Downtime. Or, in same cases, dead times: waiting rooms, lines, traffic, the moments in between appointments. Those places where you get nowhere quickly, but live in effective purgatory, embracing neither productivity or relaxation. To the overly ambitious (or those suffering from some form of adult ADHD), these are the times that try your soul in that special kind of slow-drip water torture way.
Sure, you could kill your dead time by scrolling through Instagram. You may even decide to do something useful with your phone, like one-liner email replies or clearing out your old voicemail. But what if you want to occasionally limit your exposure to the little blue screen that wasn’t a crucial part of human existence before 2007?
In lieu of time-killers, here are four suggestions for time-fillers that you can perform with absolutely no equipment other than your mind and your body (as well as one that requires a simple piece of string). These are especially helpful if you’re stuck in a situation where you really shouldn’t be using your phone, like stop-and-go traffic.
Knot tying. It’s a thing. If you read any "men's lifestyle" content, you've no doubt seen an exhaustive list of "essential knots every man needs to know." You proceed to read their list of seven, or ten, or fourteen, and by the time you get to the bottom of the list, you can't even remember the name of the first one, let alone how to tie it.
The bowline knot is not just for sailors. Nor anglers, mountaineers, first responders, or anyone else who need to know a huge diversity of knots, their strengths and weaknesses, and what situation calls for each.
This is for the rest of us. Those of us who go through normal life and its adventures, and encounter rope, twine, string, line, paracord, and the like, and when we need to secure it, say "Should I tie this like my shoes, or in a square know that I know will be nearly impossible to get off when I'm done."
The truth is, at this point in our lives, we're probably not going to learn how to tie a complex cavalcade of knots, and even if we did, would probably not have enough opportunity to practice them in real world situations in order to commit them to long term memory.
But, still, we should all know how to tie at least one pro-level option, and so we say to you — if you're only going to know how to tie one kind of knot, let it be the Bowline Knot
Knowing how to start a campfire is an essential life skill, for sure, and most of us have our preferred technique: the lean-to, the tepee, the log cabin. But, even though most fires aren't started in emergency, or even in one-match situations, that's part of the fun. Once you've learned how to do it without turning a gas knob or lighting one of those Duralast logs, lighting a fire with one match (or spark from a starter) becomes part of the game, even if you have a whole box at your side.
It seems like a cliche now, but for what feels like a generation we've been living with the idea that libraries are dead. The idea of a library, for many of us, is of a kind of museum full of things that might be curiosities. But like many brick-and-mortar institutions of old, we don't need what's inside. This point of view is understandable, but it is a huge mistake. Because libraries are not falling behind our digital way of thinking––they were way ahead of all of us in realizing how we would wish information to be available and how we wanted to engage it. Think about it: Libraries collect all kinds of information, all kinds of media
"Brassica" has become my new favorite word. It is the Latin word for "cabbage" (or also, "cauliflower"), as well as the scientific name for the genus of plants that includes green, slightly bitter, slightly salty, members of the mustard family. The brassicas are the dominant representatives in the dark green vegetable world: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, mustard greens, kohlrab , Brussels sprouts, turnips, rutabega, rapini, and that amazing and unsung hero of the Asian grocery, gai lan or Chinese broccoli. They are durable and variable plants, defined by their green leaves and bright yellow flowers. They are, without
If you've watched the recent four-season BBC Sherlock series, you may recall that the titular character expertly played by Benedict Cumberbatch goes spelunking deep into his "mind palace" for details to solve his cases. The idea of an eidetic memory (the ability to recall information after mere moments of passive exposure to it) is debated, but if you watch carefully, it seems that Holmes constantly, actively stores information in imaginary places in his mind.
This is a tool grounded in reality, it's older than dirt, and you can use it to memorize virtually any set of information, from bank account numbers, to anatomical terms for med school, to Brazilian jiu-jitsu moves.
Let's go diving!
Here's the thing about beef: it's expensive. And it should be; it's a part of a huge, expensive-to-raise animal. So, when you've invested in a high-quality piece of meat, especially a nice thick one, you don't want to screw it up. This recipe is the only way I cook it, partially because it's so darned easy, but mostly because it's the best steak I've ever tasted. Here's how to do it.
You know those tasks. The ones that you know won't actually consume that much time, but you imagine will take *just* long enough that you just can't motivate yourself to just step up and get it done.
Shining your shoes doesn't have to be one of them. True story. Provided you've got the right gear and a little technique, you can bring your leather shoes and boots back into shape in less than sixty seconds.
I'm consistently blown away by the ingenuity of mind behind PrimitiveTechnology. We’ve featured his work before, and if you haven’t seen him, he’s created a series of wordless YouTube videos in which he showcases brilliant yet simple survival skills that could make all the difference to one’s survival in the wilderness. And while I love learning survival skills as much as the next guy, there’s something more to his videos that strike me...
I wish I could say I loved winning as much as I hate losing (what's up, negativity bias) but unfortunately I can't. So generally speaking I avoid boardwalk-type games that are usually unevenly weighted against the participant, but the recent fervor of state fair mania in my hometown got me thinking about them, when I conveniently came across this...
This is real MacGyver territory. I've been stuck in a handful of urban survival situations and the inevitably dying phone battery is by far one of the more pressing issues. Most important will of course be immediate safety, shelter, water and food, etc., but it's likely that the use of a phone will help you secure those things. And when the power is knocked out it can be a real challenge.
Most adults find learning a new language to be particularly difficult. In fact studies show that the number one way to increase your odds of picking up a new language is to already speak a couple languages. But don't lose hope! There are still some streamlined ways to get yourself self off the ground and immerse in a new culture's way of communicating...
Yesterday I had the wonderful experience of driving a manual Fiat up and down a single-lane highway through the mountains of California with a special lady I was trying to impress. Luckily I only stalled the car at two points, but I think stalled it about 8 times at both of those points and that is not an exaggeration. It was fairly emasculating for me, but she seemed to enjoy my shame...
There's nothing more impressive than walking through a man's workshop, seeing the cool projects he's working to bring into existence out of nothing, and then realizing that even his tools are made from scratch. I can only fathom the satisfaction and forward momentum one must feel when beginning a hearty new endeavor and seeing the fruits of your past creative labors supporting you in the process of new creation.
We're definitely not advocating violence, but there are lots of good physical and health reasons to know how to think quickly on your feet. Plus, it's a killer workout. Who's in better shape than boxers?
Tim Morgan, a veteran commercial pilot and regular Quora contributor took it upon himself to answer the (oddly) popular question, "What should I do if the pilot passes out and I (with no flight training) have to land the plane?" If you want to really be prepared for anything an action hero might face, this post is for you.
Mazda recently held their inaugural Mazda Ice Academy in Crested Butte, Colorado. What's that, you ask? Apparently Mazda invited a bunch of journalists to the snowy mountains to have them test out their newest models in blizzard and bizarre conditions. Part of this particular boot camp however included extended training on how to drive in snowy conditions.
The art of the memory palace (or method of loci) dates back to Ancient Rome with rhetorical treatises on how to memorize anything based on the art of visualization and associating the things needing to be remembered with those imagined spaces. Believe it or not, this is still one of the most famous methods used by Memory Champions today (yes that is a real thing).