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Five Favorite Life Hacks

Shari StormComment

Last week on Reddit, someone asked the question, “What are some life hacks that give you an advantage in different situations?” That question elicited almost 12,000 comments. I took a few of my favorites, plus some of my own, and this morning I present them to you.

1. Remembering peoples’ names

Within the first few seconds of meeting someone new, your brain is taking in an exorbitant amount of data. You don’t realize it, but your subconscious is sizing the new person up. Your thalamus is busy taking in all the visible and audible data about this new person in order to pass it along to your cerebrum. The animalistic part of your brain, the amygdala, is sizing up this new person. Are they a threat? Are they a potential mate? Do you like them? Do you recognize anything familiar about them? With all of this stimuli input, it’s virtually impossible to remember someone’s name if they tell you it within those first few seconds. The best way for you to remember someone’s name and for them to remember yours is to chit-chat for a few minutes before you do the formal exchange of names. Try it. It works every time.

2. Conquering the internet

Ever want to try an app or an online service but hesitate when they ask you to submit a credit card number because you are pretty sure you will forget to unsubscribe to the service if you don’t use it, until you see the charge on your card? Use a stored value gift card with $3 or $5 on it. That way, if you forget to unsubscribe, you aren’t out but a few bucks.

3. Giving yourself more confidence

Whatever you are doing—be it a tough conversation, a press conference, or running a marathon, you will do it better if you are standing up straight. Pay attention to your posture! Here’s a good TED Talk on the subject.

4. Setting a good impression

Getting ahead in the business world is easier if you carry yourself with poise and grace—and if you know which side your nametag belongs, which bread plate is yours at dinner and the proper way to introduce someone to your boss. My favorite advice giver on this topic is Arden Clise. Sign up for her newsletter. Her tips will make you a savvier businessperson.

5. Leading grateful teams

If you are the boss of other people, encourage them to look for the best in their teammates. A few years ago, I started an exercise with the people who reported up through me at my credit union. Every Thursday we had a 20-minute afternoon meeting. The first ten minutes consisted of communication from me on what was going on in the company. The second ten minutes was spent on our attitude of gratitude. Each person described one thing another employee had done that made them feel grateful. It didn’t have to be anyone in the room; just someone in the credit union. People walked away from those conversations with a shared sense of appreciation for each other and other departments. It was a simple way to make folks feel better about working at your company.

What are your favorite life hacks?


Shari Storm speaks around the country on a number of topics. Her book, Motherhood is the New MBA: Using Your Parenting Skills to be a Better Boss has been published in three languages: American, Canadian and Mandarin. It has been featured in Time, Redbook and Costco Connection. You can learn more about Shari at