My friend Dave Kadavy called me out on his blog to list eight life hacks – simple things that make you feel like you’re cheating the system. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Read on the train. I commute to and from work. I would consider that dead time if I was just sitting or standing on the train idle. Fortunately I whip out a good business book or Google Reader. A 2 way 20 minute commute comes to 40 minutes of reading a day, or over 3 hours a week.
  • Network during your lunch hour. I take full advantage of the fact that I’m smack in the middle of downtown to constantly connect with people outside my day job. If you don’t see the utility of this then read this book.
  • Work by day and hack by night. As Gary Vee says, 10PM to 2AM is plenty of time to do some major damage. I spend many an evening building cool stuff like Hot Tweeters.
  • Find a physical activity you enjoy. My passion is without a doubt wushu. It just so happens that it’s extremely physically demanding and keeps me in good shape if and when I do it. By having an activity you enjoy, working out doesn’t have to be a chore.
  • Squeeze in an exercise when no one’s watching. Lately I’ve been so slammed workwise that I don’t have as much time to devote to my wushu, hence I haven’t been working out as much. Now I take every opportunity when I’m idle or alone to squeeze in a quick exercise. For example in the morning on my elevator ride to the office, if I’m alone, I shadowbox all the way up to my floor. I can usually fit in about 100 punches. If you do 2 a day, that’s 200 punches while never setting foot in the gym.
  • Make your hobbies pay for themselves. I’ve spent a considerable amount of money investing into my martial arts training including lessons (at one point, I went to 3 different schools all at the same time), competition, travel, etc. However, I’ve been able to parlay my martial arts skills into work in the video game industry, corporate performances, etc that has netted me more money than I’ve put in over the years. And now I also teach in exchange for lessons so my monetary cost is 0. Another great example would be something like photography. This is a hobby that can quickly get expensive. You can spend a ton on different lenses and add-ons for your camera. If you can sell some of your work, then your equipment is paid for.
  • Use powertools. I don’t mean this in the literal sense but I mean using the right tool for the job. If you’ve ever worked on a home improvement project, you’ll know how handy a power drill is over a screw driver. I am constantly on the look out for software tools (being a developer) that will help make my life easier.
  • Keep a diary. I actually have more of an idea book that I use to jot down ideas that I have of stuff I’m working on or stuff that I’m thinking about. This helps me check back on them to validate by ideas months or years down the line to see how they’ve evolved or what I may have forgotten to think about.