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A Day in the Life of a Lifehack Writer…

A Day in the Life of a Lifehack Writer…

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    Finding lifehacks isn’t as easy as it looks. A lot goes on behind the scenes to put together the tips and tricks we provide. We test these tips out in our own lives to figure out what works. Depending on the topic, sometimes we speak from our experiences (such as my lifehacks on how to bypass resume filters or land a promotion), and other times we need to do a little research.
    I’m lucky in that I’m a full-time writer, although for many, writing is a side job. If you’re looking to become a Lifehack writer (or you just enjoy the site and want to get to know us better), here’s a day in the life:

    Morning Routines

    The Internet is easily the greatest invention in human history–it’s filled with information. The first thing I do every morning when I get out of bed is boot up computer. By the time I have my breakfast ready, I’m able to check my emails and browse news trends across business, tech, science, and entertainment verticals. It’s how I stay abreast of creative places to store photos online, etc.

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    I like to keep energized and up to speed with what’s going on in the world around me; it reminds me that I’m human.

    Whatever your morning routine, make sure you take care of yourself every morning–if you don’t, nobody will.

    Healthy Activities and Taking Stock

    An unfortunate part of being human is aging, so it’s important we make the most of our time. At Lifehack, we focus on participating in healthy activities, taking stock of what we have, practicing gratitude, and productive planning and executing goals, such as how to quit smoking. Throughout the day, I constantly take photos, videos, and notes of what I’m doing, what’s going on around me, and what others are doing.

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    People-watching is a vital part of the Lifehack process–you may think everyone does something one way or another because of your personal experiences, but you may be the one doing things different. Keeping an open mind and paying close attention to what’s happening around you is a great way to see how you fit into the big picture at all times.

    Nina Matthews Photography

      Lifehacks, Loopholes, and Bearing in Mind

      Lifehacking for me is about finding the most optimal way to do things. Yes, you certainly can use the mouth from a soda bottle to close your bag of chips (crisps for the Brits), but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Just because something can be done doesn’t necessarily mean it should–there are numerous ways to close a bag of chips faster than cutting a bottle. What I look for is software, apps, games, projects, and new ways of thinking that make everyday tasks easier.

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      As a former banker, I’m fascinated by alternative banking methods. I’ve researched the topic for years and have appeared on TV, radio, and even the front page of Yahoo! discussing these alternative options to big banking. My financial work often leaks into my lifehacks, and some feature it prominently, such as this lifehack on banking alternatives.

      Yoga and meditation are great to get your mind running–it doesn’t take any money to get started, and you get a clean slate to work with. By taking your focus off all the problems, worries, and goals that bog you down, you’re more likely to stay in a good mood. Being happy begets compassion and graciousness toward others, who will in turn introduce you to new ways of doing things.

      The Lifehack Writing Process

      Writing is the least of what a writer does–evenings are normally filled with writing, editing, formatting, and finding pictures and illustrations. For every piece I submit, I have two pieces to correct. At Lifehack, we have a stringent process in which multiple people review each post before it goes live. During this process, we discuss the value of the information, the look, and any suggestions for refining the piece. Sometimes it’s quick and painless, and other times it can be a long-term stalemate. Keeping everything light and humorous is vital to preventing all of us from pulling our hair out.

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      I’ve written all around the web, and Lifehack has always been one of my favorites. The variety of topics, and the freedom to choose from a variety of assignments, keeps me coming back to share the tips and tricks that get me through everyday life.

      If there’s any specific tips, topics, and hacks you’d like to see, let me know below, and I’ll make sure our editorial staff sees it.

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      Published on October 8, 2019

      How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

      How to Advance Your Career (and the Big Mistakes You May be Making)

      The late writer William S. Burroughs once said that “When you stop growing, you start dying.” It might have a morbid undertone, but it’s one hundred percent true in terms of one’s career.

      The days of finding a job with one company that you can stick with for 30 years, and simply relax as you move up its company escalator are few and far between in today’s world. This isn’t necessarily bad news. On the contrary, it means that you’re the one in charge of shaping your career advancement.

      By putting these principles and behaviors into practice, you’ll begin to see how to advance your career quickly. Ready? Let’s get started…

      1. Define What Success Is for You

      There’s no right or wrong definition of what success in your career looks like. The important thing is to figure out what success looks like for YOU. It might, and probably will, change along the way, but if you don’t have some sort of milestone on the horizon, then you won’t know which direction to go in.

      Think about success in your career in terms of one year, five years, and 10 years. Once you have that, it’s time to lace up your boots and get to work.

      2. Learn How to Develop and Follow a Plan

      Nobody just stumbles upon success accidentally. Sure, they may stumble upon breakthroughs or new methods accidentally, but all success stories have one thing in common — a plan.

      Establish a timeline for the things that you want to achieve in your career in the next year, five years, 10 years, and so on. Consider the skills that you’ll need to learn to make these things happen and work on acquiring them.

      3. Surround Yourself With Those Better Than You

      It’s a rule of thumb among musicians that if you want to get better, then you need to get out of the bedroom and play with people who are better than you.

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      By surrounding yourself with people who are better than you and where you want to be, you’ll not only see how these people climbed to where they are in their respective fields, but you’ll learn from them and naturally want to push yourself to be better in your own job as well.

      4. Seek Out a Mentor(s)

      A mentor will not only be able to help you refine and reach your career goals, but will be invaluable in landing promotions and finding unadvertised job openings.

      One unique approach is to work on fostering a relationship with a mentor both within and outside of your company. This will help in giving you different perspectives as you rise up through the ranks in your company and career overall.

      5. Stop Wasting Your Mornings

      You may not think you’re a morning person, but if you can learn to be one, you’ll thank yourself 10 years down the road.

      Prepare a to-do list of tasks that you want to accomplish the day before and work on knocking them out for at least one hour before you respond to morning emails. The problem with responding to emails first, is you’re giving your attention to somebody else’s agenda, instead of plotting your own course for the day.

      6. Arrange or Attend a Networking Party

      If you’re attending networking events simply because you might get a few free drinks, you’re doing them wrong. These events are great for meeting new people and forming relationships. Your goal shouldn’t be to get hired by the end of the night, but to simply make a good impression by being friendly and authentic. So what’s next?

      Reach out a few days later via email or on social media to follow up and connect!

      7. Pick Up Some New Skills

      Nobody wants to be the old dog that can’t learn any new tricks. To move up in your career, you’re going to likely need to pick up new skills along the way. Maybe your company offers on-the-job training or you have the option of taking online classes at night.

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      By learning new skills, you’ll not only be able to expand upon what you can already do, but you’ll make yourself more valuable to your employer and future employers.

      8. Exploit the Benefits Already at Your Disposal

      Remember what we just said about the possibility of your company providing on-the-job training? Take advantage of these sorts of benefits!

      If you’re working for a company that allows you to job shadow other employees or has company mixers, you should attend these. They not only allow you to develop your skills within the company, but show seasoned executives within your field that you’re interested in more than just clocking in for a paycheck.

      9. Make Yourself Indispensable

      Good help is hard to find and employers want to retain outstanding employees. If you can learn to make yourself indispensable to your company, you’ll not only communicate that you’re successful, but will have a lot more job security. What’s this entail though?

      It’s actually not all that difficult. By being reliable, adapting to new challenges, and holding your own work and performance to a high standard, you’ll stand out among your peers and others will take notice. Easy enough, right?

      10. Get Off the Fence

      People who advance in their careers are those who don’t shy away from voicing their opinion and stand up with authority when the opportunity arises.

      If a problem arises in your company and you think you might have a solution or are willing to work to find one, then let others know. Employers value and promote problem solvers. Start off with something small and work your way up towards tackling more difficult tasks and projects.

      11. Don’t Wait for More Responsibility, Ask for It

      If you want more responsibility in your job, then be open about it with your manager. Your manager may be so busy with their own work that they weren’t aware you were looking for more challenges.

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      Just make sure you can handle it and that you already show strong performance in your current duties. And if your manager doesn’t seem supportive about offering you more responsibility, well, then it could be time to look for new employment.

      12. Stop Wasting Time on What You Don’t Want

      If your career goals start with “I should do this…” there could be a problem. This kind of language in referring to goals can doom them to failure because the want isn’t there.

      Consider using the RUMBA method (Reasonable, Understandable, Measurable, Behavioral and Agreed) when setting your goals. That “agreed” part should really be “want.” By going after career goals that you actually want to accomplish, you’re much more likely to achieve them.

      13. Seek Out Feedback and Apply It

      Simply doing your job might not always push you up in your career advancement. Too often, employees just assume that their bosses will notice their performance strides and reach out when the time is right to advance.

      Don’t be afraid to regularly seek out feedback and ask for constructive criticism. It not only shows that you value your manager’s opinion but demonstrates that you care about your job and want to become better in your chosen field.

      14. Pick Your Bosses Wisely

      Advancing in your career can move a lot quicker if you’re working for the right people. If your boss isn’t any good at their job or doesn’t value you, then moving up could become difficult.

      A great boss though, will be able to help you capitalize on your strengths and be an advocate for your success. If there aren’t any strong developers of talent in your management chain already, then look around for some and seek them out as mentors.

      15. Learn to Develop Your Sense of Timing

      The odds of asking for a promotion or raise are in your favor with over 70 percent of respondents to a survey from PayScale reporting some success. One thing to keep in mind that can make all the difference is when you ask.

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      Some corporate cultures may prefer that employees reach out about advancement during their annual review, but maybe you work for a more free-spirited startup. The best approach may be to take note of when others advance and ask about how the organization handles employee development.

      16. Work Hard and Promote Yourself

      Working hard and delivering a solid job performance are the keys to advancing in your career no matter what field you’re in. This doesn’t mean you need to be completely humble about your accomplishments either.

      Keep a record of your positive impact within the organization and let others both within your company and your field know that you’re enthusiastic about your role and work.

      17. Don’t Just Build Your Network… Cultivate It

      It’s way too easy to add new people to your LinkedIn network and then forget about them for all eternity. Rather than just collecting business cards or social media contacts, you should be cultivating relationships with the ones you already have.

      Follow up with people that you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer to connect them with somebody you know in their field, or ask about a new job title they may have taken on. Doing so could be the spark that leads to a potential job referral.

      18. Join a Professional Organization

      The National Association of (insert your industry here) and other professional organizations can still offer a great wealth of advantages from networking to industry insights, and skill development.

      Even outside of professional organizations dedicated to particular job fields, civic organizations can also be fantastic for making new contacts. After all, so much about career advancement is who you know, and you never know who you’ll meet who knows somebody else who is looking for someone with your skills and experience.

      More About Career Advancement

      Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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