I collect Life Hacks because I love creative thinking and genius-inspired problem solving, so I thought I'd curate and compile a list for you.
See what you think, there are some real gems in here. Take what resonates with you and discard the rest. There are nine key categories: Habits, Health, Money, Productivity, Random, Relationships, Sleep, Studying and Weight Loss.
LIFE HACKS: HABITS
1. Make bad habits difficult to accomplish, i.e.: if you're watching too much TV, make a habit of keeping the remote at the back of a top shelf in your wardrobe.
2. Get into the habit of drinking a big glass of water (with lemon) first thing every morning, to re-hydrate your brain and body. You'll be amazed.
3. Park as far away from the door as possible to increase your daily step count, and take the stairs...obviously.
4. Stand up and stretch on the hour, every hour. Set an alarm if you need to. Your mind and body need the regular breaks.
5. Sit still and in silence for a few moments every day (ideally a minimum of 20 minutes a day). You can't see through boiling water, or "busy brain", so let yourself settle periodically to achieve clarity.
6. Get into the "Brain Dump" habit every night. Write down whatever comes to mind. Don't analyse it to death, don't edit, just get it out, so your subconscious mind knows it can let it go, because it's been dealt with and you'll now remember.
7. Create a personal mantra, i.e.: "I'm strong and capable and I can master anything", or "This too shall pass", and then repeat it to yourself in times of stress or crisis.
8. Who do you admire and why? What would they do in your situation? Get into the habit of asking yourself: "WW___ D?" (What Would ________ Do?), and then respond as you believe they would.
9. Get into the habit of responding to invitations with a polite "I'll check my calendar". Stop committing yourself to situations you don't want because you're unable/unwilling to say "No thank you" from the outset. This one Life Hack gives you wiggle room to make a considered decision, rather than a reflexive reaction.
LIFE HACKS: HEALTH
10. Remove splinters from hands by soaking them in water for 30 minutes, or applying ZamBuk to a hard to reach/soak area, and covering with a plaster/bandage for a day or two.
11. Check out the health benefits of Oil Pulling: from toothache, gum disease, sore throats, mouth ulcers, sinus congestion and even bad breath.
12. To cool your core body temperature down, run cold running water over your wrists.
13. When you have a stomachache, lay on your left side and rub your abdomen in clockwise circles.
14. Apply a heated teaspoon to a mosquito bite to quell the itching.
15. Eat 10-12 almonds to relieve a headache naturally.
16. Instantly heal paper cuts by applying Chapstick over them.
17. Leave your bike in plain sight, where you can see it clearly every day. Then, rather than taking the car, use your bike instead wherever possible, to improve fitness, help the environment and reduce your fuel costs.
LIFE HACKS: MONEY
18. If you're trying to curb your spending, don't touch anything whilst out and about. You're more likely to buy it if you touch it.
19. Pay insurance premiums annually wherever possible, because you're often charged a fee to pay them monthly.
20. Make a meal plan, before writing a shopping list each week, and only buy what you need. This reduces cost and waste.
21. Plan your weekly meal plan around the items/ingredients on sale. Use the online store app to check prices and special offers, to help you plan your meals. Learn which day of the week your preferred supermarket refreshes their offers, i.e.: Tesco refreshes their offers on a Tuesday, so if you create your meal plan on a Monday, your offers and prices could be incorrect.
22. Drink more water. Not only is it better for you mentally and physically, it's also cheaper than tea and coffee.
23. Create a household budget detailing your income (in black), and your planned expenditure (in red). This will help you ensure bills are paid, whilst helping you to anticipate your monthly disposable income. Review and update your actual income and expenditure on a daily or weekly basis, to keep your mind focused on your financial situation. This will help reduce unnecessary expenditure. The numbers you focus on improve.
24. In conjunction with your household budget, create a plan to pay down any debt, as this will eventually enhance your credit rating. A healthy credit rating improves your ability to obtain credit (loans, mortgages, finance) at a lower, preferential rate of interest. The less interest you pay naturally reduces your future expenditure levels, and increases your disposable income.
25. If you have debt, look for ways to cut your expenditure, i.e.: cancel TV and magazine subscriptions, make a flask rather than visit Starbucks, pack a lunch rather than buy in, tap water as opposed to bottled etc. The severity of your debt will dictate the severity of your cutbacks.
26. Always compare costs for products and services, never accept a first quoted cost automatically. A good rule of thumb is to obtain three quotes for a service and to have a good Google for a product. Also check out any cashback offers certain websites, banks and credit cards may offer you. Oh, and don't forget GroupOn!
27. Optimise supermarket Reward Card points, i.e.: Tesco Clubcard points are more valuable being spent elsewhere, i.e.: towards tickets for theme parks and theater trips etc. Do your research and optimise.
28. To ensure you really want/need that big purchase you're thinking about, wait 30 days. If the need is real, you'll still want it in a month. This drastically reduces impulse purchases and buyers remorse.
29. Employ a money saving app like Spendometer (iOS and Android) to organise your budget and track your spending. This app offers you spending reports so you can see where you can further tighten up, if needs be.
LIFE HACKS: PRODUCTIVITY
30. Whilst driving long car journeys, especially at night, listen to comedians because it's not possible to fall asleep whilst laughing.
31. The colour yellow reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy, so it's a good colour to use liberally in an office environment. Yellow also improves memory.
32. Eat avocados, blueberries, nuts, chocolate, tuna, eggs, tomatoes and beans to increase brain power. Not necessarily altogether though.
33. Eating apples is more effective for staying awake than drinking coffee.
34. The colour green stimulates creativity.
35. The Two-Minute Rule: If something will take you 2 minutes - or less - to complete, and can be done now, do it now.
36. Turn off the flash for your mobile phone camera (when you're not using it) to prolong battery life.
37. Chew the same flavour gum when you're studying, revising and sitting exams, to improve memory retention and recall.
38. Don't spend huge sums of money of Microsoft Office, get OpenOffice for free.
39. Turn off all alerts and put your mobile devices into Airplane Mode so you can concentrate and stay in the zone without distractions. Every time you're pulled out of your concentration it takes approximately 23 minutes and 15 seconds to regain the same high level of cognitive function as you were in pre-distraction. Turn off your devices if you're serious about achieving your goal.
40. The NET Principle (No Extra Time): If you have a long drive or car/train/plane journey, you're pretty much stuck until you get to your destination. Optimise this NET Principle by learning, reading/listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Don't fret over the time you spend doing this, because the time will pass anyway, so you may as well have new learning to show for the NET.
41. Clutter is stress inducing and time wasting (when having to pick up three things to find one other), so simply work in a clutter-free environment
42. Eat The Frog: Do the biggest and most unpleasant task first, to get it out of the way, otherwise you'll waste brainpower fretting about it - and even trying to get out of it altogether.
43. Don't drown in the shallow end of the pool, i.e.: don't sweat the small stuff (and it's all small stuff). Ask yourself: "Is this going to matter to me in 5 years times?" - and there's your answer.
44. Have three Vital Priority tasks on the go at any one time, so if you get bored of one, you have two other Vital options to jump to instead.
45. It's important to take regular, restful breaks. Our brains are designed to detect change, so when something stays consistent over a long enough period of time, our brains stop paying attention to it.
46. Plan! Planning is the rope that pulls you through the inevitable wilderness we all experience from time-to-time. Your plans will show you the way when you get lost and lose track.
47. Never hurry. Work methodically, not in fits and starts. It's not sexy, but it is productive. Remember the lessons from The Tortoise and the Hare; slow and steady wins the race.
48. Work by a window to enhance creativity and energy. Natural light is always a positive thing.
49. Multitasking is a myth and a fool's errand. It is better to do one thing at a time and exceptionally well, than a multitude of things in mediocrity.
50. There are only two ways to ever do anything: well, or again.
51. Perfection is an illusion. Focus instead on being better than yesterday.
52. Today is not finished until tomorrow is planned. Write out your Vital Priorities for tomorrow, so you can hit the ground running in the morning.
53. First thing every morning complete your Vital Priorities before all else, whilst your mind and body are at their most energised. Leave lesser tasks (like responding to email) until the important VP's are complete, because these routine tasks don't require the same high level of cognitive function.
LIFE HACKS: RANDOM
54. If you find yourself in an important meeting, needing to yawn when you'd really rather not yawn, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth. Weird, right?
55. If you feel like you're being watched, but you can't be sure, yawn. Yawning is contagious, so if you yawn, and they yawn, chances are they were watching you.
56. If you urgently need to pee, but have nowhere to go yet, try and think about sex, because it reduces the need to pee.
57. Remove stubborn labels and price stickers by heating the adhesive with a hairdryer.
58. Eat parsley to eradicate garlic-breath.
59. Make like a monkey and peel bananas from the bottom. You've being doing it wrong all these years.
60. If you're standing, talking to someone and their feet are pointing away from you, it's highly likely they want the conversation to end.
61. Unclog blocked drains by pouring half a cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar into it. It's cheaper and kinder to the environment. Brace yourself for some serious fizzing and froth-age.
62. Before visiting a walk-around zoo, research the colour of the keeper's uniforms, then wear the same colour if you want the animals to come closer to you.
LIFE HACKS: RELATIONSHIPS
63. You can accurately judge a persons character by how they treat waiters, or people who can do nothing for them, i.e. Big Issue sellers, shop staff, other passengers etc.
64. Take note of how others treat you when you're ill, as this is often an indication of what would comfort them when they're unwell.
65. Practice The Pause: Pause before you respond. Listen to hear, not for a gap to begin talking again. Think before you speak, because least said, soonest mended.
66. Sometimes silence is the answer. Not in a pulling-up-the-drawbridge-communication-breakdown kind of way, just a let-it-pass kind of wisdom. You do not have to attend every argument you're invited to.
67. Never interrupt your enemies when they're making mistakes.
68. If things are getting negatively heated, give yourself a Time Out. Take 5 minutes to take yourself out of the situation, find a private space and have an emotional reboot. Remember who you are and focus. This is better than letting things escalate to hysterical levels. Remember this: Arguing with a fool is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good at chess you are, the pigeon is just going to knock over the pieces, crap all over the board and strut around like it won anyway.
LIFE HACKS: SLEEP
69. Try to take not of your sleeping position when you wake up. This is probably your most comfortable sleeping position, so now you know how to settle down straight away tonight.
70. Stretch for 5 minutes before you sleep every night. This will relax you and help you find a comfortable sleeping position more easily (see Life Hack No. 69)
71. Put your phone and devices on Airplane Mode to reduce EMF's, which can disturb sleep.
72. Treat your bed like a recharging station, nothing more, nothing less. Treat your bed like a sacred place to sleep; no phones, tablets or laptops. Charge all devices in another room (see Life Hack No. 71)
73. If you're a heavy sleeper and habitually sleep through alarms, place your phone in an empty glass to amplify the alarm volume.
LIFE HACKS: STUDYING
74. Take notes using a variety of coloured ink. This enhances your visual memory/makes revision easier, whilst being more visually appealing.
75. When revising, focus on the number of repetitions, not the number of hours you practice or revise for.
76. Break everything down into more digestible chunks. This is significantly less intimidating, and small, frequent successes build your confidence.
77. Now create a "Chunk Chain". Focus on your repetitions (per Like Hack No. 75), and build each chunk upon the next chunk. Learning how each chunk relates to the next enhances memory and exam performance.
78. Brains love games, so create a rules and reward game with your learning schedule, i.e.: 90 minute work chunk = 30 minute comedy episode, a Wine Gum for every 500 words written etc.
79. Focus Bursts. Optimal concentrated effort can only be sustained for 90 minutes at a time, so consider these your chunks (see Life Hack Nos. 76 & 77). Any longer than 90 minutes and it's likely you'll suffer from the Law of Diminishing Returns, so intersperse your 90 minute Focus Bursts with 30 minutes of rest and recovery.
80. Spray an unfamiliar scent when you're studying/revising, and then again before you sit the exam, to evoke and stimulate your memory. The sense of smell is most closely linked to memory.
81. Write down key formulas at the beginning of an exam, whilst your mind and memory are at their freshest. With this critical information now downloaded, your mind is then free to concentrate and complete the exam, with the formulas readily available to reference.
82. If you're under a time constraint, listen to recorded lectures at double speed.
83. Should you be dyslexic, there is a font called Dyslexie, which may be of some assistance to you.
84. If you're not dyslexic, Times New Roman is the fastest and easiest font to read.
85. Use blocking apps like ColdTurkey to block distracting sites whilst you're working. These apps allow you to set time limits, i.e.: 90 minute Focus Bursts (re: Life Hack No. 79).
86. Make better, more comprehensive notes by pretending you're writing them for someone else, who perhaps doesn't know the subject. Never assume you'll remember anything or everything; complacency kills.
87. Every 20 minutes review newly learned material. This is a powerful memory enhancement technique.
88. Visit Google + "site:edu[subject]exam" to find old exam papers to practice with.
89. Visit sites like Quizlet which offers online, interactive, flash card, revision practice.
91. Studies have shown that handwritten notes are more effective when learning than typewritten notes, so hand write them first, before typing them up.
92. Create a cheat sheet you will never use. Think about what you would put on your hypothetical cheat sheet and why, then create it. By completing this exercise, more information is retained than if you had not created the (never to be used!) cheat sheet.
93. Study and work in well lit areas. Poorly lit environments will adversely effect your focus and visual clarity. Aim for soft and natural lighting (to convince your brain it's broad daylight waking hours).
94. Sleep! You're bright, you know this. Sleep is essential for healthy and efficient cognitive function. You will be able to think more clearly and logically when well-rested.
LIFE HACKS: WEIGHT LOSS
95. Use smaller plates and never eat more than you can lift in one sitting. It's also worth remembering the IN hole is significantly bigger than the OUT hole, and what doesn't make it out, takes up residence in the middle!
96. Drink 5 cups of green tea a day, it's a fat burner and packed with antioxidants.
97. Brush your teeth 20 minutes after your main evening meal to prevent night time snacking.
98. Store your high fat junk food in hard to reach places. By having to increase your level of effort to reach your junk food, you will be able to assess how much you actually want it. Often it's because it's there and easily available that leads to negative habits.
99. Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. Your body has fasted overnight, don't make it go into full-blown starvation mode, as this will increase the likelihood of binge eating.
100. Don't deny yourself treats. Portion out your goodies into small zip lock bags and then have the self-discipline to limit yourself to one zip locked treat per day. You can't lose weight without self-discipline. No self-discipline, no chance.
101. Always take food with you. Never allow yourself to go hungry. Your body panics if it thinks you're starving yourself, and will burn muscle before fat to keep you alive, so it's counter-productive to starve yourself.
There, that's it. 101 Life Hacks to enhance your New Year, I hope they serve you well. Please forward these onto your friends and family - anyone who will enjoy or benefit from them.
I hope your New Year is awe-inspiring and you achieve your goals and enjoy success.
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