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The 100 Best Lifehacks of 2011: The Year in Review

The 100 Best Lifehacks of 2011: The Year in Review

    Another year is coming to a close this weekend, and it’s been a banner one here at Lifehack.

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    As you’ll see below, one of our most popular posts of 2011 was our 100 Best Lifehacks of 2010 article, which flows nicely into this post which will outline the 100 Best Lifehack of 2011. Unlike last year’s list, there’s a few changes we put into place before delivering this list to our readers.

    First off, the overall top 10 posts are determined by overall traffic during the past year, as well as engagement on social networks. The articles come from a wide variety of our website’s categories, whereas the remaining 90 articles are divided up into the primary categories that we write about at Lifehack: Communication, Lifestyle, Management, Money, Productivity and Technology.

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    Those 90 posts were decided on based on visits to each article, social media interaction, comments and then were finally curated by the Lifehack editorial team. Each category has 15 articles that made the cut for this year’s list as well.

    You’ve got a lot of reading to do here, os let’s get started…

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    Top 10 Most Popular Posts in 2011

    Communication

    1. Why You & Your Business Need to be Involved in Social Media
    2. How to Work Through Blog Burn Out
    3. How to Deal with Criticism in One Single Step
    4. 7 Ways to Build Your Network Without Using People
    5. 5 Simple And Obvious Tips For Better Communication
    6. Simplify Family Life With A Communication Station
    7. How to Write Better and Faster
    8. Start a Conversation with a Stranger without Sounding Desperate
    9. Do You Unnecessarily Point Out Flaws?
    10. Getting NaNoWriMo Done: How to Write a Novel in 30 Days
    11. How to Hack Language Learning
    12. How to Get a Book Contract in 6 Months (with a Blog)
    13. Mind Hack: The Philosophy of One
    14. 3 Ruthless Email Responses to Achieve Inbox Zero
    15. Starting A Blog in 2012? Avoid These 7 New Blogger Blunders

    Lifestyle

    1. What a Karate Weapon Taught Me About Achieving Big Goals
    2. 6 Easy Tips for Living with 100 Items or Less
    3. 10 Ways Improve Your Memory & Boost Brainpower
    4. Instant De-stress Tips: 7 Foods You Should be Eating Right Now
    5. Why Fear is Your Friend
    6. 10 Insanely Awesome Inspirational Manifestos
    7. 7 Benefits of Exercise (and Why Weight Loss Isn’t One of Them)
    8. Breaking Bad Habits in 28 Days
    9. Eating Ancestrally: How To Start Eating and Living Like A Human
    10. From Nag To Shag – The Ultimate Marriage Hack For Men
    11. The Best Decision You Can Make for Your Business — That Has Nothing to do With Money
    12. Enrich Your Life By Making it a Story to Tell
    13. How to Get Your Husband (or Wife) to Help Out More
    14. 7 Morning Hacks to Jumpstart Your Day
    15. 10 Wise Lessons: What I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger

    Management

    1. Virtual Assistants: Worth It?
    2. Today’s Career Challenge: Start Networking Like a Pro
    3. 4 Famous Workaholics (And The Secrets of Their Success)
    4. Improve Your Professional Credibility – Write a Book
    5. How to Make a Plan That Will Help Your Business Thrive
    6. How Logging Your Day Can Lead To Higher Effectiveness
    7. 7 Simple Steps to Resolve Any Problem
    8. The Art of Stress-Free Work
    9. How to Get a Do-It-Yourself MBA
    10. Beating the Meeting Monster
    11. Sensors and Intuitives: How to Bridge the Communication Gap
    12. 35 Reasons You Should Work With a Coach
    13. Living With Your Deadlines
    14. Ten Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Start Your Own Business
    15. The Absolute WORST Day to Take a Vacation (It’s Not When You Think!)

    Money

    1. 7 Tips for Reducing Your Overhead Costs
    2. Real Ways to Make Money Working from Home
    3. 26 Personal Finance Tips from Famous People
    4. Why I’ll NEVER Cut Up My Credit Cards
    5. Take Control of Meal Times With A Meal Planner
    6. 6 Luxurious Timesaving Services That Are Cheaper Than You Think
    7. Unexpected Ways The Library Can Save You Money
    8. Five Cost-Cutting Features of the Future Small Business You Can Embrace Today
    9. How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt
    10. 8 Tips for Raising Moneysmart Kids
    11. 100 Questions to Help You Write, Publish, and Sell Your Ebook
    12. The Black Friday Bucket List: 25 Things to Do on Black Friday (Shopping Not Included)
    13. Helping Japan: How to Make Sure Your Money Goes to the Right Place
    14. How to Negotiate with Car Salesmen and Get the Best Deal
    15. 3 Things You Can Do Now to Improve Your Finances in the New Year

    Productivity

    1. The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right For You?
    2. Productivity with Tablets: Paradox or Reality?
    3. How to Stay Productive When You’re Sick
    4. 7 Ways You Shouldn’t Be Using Your Calendar
    5. The 5 Fundamental Rules Of Working From Home
    6. 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Gen Y
    7. How Steve Jobs Changed My Productivity
    8. Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time
    9. Get the Most Out of Your Week by Starting it on Sunday
    10. How I Learned 5 Habits in 30 Days
    11. How to Slow Down
    12. How to Practice the Art of Detached Focus to Achieve Your Goals
    13. 6 Effective Ways to Become Persistent
    14. Simplify Your Productivity Tools To Get More Done
    15. What Yoga Can Teach Us About Productivity

    Technology

    1. 5 Tips for Effective Digital Note Taking
    2. 10 Android Apps to Help Save You Time & Money
    3. 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Habits and Goals
    4. Kindle, Nook or iPad? How to Choose the Right eBook Reader for You
    5. Stop Wasting Time – How to Search Like a Pro
    6. Protecting Your Online Life With Secure Passwords
    7. 5 Things You May Learn From Google+ Launch
    8. 7 Tools For Writing On Your iPhone
    9. Focus on Art, Not on Features: Simple Online Tools for Writers
    10. To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System
    11. How to Stop Fiddling With Productivity Tools To Get More Done
    12. Goodbye Google Reader! (Or the Best RSS Reader Alternatives)
    13. Get Over Your Smartphone Addiction
    14. Lifehack’s iOS 5 Tips and Tricks Guide
    15. The Perfect Productivity Tool

    Thanks to all of the Lifehack contributors, without whom this list would not have been possible. And thanks to you, our Lifehack readers. We hope that the articles that we offered up in 2011 — both those that made this list and those that did not — have helped you make waves in 2011. We’ve got more in store for you in the coming year, and we hope you’ll stick with us for the ride.

    (Photo credit: 2011 on the beach of sunrise via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on August 6, 2020

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

    We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

    “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

    Are we speaking the same language?

    My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

    When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

    Am I being lazy?

    When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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    Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

    Early in the relationship:

    “Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

    When the relationship is established:

    “Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

    It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

    Have I actually got anything to say?

    When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

    A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

    When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

    Am I painting an accurate picture?

    One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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    How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

    Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

    What words am I using?

    It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

    Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

    Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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    Is the map really the territory?

    Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

    A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

    I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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