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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.

    What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero 35 Quick and Simple Tips for Better Productivity 4 Simple Steps to Brain Dump for a Smarter Brain Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks Why Is Productivity Important? 10 Reasons to Become More Productive

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    Last Updated on May 22, 2020

    What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

    What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

    The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

    But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

    Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

    So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

    Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

    The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

    1. A Positive Attitude

    Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

    Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

    Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

    Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

    The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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    Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

    2. Confidence

    All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

    Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

    If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

    Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

    You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

    • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
    • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

    3. A Sense of Humor

    It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

    Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

    Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

    As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

    Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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    Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

    4. Ability to Embrace Failure

    No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

    Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

    Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

    Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

    Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

    By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

    You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

    5. Careful Listening and Feedback

    This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

    The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

    The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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    Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

    Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

    6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

    No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

    Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

    Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

    To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

    • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
    • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

    Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

    7. Growth Mindset

    Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

    Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

    Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

    It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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    Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

    8. Responsibility

    Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

    The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

    Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

    Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

    9. A Desire to Learn

    It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

    Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

    You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

    Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

    To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

    The Bottom Line

    Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

    Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

    More Tips on Leadership

    Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

    Reference

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