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What is the Best Life Hack?

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In search of the perfect trick to make life a bit smoother, we've gathered 17 of the best life hacks from a diverse group of professionals, including career and life coaches and founders. From using index tabs in journals to doing the right thing, these seasoned experts offer their top strategies for optimizing daily life.

Use Index Tabs in Journals

I love to journal to process my day, make plans for the future, track progress toward goals, and remember information such as resources, dates, etc. It was difficult to sort through all the information in my journals because much of it was no longer relevant. Once I'd checked it off my list, I no longer needed the information. However, some of it was good information that I wanted to remember and refer back to at some point in time. What to do? Aha! Index tabs! Now, once my journal is complete, I go through and use index tabs to label any information that I may need in the future. Of course, I would transcribe a contact's information into an address book, but information that is not as easily organized nor needed very often is readily available via my tabbed journals.

Helen Godfrey, Career & Life Coach, The Authentic Path

Adopt a Life Philosophy

Having a philosophy of life is the best hack there is. There are no instant wins with this strategy, but it will keep you grounded when times get tough. Knowing who you are and what you stand for is vital during difficult times. This applies to life in general and in business. Both of them are hard work, but with the right mindset and remembering your "why," you can turn any obstacle into an opportunity.

Benny Voncken, Stoic Life Coach / Motivational Speaker / Podcast Host, Via Stoica

Create an Ideal Week

My best life hack is creating and following an ideal week!

It's an exercise I do with all of my productivity consulting clients. All you do is create a blank calendar in Google or Outlook and set it to the weekly view. Map out your regular daily routines (eating, sleeping, hygiene, commute, etc.) and when you would ideally do your usual daily work and personal tasks. Finally, add anything you wish you were doing but might not be. Set them all to recurring.

It creates a powerful visual to set realistic expectations for what's possible in a given day and week, which so many people (myself included!) tend to overestimate.

Once you have your ideal week mapped out, you can use it as a framework for planning your week ahead. This helps you to make healthy decisions about what you commit to and prioritize the things that are important to you.

Ashley Janssen, Productivity Consultant, Ashley Janssen Consulting

Enjoy the Success Journey

My best life hack is not waiting to achieve success to start enjoying life, but finding joy in the journey towards success. By adding small pleasures and breaks into my daily routine, I keep a balanced life that makes me both motivated and happy. This way, I avoid burnout and can appreciate every step of my journey.

For example, when I was a digital nomad developing my career as an SEO consultant and building side hustles, I made sure to explore new places, enjoy local cultures, and savor different cuisines. Mixing work with travel allowed me to be productive while also having fun. This approach, shifting from 'I'll be happy when...' to 'I'm happy now while...' has been transformative, ensuring my pursuit of success is always paired with enjoyment and well-being.

Marco Genaro Palma, Freelance CMO and SEO Consultant, GenaroPalma.com

Embrace Micro-Habits

My best life hack is embracing micro-habits for continuous improvement. I break down big goals into tiny, manageable actions that take less than five minutes each day. This approach makes progress feel effortless and sustainable, leading to significant long-term achievements without overwhelming myself. Whether it's learning a new skill, improving my health, or advancing my career, these micro-habits accumulate over time, creating a powerful momentum of positive change. This method keeps me motivated, consistent, and constantly evolving, transforming my personal and professional life in profound ways.

Samuel Thimothy, Co-founder, OneIMS

Master Time Blocking

My best life hack is mastering the art of effective time management through the use of the "Time Blocking" technique. Time blocking involves dividing your day into distinct blocks of time, each dedicated to a specific task or group of tasks. This method not only helps in staying organized but also enhances productivity by reducing the tendency to multitask and allowing for deep focus on one activity at a time.

For instance, as an owner and CEO, my days are often filled with a variety of tasks, from strategic planning to team meetings and content creation. By allocating specific time blocks for each type of task, I ensure that I give my full attention to each responsibility without getting overwhelmed. For example, I might block off the first two hours of the day for strategic planning, followed by an hour for emails and communication, then a few hours for meetings, and so on. This structured approach not only keeps my day organized but also allows for flexibility to adjust as needed. Time blocking has been a game-changer in maintaining a balanced and productive workday, ultimately contributing to the success and efficiency of Honeymoons.com.

Jim Campbell, Founder & CEO, Honeymoons

Practice Daily Gratitude

My best life hack is practicing gratitude daily. Science shows that when you focus on your problems, you tend to magnify them, making them seem more overwhelming. This is because our brains are wired to amplify what we pay attention to, a concept known as the "negativity bias." On the other hand, focusing excessively on ourselves can lead to increased levels of neuroticism, where we become overly preoccupied with our own thoughts and concerns. Gratitude counteracts both of these tendencies. By intentionally focusing on what we're thankful for, we shift our mindset from one of scarcity and self-centeredness to one of abundance and outward focus.

Fun fact: You cannot experience gratitude and anxiety at the same time. Gratitude improves mental health and performance and even strengthens relationships. It helps us appreciate the positive aspects of our lives, no matter how small, and fosters a sense of connection with others. This simple habit can transform our perspective, making us more resilient, positive, and grounded.

Ryan Meghdies, Founder, Tastic Marketing

Acceptance as a Mental Hack

Humans are unique and rather complicated, especially when it comes to our minds. We can rapidly generate thoughts, and without realizing it, these thoughts can have a severe impact on our mental well-being. There is an old saying, "We are what we eat," well, I believe it should be, "We are what we think."

I work with a lot of individuals suffering from mental illness, and all of them want to be self-reliant. They want to be able to wake up with a smile on their face and embrace the day with a positive attitude. This is a common aspect among all of us. The best advice or "life hack" is acceptance.

This might come off as strange, as many of us are not willing to accept our downfalls. But, with acceptance comes acknowledgment, which is extremely powerful in accepting the situation for what it is, and without judgment. This small step allows you to free up energy to focus on the things that you have control over, like your thoughts, actions, and responses.

Acceptance also promotes mindfulness, which means that you can be present in the "now," observing and experiencing life as it happens. It allows you to be kind to yourself, even on the worst of days, which in turn assists in reducing stress and anxiety as well.

Remember, acceptance does not mean resignation; it is a way to find balance within yourself, leading to a healthier and happier you.

Ashley Murry, Chief Clinical Officer, Sana Lake Recovery

Prioritize and Say No Confidently

Embrace the fact that you're not Wonder Woman. It's okay to prioritize and excel in one area at a time without feeling guilty about neglecting the others.

Surround yourself with a crew of brilliant minds who can help steer your ship through stormy waters. You may still be navigating, but with the right team, you can weather any challenge.

Master the art of saying both "yes" and "no" with confidence. Learn to discern between essential tasks and unnecessary commitments to avoid burnout.

Don't get bogged down by the enormity of your to-do list. Focus on celebrating the small victories and mini-milestones along the way.

Suzanne Perez-Bernal, Principal, Co-Founder, ANDER & Co

Wake Up Early for Productivity

Sometimes, the best life hacks are the easiest ones. But imagine what you could get done with two extra hours at the beginning of your day before the encroaching responsibilities of life—family, other work, personal obligations—begin to take hold. By simply training yourself to wake up earlier in the day, early to the point that you are the only one up in the home, you'll be able to take advantage of your most productive self and work towards your larger goals with far more freedom than trying to squeeze it in during the day or, worse, trying to will yourself into motivation at the end of a long day.

Lora Shaw, Vice President of Operations, Pet Palace

Embrace Awkward Social Situations

I wouldn't call it a hack, but here's a counterintuitive approach to becoming more outgoing: Put yourself in awkward situations as much as you can.

We often avoid social situations for fear of stumbling, saying something silly, or appearing out of place. But by intentionally putting yourself in situations that might feel awkward at first, you begin to desensitize yourself to that discomfort.

Strike up a conversation with a stranger in line, join a club you know little about, or volunteer for a public speaking opportunity. The initial awkwardness is inevitable, but with each encounter, it lessens.

You'll learn to laugh it off, realize most people are more focused on themselves than judging you, and discover the joy of connection that comes from pushing your comfort zone. It acts like building a muscle. The more awkward situations you navigate, the stronger your social muscles become. You'll gain confidence in your ability to handle anything a social setting throws your way.

Plus, you might be surprised by the interesting conversations, unexpected friendships, and hidden talents you discover along the way. So, don't shy away from the awkward—embrace it as a stepping stone to becoming the outgoing person you've always wanted to be.

Ravi Siva Ram Teja, Full Stack Developer and Mentor, codegnan

Write Everything Down

Write stuff down. It's so easy to rely on your memory, but life's fast pace will make you think about other people, things, or ideas along the way. If you write down all of your new ideas, appointments, ambitions/goals, reminders, store list items, to-dos, and beyond, you hold yourself accountable. In an era where we keep a phone on us at all times, it's so easy to take a second or a few minutes to jot stuff down quickly to come back to later. You'll have everything in a single place that you can come back to so that you don't need to worry about missing that appointment, forgetting the toothpaste from the store, neglecting the fact that you need to clean up your kitchen, or letting an amazing idea escape you forever. Our memories are powerful, but can't do it all. So write this down. And don't hesitate to jot down the next thing you really don't want to forget.

Cristina Esguerra-Loayza, Experienced Product Strategy Manager, Paint N Ship

Make Good Habits Accessible

The key to building good habits often comes down to making them accessible. Think of your environment as a canvas. If you're aiming to sketch more often, don't keep your art supplies hidden away in a drawer. Have your sketchbook and pens out on your desk, ready to grab. This way, creating art becomes as second nature as grabbing your phone.

This principle doesn't just apply to creativity. Want to read more? Place a book by your bed instead of your phone. Healthy snacks? Put them at eye level in your fridge. By removing barriers and smoothing the pathway to the habits you want to cultivate, you'll find yourself naturally gravitating towards them. It's like setting yourself up for success every day without even thinking about it.

Eric Nine, Muralist / Fine Artist / Creative Director, Eric Nine

Apply Expected Return in Decisions

When I was learning how to play poker, I discovered a critical decision-making concept that I consistently apply in both business and life: Expected Return. This concept revolutionized the way I approach decisions by emphasizing the range of possible outcomes and their associated probabilities.

Essentially, every decision comes with a variety of potential results, each carrying its own probability of occurring. The real power of Expected Return comes when you combine these probabilities with the "magnitude" of each outcome, whether it's a positive gain or a negative loss. This approach forces you to consider not just the likelihood of each outcome but also the potential impact it could have.

The formula for "Expected Return" is straightforward and highly illuminating: you multiply each outcome by its probability and then sum these products. Even without delving into the math, this mindset ensures that you weigh both the probability and the magnitude of possible outcomes before making a decision. This has proven invaluable in assessing risks and benefits, enabling more informed and strategic choices in both personal and professional spheres.

Dr. Todd Minars, Owner & Dermatologist, Minars Dermatology

Understand Others' Perspectives

Having conflicts at work and in life is very common. However, to avoid conflicts and misjudging someone, understanding others' perspectives becomes important. My best life hack, which has always helped me keep calm and maintain relationships, is to put myself in others' shoes before passing any judgment. So many times, when I see a situation from someone else's side, I feel that they are right, and there's no need to blame them for the situation.

Being human, this tip has helped me stay grounded and humble, which I really appreciate. Moreover, it gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing I didn't hurt someone intentionally without listening to their side. This is my go-to tip, whether in my personal life or professional life.

David Light, Chief Development Officer, Landbrokermls

Move and Stretch Regularly

For me, making sure I get up periodically to move around and stretch is the best hack I've started using. It helps me stay productive and focused, plus it keeps me from being stationary all day. Moving also prevents my body from going stiff and uncomfortable, which can distract me from work. It's a balance you have to maintain between sitting and walking around!

Alexander Dodge, Account Executive, Bristol Associates, Inc.

Do the Right Thing

My husband and I are serial entrepreneurs and have learned many lessons throughout our careers. We have dealt with everything from unethical partners to difficult economic times, employee issues, and the struggles of getting a start-up off the ground! Our business experience includes ownership in plumbing, home flipping, sales, a tire store, farming, and roofing and exteriors for the last decade.

At the end of the day, the best life hack is so simple it's crazy. In our experience, the key to successful business ownership, and life for that matter, lies in just trying to do the right thing. In today's society, it sometimes feels like everyone is just looking out for themselves without regard for others.

However, it has been our experience that if we help others get to where they are going without expecting something in return, we will, by default, get where we are going. We have spent our years in business trying to help those around us achieve their goals while we are trying to achieve ours. We have found that this unselfish behavior helps us develop real relationships, and at the end of the day, relationships are what build business.

Ironically, my family is rewatching "My Name Is Earl" right now. In the introduction to that show, Earl says, "You know the kind of guy who does nothing but bad things and then wonders why his life sucks?" And that is my best life hack. If you only do bad things, what can you really expect in your life? However, we have found the contrary to be true as well. Good things will find you if you put good out there and try to do the right thing for the right reason.

Andrea OBrien, Operations, Custom Exteriors