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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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    More by this author

    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 February 21, 2019

    The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

    The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

    In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

    Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

    Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

    Conflicts are literally everywhere.

    Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

    Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

    Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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    Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

    Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

    Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

    The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

    Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

    Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

    How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

    Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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    Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

    Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

    How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

    Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

    Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

    Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

    How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

    Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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    Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

    Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

    How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

    Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

    Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

    Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

    How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

    Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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    Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

    Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

    How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

    Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

    Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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