FF Life: Five life hacks to get productive

June 4, 2022: Move smoothly through a crowd, speak better, never lose your phone, test how time-aware you are, and trigger memory

Founding Fuel

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Good morning,

All of us live busy lives and could do with some extra time. Because life has a mind of its own and presents hurdles. Some appear trivial, and others not-so-trivial. Be that as it may, it takes time to deal with it. That is why we asked ourselves: what if we pause for a few minutes and ask each other, what are the little things (or hacks, if you will) that we practice to get some extra minute or two into our lives? We found five and on thinking about it, quite liked it.

Hack #1: Lost your phone?

Not a problem. If you use an Android phone, go to your browser and just type “Find my Android”. Google will show exactly where your device is. Not just that, you can get your phone to ring or even erase the data on it if you think there is precious data on it that you don’t want to lose to others. The screenshot below, for instance, shows how a colleague used the command to look up a phone number that belongs to him. All Apple devices are shipped with this feature. 

Hack #2: Lose track of time?

So, you estimate a task can get done within a certain number of hours. And before you know it, you don’t know where time went. There’s a saying that goes, “We overestimate the time we have and underestimate the effort a task may take”. But the most recent research published in the April 2022 edition of Science Daily has it that this is a disorder called aphantasia and not everyone has it. But those who have it must learn to manage it.

To diagnose if you have this condition, Obey the Timer is a great resource to look up. It administers some tests on how you assess time and measure the time you take to complete it. It contains tools as well that help with alerts and managing time. We can see they have some lovely objects as well that we’d love to get on our desktop. Our favourite is a frosted glass mug. It costs $16.

Hack #3: Speak better

Now that most of us are working remotely or in hybrid mode, to get heard, we have to become better speakers and writers. It is unnerving to most people. That is why we recommend this talk by Carmine Gallo that outlines the nine strategies of speakers who give the best public talks. It is based on his book Talk like TED. 

You can view the talk here. 

And if you may want to explore the theme some more, we highly recommend The Official Guide to TED Speaking by Chris Anderson. He writes, “Thanks to the internet, a single talk in a single theatre can end up being seen by millions of people. Just as the printing press massively amplified the power of authors, so the web is massively amplifying the impact of speakers. It is allowing anyone anywhere with online access (and within a decade or so, we can expect almost every village on earth to be connected) to summon the world’s greatest teachers to their homes and learn from them directly. Suddenly an ancient art has global reach.” 

He calls it Presentation Literacy. This is worth investing time in. 

Hack #4: Use scents to trigger memory

You’re at work on a presentation and must sound smart in a few days before everyone; or your kid is studying for an exam a few weeks down the line. All of these are stressful affairs. Keep some perfumes for times such as these. And when it’s time for that presentation you must make or the exam your kid must go to, wear the same perfume. The smell will evoke the memory and you’ll ace it. We’ve tried it. And it works. Is there research to back this? Oh yes! It’s been looked at closely by researchers and here’s Medical News Today that explains just how this works.

Hack #5: Earn right of way

When you walk through a crowd and people are headed in multiple directions, our natural tendency is to look at others and avoid them. But the counter-intuitive thing to do is to slow down, look straight ahead towards where you need to go, and walk that way. People will make way for you. The operative thing here is, slowing your pace. It works (almost always).

While on the theme, don’t try too hard though. Because everyone has a distinct walking style and it is the subject of much research. You don’t want to appear pretentious, do you? 

If there are other hacks and pointers you may want to share, do write in. We’d be delighted to share it with the Founding Fuel community. 

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