Clearing Up a Blurry Work Life

NY Times

Shifting Careers

As the founding editor and lead blogger for Lifehacker, the popular site that offers “tech tricks, tips and downloads for getting things done,” Gina Trapani has become a go-to source for people who have become overwhelmed by the demands and complexities of modern technology. Ms. Trapani, who is also a computer programmer, is the author of “Upgrade Your Life” (Wiley, 2008), a wide-ranging reference on how everyday Joes and Janes can use the tools of a master geek to get things done smarter and faster on and off the job.

The following is an edited and condensed version of a series of interviews I did with Ms. Trapani, who works out of her home in San Diego, about ways we can be more productive at work:

Q. As a programmer, are there a few things you naturally do while sitting at a computer that make you more productive?

A. Keyboard shortcuts are popular among coders who spend their day typing. Moving your hand from keyboard to mouse, double clicking, moving the pointer, putting your hand back — that’s a lot of movement and it’s inefficient versus just hitting the keyboard combinations while your hands are on the keys. There are lots of ways to learn keyboard shortcuts. Most software comes with a quick reference you can print out and put near the keyboard. Use that instead of the mouse.

Q. What’s the secret to writing a successful to-do list, and must you do it the same way every day?

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