Life-hack your way to an efficient life!
Easy to learn "Life-hack" skills
Have you ever looked at somebody else and been amazed at how much they can accomplish in a day? It may seem that some people have more hours in the day, or don't sleep, but the reality is they simply use their time better than you. This concept of "Time management" as it is most commonly known eludes us for the better part of our childhood, and young adult life. Unfortunately, most of us will not master the use of our daily time allotment until later in our life, if at all. Below are a few "life-hacks" for time efficiency that I have learned throughout the years, and I hope they will get you on the path to efficiency!
(Most important one is on the bottom)
For the greater part of my youth I was the typical young male that “hated reading.” Whether that is because of what I was reading, or a matter of principal because it was forced upon me by school, reading had left a sour taste in my mouth. Unfortunately, this mentality followed me until I was 24 and the only books I read were from the Commandant of the Marine Corps professional reading list (which I only read because it looked good for promotion).
Then one day on recruiting duty that would all change! I had been told that I should read Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, and when I explained my distain for reading they told me to try listening to it as an audio book (from Audible) while driving. I thought this was a little weird, but since a large portion of time was spent behind the steering wheel that day I decided to give it a shot, and this book changed my life!
After discovering that I enjoyed audio books, and begin to listen to one book after another. I even had to increase my monthly membership from two free downloads, to three every month! This in turn led to me picking up physical books to read every morning when I first wake up, and it was during this time that I realized I wasn’t a very good reader.
I decided to change this by taking a speed reading course which more than doubled my reading ability, and now I can read entire books on one airplane flight! This ability to speed read has increased my ability to learn a new subject, and therefore increased my knowledge and confidence exponentially!
More on how reading changed my life in a later blog!
Believe it or not there are still many “peckers” in the world. These are the people who type by using just their pointer finger (or sometimes just the middle finger) and this not only makes them very slow, but also extremely inaccurate, and unable to focus on anything else while typing.
I was lucky enough to be taught how to type at an early age, and while I might not be the fastest typist in the world I am fully capable of typing 70-80 words per minute, and can even type accurately while holding a conversation with somebody. This skillset has paid me dividends in life by exponentially shortening the amount of time required to type essays, emails, blogs, and memos. These things are a necessary part of my life, but they don’t need to be a huge time-suck. I can’t recall the typing program I learned on, but a quick google search revealed Typsey to have great reviews, and a seemingly comprehensive and flexible program in order to help you whittle your keyboard time down!
Prepping your meals for the day the night before will clear up time in the morning/afternoon for you to be productive. Meal-prepping is also a surefire way to mitigate over-eating, eating junk food, and spending money eating out.
The professional meal-prepper will spend one afternoon (Sunday for me) and prepare all of their meals for the workweek. By doing this I am able to eliminate cooking throughout the week, cut down costs, and eat a more balanced diet. Meal preparation is a great way to save time, money, and inches (on your waist).
Optimizing work clothes
The military does a great job of this by forcing us to wear a uniform everyday they have effectively eliminated the “what shall I wear today” conundrum.
Many famous people have talked about how they have a wardrobe full of virtually the same clothes so they don’t have to worry about what to wear. The two people that come to mind immediately are the late Steve Jobs (jeans and a black turtleneck/t-shirt), and President Obama (similar suit every day). This clears the mind for making more important decisions, and shaves time off the morning routine.
A quick google search will show several methods to shorten how long it takes to fold laundry (a chore many adults loathe). I got this down to about 6 seconds per shirt, and it is actually a little more fun to fold laundry this way too!
Packing is another easy to learn skill, whether it is the order of loading the suitcase, airtight bags to shrink clothes, or filling empty space in shoes with items these skills are sure to make packing easier, and traveling more convenient.
Optimize google searches
I won’t go into much detail here, if you want to learn this skill perhaps it is wise to practice by using google to find out how to optimize your google searches (see what I did there). Just know there are words and symbols that can be used to greatly improve your search results, and make you more effective at researching/learning new information. (more on this in a later blog post)
Phonetic alphabetAlpha November Bravo Oscar Charlie Papa Delta Quebec Echo Romeo Foxtrot Sierra Golf Tango Hotel Uniform India Victor Juliet Whiskey Kilo X-ray Lima Yankee Mike Zulu
If you use anything else you’re a terrorist. Obviously, I’m joking, but this is the phonetic alphabet used by the military, and is the most recognized way to spell anything verbally. It is extremely distracting to hear a sales person repeat my name back to me as “P as in paul, E as in eagle, R as in raffle, E as in elephant.” Or something ridiculous as though they are making it up as they go. This frustration gets compounded ten-fold when the same sales person doesn’t understand “Papa Echo Romeo Echo” Which is the correct way to utilize the phonetic alphabet. There is no reason to say “P as in papa,” simply state “Papa” and the world will understand!
This seemingly small, and simple, concept could revolutionize phone calls by getting everybody on the same page. (Also, nobody says “10-4” anymore, and “over and out” is ridiculous, if you don’t know how to talk on the radio don’t pretend because you know the recipient is/was in the military.)
The short and sweet explanation here is that planning your month, week, and day out (in that order) will alleviate a lot of stress and confusion, while simultaneously organizing your life in a manner that is aimed at accomplishing your goals. I will get much deeper into monthly planning at a later date, but suffice it to say that I still plan my month, week, and day out routinely, and re-evaluate my daily plan every morning/evening. This is a great way to focus on the tasks at hand, and avoid wasting time on fluff.
The name of the game is efficiency. The more streamlined your life becomes the more time you have to focus on your why, and this additional time focused on attaining your why will compound to create great amounts of success. These few life-hacks are ways that I have been increasing my productive time, and limiting my unproductive time, and I’m sure that with a little practice you will be operating smoothly as well!
Help me get even more efficient, what are some of the life-hacks that you use?