If Buffy hated junk mail…

CatalogChoice.org would be her doing spin kicks and driving stakes into the heart of unwanted catalogs trying to break into your home.

Thanks to my friend Nadav for pointing this one out! I'm having a great time going through the list and requesting not to get any more of anything I ever recall having arrived for some prior tenant of our apartment. Die catalogs die!

Bonus Time

Stuck waiting? Try to prepare things that will allow you to consider it a treat.

– Bring that book you've been wanting to get time to read with you when you go to the DMV for a replacement license.

– Put a few podcasts or recordings of interesting lectures on your MP3 player for that time the train breaks down.

– Always have paper and a pen with you so you can think about something you've been wanting to plan out.

Get inspired

Home projects don't have to be hard or huge. You can find great ideas on sites like Megan's Not Martha. Check out the places she links to and her own projects in her "how to make stuff" section.

You can often find useful help on Flickr. Try searching for the topic you're interested as tags. For example, you can find a tutorial on how to make paper which is tagged howto, papermaking, paper, craft and art. The howto tag is a good one to look for, along with tutorial and diy (Do It Yourself).

Here's another fun one: How To Make a Photocomic.

Really a beginner? Warm up with How To Enjoy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

Everybody knows how to do something, so get out that camera and make your own tutorials!

Keep it real

If you're doing something that espouses a particular philosophy, such as producing a magazine about living more simply, don't take on advertising in direct opposition to that philosophy, such as having the entire back page of your magazine be an ad for a Hummer.

(Yes, we thought they were a bit hypocritical before, but the current issue of Real Simple drives the nail in the coffin of their credibility. Lame, guys, very very lame.)

Avoid Unnecessary Hassle Time

Some things are a tedious pain in the butt. For instance, running out of prescription allergy medicine and having to go wait in line to renew it instead of doing it online or by mail because you threw away the box with the prescription number. Not having that magic number that is the key to resolving a situation can make a chore seem more than twice as big and could delay you for days.

This situation can be avoided.

In your contacts on your phone and/or in an email to yourself in a web-based email program like Gmail, note those sort of numbers that it would save you a ton of time to have later.

For example:
– prescription numbers
– your rental or homeowners insurance account number
– the phone number of an out-of-area friend or relation who could help you in case of a natural disaster
– your sizes and/or measurements (and those for others you often buy clothes for)
– membership numbers for things like the video rental shop, gym, discount cards for stores, frequent flyer clubs, etc. (and if they're in your phone, you don't have to carry all the dang cards around with you all the time)
– your landlord's and neighbor's phone number

Things you probably shouldn't list so as not to risk identity theft:
– social security number
– credit card numbers (though the contact numbers for lost cards are useful)

Center Yourself

Having figured out the projects that really matter to you and on which you're going to spend your time, think about how you can use that time more efficiently.

Is it easy for you to put in an hour on a project? Or do you spend half the time pulling together the supporting materials you need for it?

Here's a Lifehacker tip on organizing by tasks, "Organizing Hacks: Creating Centers".