13 Tech hacks to make life easier

Mar 19, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. ET

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, right? These simple tricks will help you leverage the real power of your devices and even make them easier to use.

1. Charge your phone faster using airplane mode

airplane mode settings

Airplane mode isn't just for jet setters. It disables features features that are your phone's biggest battery-guzzlers.

2. Take super-stable (and secret) selfies with your headphones

The iPhone's standard headphones' volume buttons can be used to work the camera in most camera apps, so no more tell-tale "I look really hot today" arm stretch. #selfienotselfie

3. Make custom-fit earbuds with Sugru

Sugru can be molded like clay and dried overnight to become a strong, flexible silicone rubber, perfect for making these custom-fit DIY earbuds.

4. Save time with keyboard shortcuts

keyboard commands screenshot

Screenshot credit: ExcelJet

Especially if you're not a touch typist, moving your hand off your keyboard to grab the mouse adds time and wasted energy to any task. Just memorize a few of the more handy keyboard shortcuts and throw that pesky mouse in the trash.

5. Use accented characters to make your computer's passcode harder to guess

Just remember, if you're convinced Alexander Skarsgård is your OTP, people will eventually figure it out. Instead, use them on English words in places they don't belong. For example, Elizåbéth1989.

6. Keep your desktop clear for a faster computer

A cluttered desktop can seriously slow down your computer. Save files in your documents and use shortcut folders on the desktop for files you use frequently.

7. Use sticky notes to clean your keyboard and screen

Use the sticky part of sticky notes to do a quick cleaning between the keys on your keyboard and your computer screen when a full cleaning just isn't an option.

8. Use a breadbox to keep your gadgets charged and where you can find them

bread box charging station

Photo credit: Four Generations, One Roof

Build this cute and discrete breadbox charging station to plug your devices in the minute you get home. Not only will you always be able to find them, they'll will always be juiced up.

9. Use bread clips to label and organize cords

bread tag cord labels

Photo credit: Pintriedit

Why pay for expensive cord organizers when you can DIY with bread tags you're going to collect by the boatload anyway?

10. Use a real keyboard to type on your phone or tablet

You can buy wireless keyboards or connect your computer via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to type device to device.

11. Add keyboard shortcuts to your iPhone or iPad

keyboard shortcuts picture

Spend less time thumb typing (or just rule out common typos) by adding keyboard shortcuts.

Go to Settings > General > Keyboard. Click "Add New Shortcut." Type out the word or phrase you want to appear, then type the shortcut you want to use. When you type your shortcut, it will expand into the phrase.

12. Use Evernote to communicate with your family

evernote screenshot

Create a single account the whole family can use on any device (computer, phone or tablet) so you can all access a shared grocery list with a tap or click and leave notes for each other as needed.

13. Use separate user accounts for personal and business

embarrassing desktop featuring shirtless men

No need for your coworkers to see your private folders or know about your obsession with the boys of Twilight. Create a separate user account for work to give presentations with confidence.

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