Photo: Gregor Halenda
If technology was supposed to free us, why do we waste so much time waiting for our computers to boot up, e-mails to download, and smartphones to find a signal? David Pogue, tech columnist at The New York Times, helps you reclaim your day.
1. Set your web browser to open all your favorite sites at once when you sign on; that way, when you finish glancing through the news headlines, your Facebook and Twitter pages—not to mention your favorite sample-sale site or guilty-pleasure pop culture blog—will already be loaded. (In Firefox, manually open the sites in different tabs, then designate the group as your homepage in your Preferences; in Safari, opt to "add bookmark for these tabs" and then set this new bookmark to open with your homepage).

2. Don't shut down your laptop. Windows' and Mac's superb standby functions—which use negligible power—save your screen intact when you close the lid and allow you to resume work in four seconds flat. Windows Vista and Windows 7 even go into zero-power hibernation mode automatically after 18 hours. (Desktops are a different story: Because they use more power, it's better to shut them down overnight.)

3. If you use a Mac, take advantage of a little-known function that can program your computer to boot up ten minutes before you arrive at work. (In your System Preferences in your drop-down Apple menu, click on Energy Saver and then Schedule.)

4. Download smartphone or iPad apps for the sites you visit most often remotely; apps are much faster than browsing the Web from these devices.

Next: Martha Beck's tips for managing your tech life


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