Few things are more rewarding than learning a new skill, but most new skills take a lot of time and effort. Instead, we often find ourselves looking for instant gratification in the form of a cookie or a television program because the amount of time it takes to earn true gratification by learning a new skill is daunting. While you’re not going to master the guitar or Mandarin Chinese over the weekend, there are a few awesome skills you can learn in a few minutes and will save you time in the long run. Here are some of our favorites.
On the Computer
Shortcuts, shortcuts, shortcuts. Your keyboard was made for them, so why not add a few more to your arsenal. They can save you a lot of time on common takes and they’re easy to set up regardless of your operating system. Here are instructions for Windows, OS X, and Ubuntu.
In addition to adding your own, you’ll want to know the ones that already exist. For starters, brush up on Gmail, Google Docs, Facebook, all the stuff you can do from your browser’s address bar, and plenty of others for Windows, OS X, and Android. You can find even more shortcuts here.
If you aren’t using text expansion, you’re missing out on one of the best time-saving tricks in the book. We’ve highlighted the best text expansion apps for all platforms, and now iOS has text expansion shortcuts built-in. It’s easy to set up and you can save yourself hours of typing time every day.
Around the House
Everyday household chores are usually pretty boring, but there are ways you can speed them up. A tennis ball, this Japanese shirt folding method, binder clips, and a pinch of salt can not only speed up your laundry but make the process more effective as well. (More tips here.) If you want to build this DIY ironing board you’ll be able to iron your shirts much faster. If you want to learn more great clothing tricks, here are 10 you can learn in 60 seconds.
Laundry aside, you can eliminate a large amount of dust in your home with a setting on your heating/cooling unit. If any of that dust ends up on a ceiling fan, you can get it off quick with a pillowcase. Need to weigh something quickly? Use a hanger and some water. The contents of your wallet can also take the place of a ruler. When it comes to undoing a knot, twisting and pushing is one of the most effective methods. For more general household life hacks, here are 10 you can learn in 60 seconds.
In the Kitchen
The two biggest deterrents to cooking are probably the amount of time and effort it takes to do it well, meaning that the two biggest solutions involve learning to cook faster and speeding up your general kitchen skills.
If you want to cook faster and healthier, use a pressure cooker. There’s hardly any learning involved and it’ll significantly cut the time and effort you put into a meal. On top of that, your food will retain more nutritional value. If you want your pasta faster, cook it in cold water and use less of it. You can even use a frying pan. So long as you stir the pot a little more often, it’ll be ready to eat sooner than later. You can make oatmeal super fast without even measuring, make eggs or chocolate cake in a mug in about a minute, and much more.
You can also save time cooking and baking with a few simple tricks you can learn in a few seconds. Peeling a clove of garlic is incredibly tedious when you’re doing it by hand, but shaking it up in two bowls will do the job for you in 10 seconds. You can also save a few seconds and impress your friends by learning to crack an egg with one hand. You can even defrost frozen meat in half the time by using a hot water bath. For quick and easy measurements, just mark your jars in advance. If you make a mess in the microwave, you can clean it fast by steaming it with vinegar.
On the Go
When you’re out and about, there are a few tricks that can save you time when you’re in a rush (or not). If you need to get ahead in a line, using the word because is often all that’s necessary. If you master the Ian Knot, you won’t have to worry about your shoes coming untied too often because you’ll be able to re-tie them in about two seconds flat. If you only have one hand, however, this one-handed shoe-tying method will be especially useful for you. When you need to open a bottle but neglected to bring the proper equipment with you, just use your forearm. You only need one hand to eat a chicken wing, too.
Any of these skills should be able to pick up quickly and you can tackle a few whenever you feel like you need to learn something new and feel accomplished. Got any other quick-to-learn, time-saving skills that you love? Share ’em in the comments!