I’ve come to the realization that there are a lot of life hack websites out there with interesting hacks, tricks, good-to-knows and this-may-come-in-handys but many of them fail to bring it all together under one cohesive theme with an end purpose in mind.
The real theme of this site isn’t about random hacks, regardless of how cool they may seem, but rather hacking your health, wealth, tech, and wisdom to design the lifestyle you want. Health, entrepreneurship, technology, and wisdom are tools that can get you there.
So, the real purpose of it all is to help you (and myself) design the lifestyle of your dreams.
So far, I’m not 100% of the way there in achieving the lifestyle I want, but it’s the journey that often makes us appreciate the destination even more. We’ll see what works, what doesn’t and what I learn along the way. And I’ll share that journey with you in hopes that you achieve your goals and dreams.
On to The Lifestyle Design Report…
This report is going to be a bit shorter than usual. August and September were quieter, yet steadily busy months. I spent a lot of time working outside trying to enjoy the good weather while it lasts.
A lot of the “busy-ness” came from mundane things that are not worth writing about (though necessary), but I do have a few interesting morsels for you.
Let’s waste no time and dive right in.
Sleep Hacknea, Part 2
Being a person that hates mornings and generally despises getting out of bed (even if it’s late in the morning), I found biphasic sleeping (sleeping for 6 hours at night then taking a half hour nap during the day) to be extremely hard to sustain.
Then I heard about a book by Shawn Stevenson called Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success.
I bought the book and started reading.
The premise of the book is that the proper amount and also quality of sleep is essential to good health.
It contains many actionable tips one can start doing right away in order to sleep better and it also has a 14-day sleep plan.
My one critique of the book is the bonus.
In many places throughout the pages of the book, Shawn mentions that additional information on the particular topic is available in his downloadable bonus.
The problem is, half of the information that he claims in in that bonus is missing.
For example, in one part of the book the author claims that baby mattresses (and also adult mattresses) off-gas toxic fumes which can cause SIDS.
Being a new parent, this was concerning to me.
Shawn than mentions the bonus for more info and sources on where to obtain special mattress covers that block these toxic gasses.
The only problem is the bonus lacks that information. And there are several other similar bits of supposed “bonus” that apparently went AWOL.
Since I bought the book (and therefore became one of Shawn’s paying customers) I emailed him about the missing information.
As of now it has been about a month since that email. I have received no response from him or his team yet, and doubt that I will.
Poorly done, Shawn, poorly done.
Your book is alright but the customer service definitely needs polishing.
Yes, I did figure out where to obtain a mattress cover for our 1-year-old and implemented it, but it would have been easier if that info was in the bonus.
Sorry to ramble on…
Anyway, I’ve since started implementing many of Shawn’s suggestions myself in an effort to sleep better.
For example, I used to stay up until 2am and get up between 10am-11am (when I wasn’t doing biphasic sleep).
I now go to bed around 11:30pm weeknights and get up between 8am-9am as the author claims that certain key hormones are excreted between 10pm and 2am during sleep.
I don’t want to step on the author’s toes and give away the whole book, so I’ll share just one more sleep hack of his I’ve put to use recently.
Studies have shown that blue light emitted from laptops, phones, tablets, other computer screens, and television promote the production of certain hormones that end to keep you awake.
Because of this, I now stop using anything with an LCD screen an hour before bed most weeknights. This includes TV, my phone, and any laptop or desktop computers.
Just in case I need to burn a little of the midnight oil and do some work etc., I’ve installed a free application on my phone, laptop, and even desktop called f.lux, which adjusts the color or spectrum of light these devices emit based on the time.
Lifestyle design impact: The author backs up his claims by referring to numerous studies and his own personal experience. For me, the verdict is still out on many of these hacks as I’ve just started using them. On some nights I seems to sleep better; others, not so much. If this does work out however, it should have a positive impact on my health, cognition, and quality of life. I may be even able to pull off consistent biphasic sleep if I can increase the quality of sleep. Doing so may require me to spend less time in sleep. We’ll see.
Distract Me Not
If you don’t already know, I’m a tech nerd.
I have a degree in electrical engineering and have been running a computer consulting business since 2007.
You are probably going to think I’m crazy for this, but until recently I had no email on my smartphone.
I did this on purpose.
The reason being to eliminate distractions when working, out with friends and family, or just relaxing. In fact, there are no social media apps on my phone to this day for this very reason.
After all, who among us has not been out with a few friends only to find most of them more absorbed with status updates on their phones rather than the people that are right in front of them?
How many times have you found yourself competing for the attention of a friend, spouse, or whoever with their phone? How many times have people found themselves competing with your phone for your attention??
Usually, I check email twice a day (during weekdays) from my desktop or laptop. This is where all my social media posts also originate.
But, I finally caved and put some of my email accounts on my phone — with a slight twist…
Being bugged by endless notifications when working, hanging out, or relaxing is still distasteful for me so I simply set it to turn off email notifications.
That way I can check it when I want to without the constant distraction and notifications, which, for many are soooo hard to ignore.
I usually use my phone to check email when in a waiting room or in line, which helps pass time.
I use technology, it doesn’t use me.
Lifestyle design impact: Smartphones and media in general have become an addiction ranking among gambling and drugs. It is not only rude to constantly play with your phone and check updates when there are real people there in front of you to converse with, it is downright detrimental to relationships in general. While there is nothing inherently wrong with having email or Facebook on your phone, many people over do it and find themselves constantly sifting through updates rather than forming meaningful relationships with those close to them. In a constant race to check up on everything and everyone all the time, we lose what’s more important.
Email has often been referred to as one of the biggest distractions for the modern white-collar worker. Numerous articles, books, and apps have been written to help manage what once was a pleasurable thing (who didn’t used to love hearing AOL’s computer voice shout “you got mail?”), but has since turned into a time-sucking distraction that offers little value in return. The explosion of smartphones has only made this worse.
Both relationships and productivity are important to me, so avoiding that which can harm either seems like a good idea.
[Update] Tennis, Anyone?
As of this writing I’m still battling tennis elbow.
Four years ago I had a similar condition called golfer’s elbow (where the pain was on the inside of the elbow rather than the outside).
I went to a doctor who gave me some print outs with some exercises to do at home.
The condition went away after a week or two.
Fast forward to now.
I waited 4 months on purpose with the associated pain because I had a physical exam scheduled in mid-September.
Why pay an additional medical bill when I can just wait to go see him and he’ll help me? After all, physical exams are covered 100%.
Was the thought that coursed through my mind.
Too bad I was wrong.
The doctor seemed rushed and flustered, referring me first to a popular search engine for exercises I can do.
“That’s why I waited four months in pain to see you” was my reply.
He then referred to get physical therapy (at an additional cost, of course) before he haphazardly rushed through the rest of my routine physical.
Oh, he also informed me that if I didn’t get it fixed soon it may become chronic.
Thanks a fucking lot doc.
Needless to say, I’ll be getting another doctor for my next ailment or physical exam.
I did go to one session of physical therapy late in September, where I received a print out with some exercises to do at home, which I’ve been doing for about a week and a half so far.
Of course, I had to pay part of the cost.
The plan is to give the exercises 2-3 weeks to see if I feel better. If not, I may go back for one more session or explore other forms of treatment like acupuncture.
Either way, I’ll be writing about it again.
That concludes this Lifestyle Design report.
Until next time, go out there and get the lifestyle you want!
P.S. If you’d like some help designing that lifestyle, feel free to request to join my free Facebook group Life Hacker’s Mastermind.