Helping You Help Yourself #32

feature image via shutterstock

How to deal with chronic lateness.

This only barely qualifies as a “tip,” but my favorite extremely-chill-non-game-game, Viridi, is now available for iOS and not just Steam! It’s a free game where you raise plants and soothing music plays. That’s the whole thing. Good for people who would like to look at something pretty and calming on their phone and/or cannot raise real plants for any reason.

my Viridi pot right now

Four questions that are billed as helping you overcome procrastination, but I think are actually just pretty good questions to ask in terms of planning your day and moving forward with projects of all kinds, regardless of your procrastionation habits.

I don’t understand Siri or have any idea how talking to her works, really; the only thing I ever utilizer her for is turning on timers when my hands are busy or dirty, like when I’m cooking, and whenever I try to do something else it inevitably turns out I’m imagining a functionality that isn’t there. SO I am thrilled to find this index of everything Hey, Siri can do, and maybe you will be too.

Here’s how to undress from fully clothed in 20 seconds. It’s billed as a way to quickly save someone from drowning, but I can think of some more day-to-day situations where you might want to undress without wasting time.

Last week I was thinking about how great I would be at the job of summarizing self-help books for wealthy busy people who don’t want to commit time to pursuing ~wellness~ (is this you? Still available for this amazing service!) but also immediately realized that someone has probably already done that, and I was more or less right about that. Many of the books summarized here are productivity/”getting ahead” books written by dudes, and there are some real yikes moments (“If you’re male, arrange to have a female friend accompany you on a night out to purposely laugh at your jokes”) but there are some good things too!

An article about how to break your small bad habits in your workday that, again, I think is fairly applicable to habits you know aren’t working for you anywhere in your life.

I am deeply suspicious of this suggestion to reset your caffeine tolerance by gradually halving your caffeine intake, but I think I felt similarly about the same writer’s post on ways to wake up without coffee that I linked to a while ago in this column, and so you know what, I think I am just overly defensive about my coffee intake and it’s great that someone is out there writing about how to drink less of it, because someone has to and it sure isn’t going to be me.

I never bothered learning how to clean silver because for 98% of my life I have not owned any, but someone gave us a very beautiful gift a couple years ago and now I do and it’s been really tarnished and I’ve felt terrible about it! So this weekend I finally looked up how to do it, and apparently it’s like this. I was sort of skeptical, as I am whenever something is supposed to be a Miracle DIY Cleaner, so I tested it. Result: it does work, although not quite as easily or miraculously as advertised. I found that scrubbing with the soft cloth was pretty necessary for anything to happen, but you know what, I’ll take it.

Left side tarnished, right side soaked and cleaned with a cloth

Is this the best sandwich to eat while driving? You tell me.

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Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Oh man, Rachel, I thought you’d forgotten the sandwich tip! I saw it in the teaser and I was so excited but then it kept not being the next thing on the list and then I got to the silver picture and I thought it was the end of the post! But really you were just saving the best (sandwiches) for last.

    (If anyone ever tried to cut my caffeine intake in half, I’d murder them.)

  2. I use Siri all the time. She is the first person I talk to every morning. But I did NOT know you can ask her to roll dice! I’m so excited for this feature!

      • “Siri, did you rest well? Tell me, what is the purpose of dreams?”

        Maybe I’ve been reading too much science fiction..

    • Same here! Works a treat, and I find that it still works well if its diluted a bit, so that should help a bit for cost-effectiveness.

      Another unrelated-but-maybe-helpful-to-someone tip – hairspray and a cloth can be used to clean black marker pen ink off of smooth surfaces.

      • My family uses cheap drugstore toothpaste to clean silver and it hasn’t been damaged in literally decades.

        Also, who takes 20 seconds to undress except maybe in the middle of winter?

  3. Silver is really cheap where my dad lives so he likes to give silver picture frames as a gift when he comes over. Makes him look good and it’s sorta inexpensive. I always tell him this is a something that makes the gift receiver love him at first And then hate him afterwards when they realize they have to clean it


    My life is gonna be SO different from now on

  5. I have used baking soda and aluminum foil in a pot of hot water (many explanations of details online) to clean silver for years. In addition to being cheap, rather than removing the oxidized silver, you’re reducing it to metal again.

  6. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that dipping your silver is often not great, because part of the loveliness of silver patterns is the tarnish in the crevices, which give the pattern more depth. Wenol metal polish is all I use–takes some rubbing, but it is gorgeous when it’s done!

    • Super impressed at other people around my age who are at the polishing silver (!) stage of their lives and not at the accidentally-throwing-away-ikea-flatware-in-moldy-tupperware stage of their lives, like me.

        • I only know this from work!! We’ve got 300 place settings of vintage silverware so I gotta know how to clean that shit hahaha

          (last week I threw away a tupperware container rather than clean it because I was too afraid to even open it)

  7. I mean I am chronically late and that article would definitely help me, but DO I WANT TO CHANGE???

  8. The sandwich article is wrong, the best road trip sandwich is clearly a breakfast sandwich from whatever fast food place is closest to your house (in PA we’re spoiled by Sheetz). They usually aren’t messy and the egg has protein so it keeps you full until you have to stop again for gas. Also it can sit for awhile and not make you sick because I’m not convinced the egg is real.

  9. I am always nearly late (not to be confused with the similar condition of being nearly always late). I know how it happens, but I am not sure why. My first problem is that I am an excellent sleeper, and will snooze or cancel all ten of my alarms without waking. My other problem is that no matter how much time I give myself to get ready, I will fill it, and then some. Whether I have five minutes or 30, I will use them all, and still spill my coffee running out the door.

    Anyway, I feel like this HYHY was designed specifically for me. Looking forward to reading those self help synopses, but like @waterchestnut, I’ll probably stick to breakfast sandwiches for my road trips (though my fake egg of choice comes from Yum Yums in Bucks county).

  10. That “How to Clean Silver” looks too complicated.

    Just like mix lemon juice and baking soda into a paste. Scrub or rub it into your silver and then rub it off with a dampened cloth.
    But if it’s really fucked up, not just tarnished but starting to corrode attack with steel wool or carefully with very fine grit sandpaper.
    Steel wool is cheaper than fine grit sandpaper tho…last time I checked, but I come from shipyard and factor workers and have inherited items here and there.

  11. Me: “I’d be ok with halving my caffeine intake, I guess. I mean…”

    Lifehacker: “You’ll need to survive an entire—potentially headache-filled—week with zero caffeine after that, so your body can properly reset itself.”

    Me: “Oh. Yeah, no.”

  12. “Ask yourself how you might lose out or suffer the consequences if you delay any further. And don’t focus just on the immediate impact. Strongly remind yourself of the long-term fallout that comes from habitual procrastination, from limited career growth, not enough money, deteriorating health, or damaged relationships.”

    Okay, this article was really great until it tried to give me an anxiety-induced heart attack!!?!???!???!? HELP

    • I had the same reaction! “Oh hey this is really helpf… OH MY GOD WAIT NO.” Apparently voluntarily leaping into a panic spiral is motivating for some people???

  13. Ugh–I’ve been working my way through a coffee/caffeine detox so these links came just at the right time!!

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