I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to discuss with some close friends some of our favorite “lifehacks.” This is the term we used for cheats or work-arounds that we have found useful in making our lives simpler, smoother, more productive, and happier. We shared some tricks we had gotten from both lifehacker.com (more technology focused), lifehack.org (more personal focused), and other sources. Through this discussion it became clear to me how valuable routines are in mechanizing the trivial and making time, energy, and focus for the meaningful in my life.
Here are some of my favorite “lifehacks.” What are yours?
Sleep – Adequate sleep is the #1 foundation to my well-being. Without adequate rest everything else is much harder at best and falls apart at worse.
Meditation – There is an avalanche of research on the benefits of meditation and I’ve been experiencing them myself. I take 10 minutes to meditate about 5 mornings each week. I’m working on doing it each day. I notice that when I don’t meditate everything seems to just get to me more and when I do my problem solving, focus, emotional centeredness, and stress are greatly improved.
Egg Bake – I recently did a health coaching session with my sister who suggested a Sunday evening egg bake that can be reheated with ease each morning during the week. I’ve loved this and mix in lots of veggies that haven’t been used that week in the fridge or harvested fresh from the garden. Each week is a bit different and it is just about impossible to mess up. One minute in the microwave and I have a high-protein and high nutrient delicious breakfast.
DVR – I almost never watch live TV anymore. I record TV shows and watch them on my schedule. Even live sporting events get recorded so that I can skip the commercials, time outs, free throws, etc. This greatly helps me not be bothered by the constant interruptions of family life (“Daddy, watch this!” “Honey, do you have a moment?”). It also means my TV watching is intentional and not a wasted time suck.
Menu Planning – We plan a full week’s menu each weekend. We decide who is cooking which night, what we are making, and make the grocery list. This eliminates the stress of deciding who is cooking, what we are having, and standing in front of the fridge wondering what concoction we can manifest.
Wunderlist – I think in lists. Wunderlist is a great app that houses all of my lists and even allows me to make lists within list. My lists include multiple to do lists, lists for each of my direct reports and my supervisor, books to read, blog topics, menu/grocery, and date locations we want to try. It is cloud based so it is always synced regardless of my location or device.
Audiobooks – I love learning but have almost no time to sit down and read. Grant turned me on to audiobooks and it has been amazing. I get about half the books I want for free through my local library and use an Audible account for anything that the library doesn’t carry. I learn during my workouts, commute, waiting for the dentist, airplanes, and more.
26 minutes – Brain Rules author John Medina points out that our brains need 26 minutes of sleep 12 hours after the mid-point of our night’s sleep. It boosts creativity and productivity. If you don’t get it your brain is distracted, yelling at you “You need a nap! You need a nap!” until you listen. Too much sleep and your brain shuts down. I don’t always get 26 minutes, but giving myself permission to get 26 minutes and being disciplined to stop at 26 minutes has really improved my energy.
What are you favorite lifehacks? Let’s get a good list going!