The 25 Best Life Hacks That Take One Minute or Less
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We may all have our very authentic definition of success, but we still share many common traits that hinder us to achieve it.
Here’s a collection of the most effective life hacks that will only take you minutes but will make a huge difference.
What You Will Learn
- 1. Get out of the Bed Easily
- 2. Do this Every Morning
- 3. Write A List of Intentions for Today
- 4. Practice Mirror Technique
- 5. Use the “Advice Me” Strategy
- 6. Ditch your smartphone for a book
- 7. Put Away Distraction Apps
- 8. Use Apps to Build Good Habits
- 9. Compliment Your Colleague Publicly
- 10. Detect Lies More Accurately
- 11. Use Breathing Technique To Calm Yourself
- 12. Set Wallpapers of your goals
- 13. Replace caffeine and pills with fruits
- 14. Save on Airline Tickets
- 15. Learn Foreign Languages Faster
- 16. Make Office More Comfortable
- 17. Get A Wall Calendar For One Important Habit
- 18. Take Regular Breaks
- 19. Do Eye Exercise
- 20. Take a Minute To Listen to Others
- 21. Write a List of Things You’re Grateful for
- 22. Ask Yourself This Whenever You’re Anxious
- 23. Smile More Often
- 24. Write a List of Things you've Learned today
- 25. Black Out your Bedroom Windows
1. Get out of the Bed Easily
Snoozers know how difficult it can be sometimes. If you’re struggling to get out of the bed, try this:
Start a countdown from 20 to 0 in your head. There’s actually neuroscience behind this small hack: our brain hates anticlimactic inactivity after a build-up, so by the time you will reach zero, you’ll want to get out of the bed.
2. Do this Every Morning
This one-minute hack will change your morning for good: drink 8-12oz of water with lemon first thing in the morning and stand barefoot exposing your eyes to the sun.
Water on an empty stomach revs up metabolism and helps you burn fat more effectively during the day while looking at the sun stimulates your pituitary gland regulating your circadian rhythm.
Try it and you’ll revise your morning cup of coffee habit and feel much more enthusiastic about your day.
3. Write A List of Intentions for Today
Setting your life goals isn’t enough on its own. Goals define what we want in our lives, but they also make us dwell on the future too much making us less settled in the present.
Setting intentions, on the other hand, makes us more focused on the now, on our life values and sense of happiness rather than the sense of accomplishment.
Write what you intend to be and feel this day, not just what you want to achieve. Start small like “I intend to smile more today” or “to have more pleasant conversations,” or “compliment more people.”
Progress into more elaborate ones like “I intend to trust my judgment,” or “I intend to live in gratitude and open my mind to this world.”
4. Practice Mirror Technique
Politicians and actors are very familiar with this hack. Just one minute of mirror technique can help you to build up confidence, set the tone of your intentions for this day, or just brighten you up.
Have an important meeting? Repeat your pitch lines and statements with different facial expressions and tones of your voice. Your brain will automatically pick up the one most suitable when the time comes.
Getting out and about? Check yourself in the mirror-like you normally would, pause for a moment and put a huge grin on your face. Hold that expression and wish yourself a good day.
Works like a charm:)
5. Use the “Advice Me” Strategy
The method is simple and can be applied in various situations where you want to leverage something.
For example, you want a raise or bargaining a higher salary during a job interview: say to the employer “I’m good at what I do, and that’s why you’re hiring me, but you’re obviously a better manager. Can I have your advice, given that (say very high number) is a reasonable sum?”
Two things happened: 1) you’ve given them the starting point (very high number) from where you can settle on a lower sum (which would still be high); 2) you placed them in the position where they guide you to your goal.
Since it was their own advice, it’s only reasonable that they won’t deny you if you follow it.
6. Ditch your smartphone for a book
We touch our smartphones 2500 times spending a whopping 4 hours a day on average! You’re thinking it makes you more productive and helps you learn all the amazing new stuff on a go, but it’s not. Most of it, according to Telecom and Network technology tracker, is wasted on Facebook addiction and idle-surfing.
Furthermore, a recent survey by Huffington Post showed that people who dedicate their spare time surfing social media are more stressed and less focused when they return to their tasks.
Always have an interesting book with you, so the next time you have a spare minute you can really enjoy it. As a bonus, reading promotes stronger analytical skills and reduces stress.
7. Put Away Distraction Apps
We all have them. Here’s a useful small trick to spend less of your precious time on them: put all of the apps that distract you in some distant folder. Better yet, make them appear on the second page of that folder.
The more time you’ll need to reach them, the slimmer the chances you’ll even try to.
Place work-related or habit-building apps somewhere more reachable and you’ll automatically increase the probability of being less distracted.
8. Use Apps to Build Good Habits
Not all of the time we spend on our smartphones is wholesome, but we sure can put them to good use.
Try habit-tracking apps like GrowApp to find great ideas and schedule healthy activities while creating a system of accountability for them. This is very important if you want good habits to stick.
If you want to get rid of some bad habits, it’s better to identify what keystone habits you want to build and gradually replace the bad ones with the good ones. The main reason we fail to ditch bad habits is that we forget it took time to build them – the habit loop has to be repeated several times before forming a habit.
In most scenarios, quitting cold turkey is less effective than gradual replacement.
9. Compliment Your Colleague Publicly
Takes nearly no time but works every time. If you say something nice about someone, they’ll probably like you. If you’ll make someone look good in front of others, they’ll love you forever.
Being an expert in compliments requires two things: 1) pay close attention to what this person already likes about herself, and 2) be genuinely interested in being as good at this. For example, “I wish I could be as athletic as you” sounds way better than “you’re so sporty.”
10. Detect Lies More Accurately
Despite popular belief, eye contact will not help you to spot a liar. Studying people’s micro-expressions or body language is very glamorous but fails in real life, too. That’s why FBI agents really on the simplest trick there is to detect a lie.
Listen to how people answer your questions. Notice if there was a pause before their response and pay close attention to what they say: if they elaborate too much or avert the straight answer, chances are they’re lying.
11. Use Breathing Technique To Calm Yourself
You might be good at dealing with your daily dose of stress, but your body’s response to it is what actually matters. Under stress, your breathing pattern changes from slow deep breathing from lower lungs into rapid and shallow from the top of your lungs. This can cause hyperventilations, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness.
You can reverse that using a simple breathing technique to evoke your body’s parasympathetic response that will help you relax. The biggest challenge, however, is that most of the time we’re not even aware of our own state of anxiety so your initial step is to “notice” the fact that your body is under stress.
The moment you realize that “mark” that breathing in deeply, hold it for a few seconds, then breathe out as slow as possible. Repeat this pattern a few times – deep inhale, short hold, long exhale – and your body will switch from the emergency to relaxed state naturally.
12. Set Wallpapers of your goals
Visualizing your goals all the time is more effective than talking or pondering about them. It creates an image in your subconsciousness association yourself with this goal, thus erasing the nagging self-doubts and “what ifs.”
Change your smartphone and desktop wallpapers with the vision of your dream. This can be something straightforward like a car or a boat, or figurative like a tropical island if you feel you need a vacation.
13. Replace caffeine and pills with fruits
Studying or working late? Washing down headache pills with coffee to stay productive? An apple has more potency to keep you awake than espresso. A cup of grapefruit juice is more helpful to alleviate headache than an Advil pill.
Your health is vital for your success, so make sure to check out these 17 super-organizational habits focused on your health and productivity.
14. Save on Airline Tickets
Every time you visit an airline site, prices bump up a bit. The next time your check prices through these sites, just use an incognito mode or browsers with built-in VPN.
15. Learn Foreign Languages Faster
Learning foreign languages is rocket fuel to your brain. It enhances cognitive processes like problem-solving and boosts memory, prevents age-related mental conditions, and makes you more creative.
One of the main barriers in mastering anything new is, well, because it’s new. We have an innate fear of everything unknown – it’s a natural response embedded in our DNA. So your initial step should be to “familiarize” yourself with the studied material.
If you just have a minute or two, watch your favorite songs on YouTube with subtitles. You’ll pick up vocabulary faster and will be able to memorize it better if you’re already familiar with the content.
16. Make Office More Comfortable
Invest in 3 simple items that will make your time in the office substantially more pleasant.
Buy a UVB lamp: its light decreases the strain on your eyes and helps your body to produce vitamin D essential for your good health and mood.
Buy a rubber band: exercising your fingers and wrist has a profound effect on your brain activity and is a strong stress-shredding tool.
Buy sporting equipment: bars, dumbbells, and yoga mats already taking recognition as vital productivity tools in modern offices. Combine your work with regular exercise breaks for higher output and level of life.
17. Get A Wall Calendar For One Important Habit
Also known as a Seinfeld strategy, it’s a brilliant neuro-hack to build a consistent chain of repeated actions and form a strong habit.
Buy a wall calendar that has the whole year on one page and place it somewhere prominent. Put a big red cross over the day when you do something related to the chosen habit. Done your morning workout or had a healthy breakfast – put an X on a wall.
Your goal is to build a chain of Xs and not break it. The longer the chain, the higher your chances to stick with that habit. Having a visual representation of all the time and effort you put in it creates a strong bond and putting the next X will be easier.
18. Take Regular Breaks
A sedentary lifestyle is what smoking and drinking were to 60s. After 20 minutes of sitting, the electrical activity in your legs decreases 90%, oxygenation of blood cells drops 40%, levels of LDL-cholesterol (the bad one) begin to rise while HDL (the good one) plummets.
A study found that productivity and creativity were higher in groups who took regular breaks when working on an intellectual assignment compared to those who took a more linear approach and worked without breaks.
That’s why your brakes should be regular and comprised of physical activities rather than dull-surfing. Just a minute of hanging from a bar, rope jumping, brisk walking, or stretching every 20 minutes will turbo boost your health and creativity.
19. Do Eye Exercise
The time we spend staring at screens has grown exponentially over the last decade. Your laptop or smartphone might be the culprit in the first place, but it can also help in this.
Set a Pomodoro timer and take regular breaks off the screens. Look at distant objects for 20 seconds, then blink rapidly for 20 seconds, then rub your hands vigorously so they are warm and place them gently over your eyes for another 20 seconds.
20. Take a Minute To Listen to Others
You can spend years trying to make yourself appear an interesting person and get people to love you. Or you can spend a minute making someone else appear interesting in your eyes and win them instantly.
Being an attentive listener is all about paying the closest attention to what people are trying to say than to what they are actually saying. Notice the feelings behind their words, and be very reluctant to give any advice and only when asked for it directly.
21. Write a List of Things You’re Grateful for
Wanna feel better about yourself? Grow a positive mindset by being more grateful. Gratitude journaling helped cardiac patients to improve their health and alleviate depression and struggles associated with their conditions.
Shifting the negative bias and focusing on empathy and gratitude is also linked with longevity and higher quality of life. Spend a minute of your life and write down the top 10 things you’re most grateful for, and notice how your emotions are suddenly more positive.
22. Ask Yourself This Whenever You’re Anxious
“What is the worst thing that can happen?” is an age-old technique but works every time. When you feel perplexed or worried about something, the worst thing you can do is keep brooding about it. That’s how stress builds up.
Look at it this way: something might happen or it might not, but the stress you are in because of it will never have the power to change it.
Take a piece of paper and write down what you think is the absolute worst case scenario in this situation. Just relive this fear and go straight through it. In time, you’ll see that nothing truly bad can ever happen to you if you already lived through your worst fears.
23. Smile More Often
Ingenious in its simplicity, yet often overlooked. We get used to smiling at strangers all the time but forget to smile to ourselves.
Smiling makes you appear more attractive and younger to others, lowers your blood pressure, increase levels of happy hormones endorphins, and is very contagious. It’s an act of making the whole world around you a tad better. 🙂
24. Write a List of Things you've Learned today
This is better to be done right before going to bed. A habit of making such lists promotes the growth mindset – the kind of thinking that turns everything into a possibility.
The more you instill this mindset, the more you realize you didn’t fail at anything but learned something valuable out of it. Failing itself means you’re pushing yourself over your limits. And instead of kicking yourself for it you should praise your efforts more:)
25. Black Out your Bedroom Windows
Our circadian rhythms are regulated first and foremost by the amount of light. Expose your eyes to the sun early in the morning and during the day, but keep away from the bright lights and screens at least half an hour prior to sleep. This will stimulate your pituitary gland naturally and normalize the secretion of melatonin – a hormone that regulates sleep cycles.
Your bedroom should be between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit, ventilated, and as dark as possible. Putting a black window tint on your bedroom windows will only take minutes but will help you feel refreshed and healthy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: GEORGE WEISS
Expert sleeper. Seasoned traveler. Vegan athlete. Finds life miraculous and people fascinating. Avid bookworm with 10+ years experience in happy-blogging, app-reviewing, and cat-doodling.