spending the night in the local Toys 'R' Us. But this can be tricky. All of the obvious places will be inspected by store staff for homeless comedy writers before they lock up for the night. What to do?
The trick then is to hide in a non-obvious place. Like that huge bin of rubber balls they have near the front of the store. With the help of some accomplices, first stage a distraction. A good one is to have two friends walk around, loudly discussing how toy stores are similar to petting zoos, if you really think about it. While store security is busy dealing with them, youre wading into a bin of balls, quickly concealing yourself. That smell friend? Its not the toxic off-gassing of cheap Chinese rubber. Its success.11. Find things on Japanese websites
Even the bravest comedy writers have yet to plumb the complete depths of Japanese insanity, a fact which renders this small island nation into a limitless source of hilarity.
A key element of Japanese-mockery lies in gathering the appropriate images. The problem lies in the fact that, thanks to a fluke of geography, the Japanese werent brutally conquered by the English and now speak some bizarre Eastern tongue. Navigating Japanese websites is thus ridiculously, ridiculously hard. Even finding a suitable Japanese website can be nearly impossible.
One trick is to take the word youre looking for, punch it into a web translation engine and translate it to Japanese. Depending on the language packs youve got installed on your machine, you may or may not see Japanese characters or complete gobblydegook, but regardless, paste that shit into Google, and see what it digs up for you.
Did you try it? You found some pretty shocking pornography, didnt you? Yeah, that will happen. I was going to warn you before you did that, but then remembered that I didn't want to.