I’ve found that there are little time-saving tricks I use day to day that other people don’t use, and indeed often don’t understand when I try to explain them.
For example, I have a certain way to tally and add things up on my fingers that my mother taught me when I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. On my left hand I tally starting with my little finger and count upwards, 1 2 3 4, to the index finger, and then use the thumb to signify 5. The other four fingers are “cleared” at this point, and I can use them to keep counting up to 9 on one hand. (E.g., 8 = thumb plus index finger, middle finger, and last the ring finger.
Once I reach 9, I advance one more by transferring the tally to my right hand, where each finger signifies a multiple of 10–except the thumb, which signifies 50. Using all ten of my fingers in combination, I can count up to 99. And I can rapidly add two numbers together as long as the sum comes to 99 or below.
Does that make any sense at all? This counting method is second nature to me, but I’m the only one who ever uses it (that I know of) and it’s bloody hard to explain! I’ve tried to teach it to my wife, but she never “gets” it, or perhaps just isn’t that interested.
Another thing I came up with on my own: I sometimes work as an editor, and occasionally I want to check two printouts of a document to see if they’re exactly the same version. Fast way to do this: I put two versions of the same page side by side, cross my eyes so that one page seems to go “on top” of the other, and look at a “combined” page as if it were a 3D Viewmaster. If there is a difference of even one word between the two, my binocular vision makes the errant word leap out at me.
Needless to say, anyone I’ve tried explaining this to looks at me like I’ve grown a third nose or something.
Have you ever heard of or tried these tricks yourself? Any others of your own you’d like to share?