Not to be Captain Obvious, but life isn’t easy. Whether you’re a broke college student, a recent grad navigating the workforce (while still paying down college loans), or a newbie to the whole parenting thing, our day-to-day lives are a constant grind full of expected and unexpected challenges. Shortcuts and hacks to make our lives just a little easier are not only needed, but very much welcomed. Here are some game-changing cheat codes to make our lives run smoother, courtesy of some very helpful Redditors.
1. Facing Your Fears
If you are nervous about any kind of public speaking, volunteer to go first. You get it done and over with quickly, you are able to relax for the rest of the class, and most importantly, your audience, depending on the setting, is too worried about their own presentation/speech to care about yours.
I also paired this with advice to bring visual aids. Example being: I needed to explain why my state is unique. So I brought photos for each table to pass, and shots of maple syrup. Pretty sure only the facilitator was looking at me the entire time. Everyone else was busy looking at photos and taking shots of maple syrup.
2. Road Trip Pro Tip
Check the pressure in your spare tire and know how to use the jack before going on a trip.
3. There Goes the Neighborhood?
When the power goes out, search for Wi-Fi networks on your phone to see if everyone’s power is out.
4. Trust the Dental Hygiene Process
Floss before brushing.
That way, you end with the fresh toothpaste taste and not the rotten meat taste, and the toothpaste gets in where trapped food particles were.
5. Achieving Silence
If someone won’t shut up, drop something, and they’ll pause when you go to pick it up. Use that opportunity to speak as you pick up whatever you dropped.
6. Snacking With a Clean Keyboard
Can’t remember where I saw it, but using chopsticks to eat Cheetos, popcorn, Doritos, etc., while using the computer. Keeps your keyboard from getting quite as disgusting.
7. This End Up
Letting a drop of superglue dry on the up face of my USB phone charger handle. The superglue solidifies and becomes hard, which means you know which side is up just by rubbing your finger over the handle, so you always plug it into your device the right way first time, every time.
8. Everything in Its Place
Don’t put it down, put it away. Stops clutter at the source.
9. Before You Cook, Clear the Clutter
Before you start to cook something, “clear the decks.” My grandfather taught me this. He was a firefighter and, as a result of years in the firehouse, knew his way around a kitchen. Before you begin cooking, get the kitchen READY to cook. Empty the dishwasher (or start it if it’s full!), empty the sink, clear the counters, get your ingredients out. Preheat the oven!
Get READY to cook, before you START to cook.
After that, clean as you go. If you’ve used a utensil and are through with it, put it in the dishwasher. Got a free moment or two? Wash a dish, dry it, put it away. If you use your time wisely while cooking, you’ll find that your “clean-up” afterwards is much easier and less time consuming!
10. Using Your Headphones as a Shield
Wear headphones if you don’t want to be bothered. You don’t even have to listen to anything, just wear them. People won’t bother you, and if they do, pretend you didn’t hear them. Works great in shopping malls with the people trying to sell you lotion or perfume.
11. Minimizing the Chances for a Mess
Never leave a room empty handed.
Whenever I get up from the sofa, I scan for mugs, cups, glasses, clothes—anything that shouldn’t be there and is on my route to where I’m going next (heading to the kitchen? Take the glasses, etc.).
I’ve got a very active son under 2 years old, and whilst I’ve lived by this rule for years, it’s especially helpful now in staying on top of chaos and losing stuff.
12. Cross the T’s and Dot the I’s
Not filling in the ‘To” field in an email until I am completely done with the email. Saved me a lot of badly-written emails, half-finished emails, and emails I never sent because I had time to think better of it.
13. Victory Over Those Pesky Pistachios
Using pistachios shells to open the really hard-to-open pistachios.
14. Avoid the Judgmental Stares
Pre-tangling your headphones. Grab both ends with one hand, your finger in the middle, pull tight, and twist approximately 9 times, then let them naturally curl up, and make sure you don’t run anything through the loop when you slide them in your pocket. When you take them out, they may look tangled, but will unravel perfectly.
15. A Simple Parenting Hack
When my daughter was little and still believed band-aids cured things, one time she had a belly ache, so I put one on her belly and it made her feel better. The power of placebos!
16. Paper Power
When I was in my old 500+ person building, I kept a stack of papers on my desk. When I was bored, or got tired of sitting down, I’d get up, grab my stack of papers, and walk around. I called them my “walking papers,” and did this for months. Got a lot of head nods and not one question the entire time. People always assumed I was on an important mission, but nope. Not in the least.
17. Finding Something Nice to Say
If you have no complaints about your food service/staff at a restaurant, ask to see the manager and pay a compliment and a “thank you” about the server/host/staff. Usually people want to see a manager to complain, and a compliment is nearly always welcome.
I’ve gotten countless free drinks/appetizers/chips/% off my bill—all for just making a polite comment to management.
18. Weird Flex, But Okay
I am an assistant teacher in a preschool. Asking if kids can use their sitting muscles and listening muscles during circle time makes the kids want to show me how “strong” they are.
19. Backstage Pizza Pass
No one stops a guy or girl carrying a pizza. It can get you backstage to concerts.
20. Sounds Cozy
I have a heated throw blanket in my living room. In the winter, I wrap my coat up in it, crank up the heat, and in a few minutes, my coat is toasty warm so I can brave the coldest day.
21. Every Penny Counts
You can borrow almost all of your textbooks from the library as a college student because of modern book rental agreements that most colleges have.
WorldCAT allows you to be linked to almost any library in America, and all you have to do is find your book in the system and fill out a request form at a library, and it should be there in a week. I’ve saved probably $2,000 doing this in my first two years of college.
22. Modern-Day Coupon Clipping
If any website offers a percentage coupon code like “10percentoff,” try higher values like “20percentoff,” they often have them.
23. Keeping It Fresh
When married, don’t stop treating your significant other like you did when you were trying to win them over. It’s a great way to show them you’re still as infatuated with them as you were when you first met.
24. Personal Curb Appeal
I cannot overstate how much dressing well and being well-groomed will impact your life. It’ll drop the difficulty by two or three levels. No joke. People will treat you vastly differently. The opposite is also true.
25. Low Risk, High Returns
Underpromise and overperform. Say you’ll achieve less than you think you will and then do more, and everyone will be impressed (works well at a job).
26. Active Listening
To seem charming, all you have to do a lot of the time is to be an engaged listener.
You don’t need an amazing sense of humor or to be able to lay on the compliments or regale people with stories. Just listen to other people in a way that shows you are interested and not just waiting for your turn to talk. Make eye contact, don’t interrupt them, don’t turn the conversation to be about you, ask good questions.
27. Ego Boost
Faking confidence usually leads to actually being more confident. I love the phrase “fake it til you make it.” It’s incredible how much success is a byproduct of just acting confident about whatever you are doing.
28. Fuel up
If you work Monday-Friday, spend a small amount of time on Sunday afternoon/evening sorting out your lunch for the week. I batch-cook a pot of something and portion it out into 5 containers. It saves a ton of money, it’s usually healthier, and it saves time having to make something quickly each morning because you can just grab a container out of the fridge and go.
29. Nap Time
No matter what your bedtime and wake-up time is, stick with it. After a decade of being that person on Facebook at 3 am and off to work 4 hours later, I started to view sleep as an enjoyable activity, not a chore.
Game changer. Mornings are never a drag. If I have trouble sleeping, I can make up for it the next morning without screwing up my whole day. When it’s your bedtime, turn off the lights and wait. And don’t touch your phone or your computer. Don’t get out of bed, wait. When your alarm goes off, get up. Repeat for two weeks. Enjoy a better life.
30. Sleep Screen
Set the “do not disturb” feature on your phone to turn on from 10pm-7am.
You will sleep so much better without constant notifications from emails, games, or your mother-in-law who wants to send a group message at midnight because she is in a different time zone. If you have people who you want to be able to reach you (family/girlfriend/boyfriend), you can make a special list that will let only their calls/messages come through.
31. Ye Olde Burrito Trick
At a burrito shop, get half of one protein and half of another. They usually end up giving you like 20% more (exact science here), plus you get more flavor.
32. Secret Stash
Hide ice cream or popsicles inside an empty resealable vegetable bag from Costco, or any other store with large, resealable bags. Your kids will have no idea they’re there, and you can disperse them accordingly or hog them for yourself without them knowing.
33. Power of Networking
Build yourself a network of people. You’d be surprised how valuable contacts are in the professional world. This can be anything from being asked for help, to getting business from someone, to applying for jobs, to even getting into places you wouldn’t otherwise be able to!
34. Battle of the Bulge
I’ve recently discovered IF: Intermittent Fasting. It’s nothing crazy, like going weeks without eating, it’s simply keeping my eating window within an 8-hour period. I’ve lost a lot of weight, and my doctor has commented on how my BP, HDL/LDL and general well-being has improved dramatically.
Just by skipping breakfast. (Or more technically, eating breakfast around 1 or 2pm instead of 9am.)
And yes, both my doctor as well as several others are saying it’s perfectly safe and healthy, despite it going against current “common” knowledge.
35. Calling Your Own Shot
Several times in life I’ve cold-called a company to confirm my interview time. I didn’t have one prior to my call, but in their confusion and inability to even find my resume, I’ve managed to secure an interview about four out of five times. Twice I’ve gotten the job.
36. Put the Knife Down
Use a spoon instead of a knife to spread stuff on bread! Everyone mocks me for this, but as soon as they try it, they realize how much easier it actually is.
37. Turbo Charged
Portable power-bank cell phone charger in my car.
Basically, I got tired of my car’s slow speed of charging my phone off the cigarette lighter, so I bought a power bank with fast charging capability. I plugged it into my car’s cigarette port so that whenever my car is on, it’s charging. Then I just plug my phone in for a fast charge on the road and the power bank might go down, but will gradually recharge over time when my car is on.
Another bonus is that it can be easily removed and taken with me. So if I’m at, say, a restaurant and need to charge my phone, I can take it in with me and continue the charge.
38. Interesting, But Very, Very Illegal
Take a one dollar bill and flip it over. Now take a five dollar bill and tape it to the end of the upside-down single with as little tape as possible to make it secure. Now feed the five dollar bill into a change machine. The coin machine reads the five, gives you quarters, then reads the upside down single, rejects that, and boom, you got yourself a felony.
39. Back Talk
When someone says something true, say “you’re right,” not “I know.” It’ll make them feel better, and you’ve still shown everyone how awfully clever you are.
40. Simple and Succinct Wisdom
You become the people you surround yourself with.
41. Shaping Young Minds
Compliment your children with “you are a hard worker” and not “you’re smart.” Studies show that kids who think they’re hard workers outperform kids who think they’re smart.
42. Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat
Ask questions about everything. Ask people about themselves. Be open about stuff you don’t understand, and ask questions about that. When you forget someone’s name, own up to it and just ask them.
I am amazed at how many people won’t acknowledge even a tiny amount of ignorance, or won’t show honest curiosity about something, can’t admit they’ve forgotten something they feel is important, and won’t ever ask for help. Guys…your life becomes so much easier if you just drop the freaking ego and ask.
43. Take the Compliment
The correct response to any compliment is “Thank you.” You can then follow it up with a comment if you’d like to continue the conversation. If someone likes your dress? “Thank you, it has pockets!” If someone compliments your art? “Thank you, I’ve been practicing.” If someone asks if you’re a professional singer because you have a good singing voice? “Thank you, I just sing for fun.”
Not only does it make you seem confident and self-assured, it tells them that they are right! That’s a friendly thing to do.
This even works if you don’t believe the compliment. Saying, “Oh, no, I’m ugly,” when someone compliments your appearance not only tells them that they’re wrong, it makes you think of yourself as ugly. A better answer would be, “Thank you, I really appreciate that and I don’t always believe it, so hearing that from you helps.”
44. It Pays to Be Nice
Just be nice, particularly to people in the service industry. Your job, your personal interactions, even your calls into customer service will go 100% easier if you’re just nice to people and recognize that they’re probably just trying to do their job, not screw you over.
45. Win Some, Lose Some
“Ctrl+F” or “Command+F” on a computer.
It gives you the power to easily find any keyword or phrase on the page. However, it has the side effect of ruining your ability to visually scan a physical document.
46. What’s in a Name?
When you forget someone’s name, say, “I’m sorry, but what was your name one more time?” They may act offended, but when they give you their first name, simply reply, “No, I meant your LAST name” (more socially acceptable to forget). Bingo. First and last names.