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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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      Last Updated on December 3, 2019

      7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

      7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

      I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

      It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

      A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

      1. Define Career Success for Yourself

      Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

      What does career success mean to you?

      This is about defining your career success:

      • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
      • Not what people may think of you
      • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
      • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

      “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

      When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

      There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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      • Work-life balance
      • Opportunities for growth and advancement
      • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

      Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

      • What do you mean by work-life balance?
      • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
      • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

      Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

      • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
      • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
      • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

      Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

      • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
      • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
      • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

      Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

      Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

      What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

      2. Know Your Values

      Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

      There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

      Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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      • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
      • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
      • Put the words on your fridge
      • Add the words on your vision board

      Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

      3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

      When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

      How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

      Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

      • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
      • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
      • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
      • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
      • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
      • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

      Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

      • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
      • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
      • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
      • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

      Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

      By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

      4. Determine Your Top Talents

      What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

      What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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      What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

      What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

      What do you notice?

      5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

      Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

      I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

      Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

      Keep these words visible too!

      Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

      6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

      Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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      Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

      “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

      7. Manage Your Own Career

      Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

      Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

      Summing Up

      For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

      Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

      Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

      1. Define Career Success for Yourself
      2. Know Your Values
      3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
      4. Determine Your Top Talents
      5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
      6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
      7. Manage Your Own Career

      “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

      Good luck and best wishes always!

      More Tips on Advancing Your Career

      Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

      Reference

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