Life is effortless when you steal systems from others.
I spend a stupid amount of time searching the internet for the best life hacks that can help us win the day and lead to the good life. Here are the best ones I’ve found.
Throw KPIs in the bin
The world of work is so wrong.
A new way to think of work is to track your personal energy. If it’s high, you’re doing well. If it’s low, there are improvements needed. Energy also helps guide what you do and don’t work on.
If energy rushes out of your body when you hear a catchphrase like ‘meeting,’ adjust your life to go in another direction.
When the odds are stacked against you it’s an advantage
The life-is-unfair-crowd spend their day looking for injustices.
I don’t bother.
When mental illness held me back, I fought hard. When tech bros rejected me from jobs after I got fired, I hit back ten times harder and won. When critics told me I couldn’t write online, I wrote more stories to improve faster.
When the odds get stacked against you it adds extra motivation — you want to defeat the oppressor or work harder to reach the goal. Without the injustices you’d probably just cruise. I know I would.
Find opportunities where you have less than a 1% chance.
Scrap to-do lists and create one of these
A sexy term is known as leverage. It started in the finance world. Now it’s bled into productivity and work life.
George Mack says to-do lists are broken. He recommends a “leverage list.”
A to-do list is a series of lifeless tasks. A leverage list has actions that keep working for you after they’re done.
A simple example is to train your mother on how to use an iPhone. Or, record a video for your mother showing her how to use the iPhone so she can refer back to it without needing to call you every time.
Writing an eBook is another leverage task. You write the book once but it keeps making sales long after you publish it without you having to write.
A to-do list has tasks that keep magically reappearing. A leverage list has tasks that get done and stop reappearing.
Break the pattern of a boring life
Most days are nothing more than a set of repeatable patterns.
Not much changes day to day. Pretty soon you’re sleepwalking through life, completely unaware. A simple hack is to break the cycle.
Take a new route home. Eat at a different cafe. Order a different type of coffee. Play a different sport. Hang out with different friends. Join a brand new industry.
A micro change in environment can unlock a huge difference in thinking. What’s familiar goes unnoticed. What’s new enters your focus once more.
Use the ‘illusory truth effect’ to your advantage
Psychology holds golden nuggets too.
The ‘illusory truth effect’ is a psychology model that says the more times you hear a message, the more your brain starts to think it’s true.
You can hijack your brain’s system and artificially feed it untrue messages that give you advantages in life.
Affirmations are one such phenomenon. People pump themselves up by saying silly things like “I am great” in front of a mirror. Affirmations aren’t so silly when you understand how the brain works.
Program your mind, or be programmed. Choice is yours.
Plan your week like this
If you don’t plan then your phone will steal your attention and run your week for you. At the start of each week I spend 15 minutes planning.
I look at my daily, weekly, and master to-do list. I work out which goals I can achieve for that week. I put them in the calendar so I don’t forget, and allocate time to each one.
What gets scheduled gets executed.
If I miss this planning event, I estimate I waste about 10 hours a week trying to work out what I need to do next. Pain in the butt.
Know the right number of hours for success
A giant life hack is knowing how many hours it takes to achieve success with your biggest goal.
Stupid expectations are what drive people to give up on achievable goals. But if you know the right number of hours, you won’t get disappointed. Sahil Lavingia provides the rough cheat codes.
100 hours to be in the top 10%
1,000 hours to be in the top 1%
10,000 hours to be in the top 0.01%
100,000 hours to be one of the best
Start the week with a tiny win
The start of a new week can feel impossible when there’s a giant task boulder in your way.
To get into a flow state I make the first thing I write a one-sentence tweet. I’ve copied and pasted the same “start small” mantra to Mondays.
Small starts could be:
- One 15-minute phone call
- Reading a blog post for work for 10 minutes
- A 1- minute walk to get your brain thinking
- One small task from last week that you didn’t complete
Small starts work because they create momentum. And once momentum starts working in your favor you become unstoppable. Productivity guru Sahil Bloom has a motto:
Win Monday morning, win the week.
Work on your mind in your spare time
Many people think their enemy is Putin or the high school bully who threw stones at them in gym class and called them fat. Nope.
Mark Manson says “Your greatest (and only) enemy is your own mind.”
If you master your mind you master your life.
The best way to figure out how this pink piece of mush in your head works is to read psychology books.
Psychology is how you hack your brain to work in your favor. It’s how you reprogram and unlearn all the crap from school that limits your future.
Goals are what we want to happen. Anti-goals are what we don’t want to happen. Let’s go through an example.
Me: How would I grow my online business to five employees? That’s a traditional goal. The trick is to flip it upside down. What could go wrong if I grew my business to five employees?
- No spare time
- Angry wife
- More customer complaints
- Possibility of learning to hate writing
Now you address each problem with an anti-goal:
- Schedule time off in advance. Tell staff I only work 4 days a week.
- Get my wife involved in the plan so she’s happy in advance.
- Decide beforehand when and where I’ll write. Have a panic button I can push if writing starts to feel like a chore. And hire a writing coach in advance to monitor my relationship with writing.
- Buy customer complaint software. Get a virtual assistant who can handle complaints. Make the resolutions automated so I don’t have to decide on each one or get exposed to the negativity.
Some victories become a nightmare
It’s easy to set a traditional goal like get 1M downloads of my song. A victory like that can easily turn into what’s known as a “Pyrrhic victory.”
This type of win is where the success brings hidden downsides that nearly ruin the victor, turning the win into a defeat.
For great examples look at every successful Hollywood actor. It’s why TMZ tv exists to chase their downfall. What seems like a dream becomes a nightmare. Childhood actors are the best examples.
They get the movie deal and all the money. But they also get paparazzi chasing them everywhere, shallow friends who want to capitalize on their fame, easy access to drugs, and an ego the size of a hot air balloon.
Suddenly they become strangers in their own lonely bodies.
Anti-goals help you avoid becoming the next Johnny Depp.
An evening routine that crushes morning routines to death
Your day starts the night before. Read that again.
Teddy Mitrosilis recommends that the night before we decide on 1–2 priorities for the following day. Then we allocate a quick start task to each. They’re simply the first step for each priority.
If a goal is to run a marathon tomorrow then the first step would be to get your sports bag ready.
Planning your day the night before also involves getting your work area ready. Take all the crap off your desk the night before. Put the dirty laundry where it belongs so a pair of jocks don’t distract you while trying to work.
Another good one is to drop a nuke on tomorrow’s plan.
Look at your goals/priorities and remove one from the list. Every time something gets deleted you feel instant relief. Plus we have a habit of thinking we can achieve more in a day than we can.
Become a productivity pessimist the night before. It removes huge stress.